You've been working with the guys from Yeller for quite some time now. How did this relationship begin?
Don Hollis took a chance on hiring me for his firm Hollis Brand Culture after seeing my AIGA profile. He saved me from working as a designer (desktop publisher) at a Commercial Realty Firm. That's where I met the talented Yeller member Tyler Cristobal. When Tyler designs on a computer it looks like he's playing concert piano! I struggled at Hollis because I wasn't ready for the real world of design and was super intimidated... but I also learned a ton. Don and Tyler quickly realized I could draw and helped me along while giving me illustration tasks. I'm a bigger person now because of the experience. Naturally any friend of Tyler is a friend of Yeller... so he (along with Clarke Forrest & Michael Tussey) gave me an opportunity to have a solo show at Bottlecraft. I look up to all the members of Yeller... their guidance is priceless. One other thing I want to say is that at Hollis I was always exposed to new artwork because they share a space with subtext. Subtext always has these great group shows and new art would come in the mail everyday leading up to a show. I was able to see the level of finish and felt I could compete. The plan was to sneak a piece into one of these group shows... just to see if I could measure up. I regret never trying to do that.
This will be your second solo show. What are some of the things that you picked up from the Bottlecraft show that helped you with your approach for DDxGS?
Well, I just stayed true to myself at Bottlecraft. I figured if I liked how the stuff looked and Yeller liked how it looked then there was bound to be a few other people into it. I wasn't trying to play to an audience or impress anyone with subject matter. It all sold. As an illustrator I feel it's important to be somewhat consistent in style so I stuck to what I do best and used the same materials as last time. I was also able to repurpose some ratty old frames for this show. In this digital age where everything is CNC cut and perfectly printed I think hand done... should look hand done! I like when my stuff isn't perfect, I try to make everything as clean as I can but also make sure to remind the viewer that this is not made by a machine. The finest things in this world are hand made.
San Diego's art scene seems to be gaining some new momentum with the opening of spaces such as Helmuth Projects and Bread & Salt. Who are some of the local artists that you feel should be getting more wall time?
Locally... I like Dolan Sterns. Some of the decisions he makes are pretty great and he has figured out his own style (something I struggle with everyday). His volume of work and consistency is awesome. I'd also like to see some more Bradford Lynn. His piece at Parachute Factory was big, tightly rendered and occupied the space very well. He is a true professional/problem solver.
Will we be seeing your '55 Handyman Wagon hitting the streets any time soon?
Arggg! Not soon enough. Still need to button up some metal work and get it in epoxy primer. I have been kicking around the idea of finally getting some help? Maybe get a shop to make the gaps on my doors and hood acceptable. I wish I had more time for it! I never give up hope. I always have something going with it so I don't lose momentum. I plan on having it running this year and will be hauling around town in red oxide primer glory with no windows.
After DDxGS, what are some of the projects that you'll be working on?
Hopefully get some more work with Vans. I really love their brand, art direction and skateboarding in general. I actually wear the shoes everyday... and not just to skate in! I will have two T's coming out with them in Fall of 2014. Of course, I do have a day job... Good Time Design keeps me very busy during the day. I have been designing with them for the past year and it's a great fit. Lately, they have tapped into my oil painting and sign painting skills for their new venues. It's nice to be able to do hands on projects and get away from Adobe CS. I also have various freelance design/illustration projects lined up after the show. If I owe you something... hang tight!
Thank you for your time, Dane. See you Saturday.
Thank you, and a special thanks to my wife and kids… they are all very supportive. I couldn't do any of this without them. Saturday should be a blast!