This is a continuation of Nerdlocker’s interview with Tim Doyle. In this second part Tim talks about his experience with Mondo and the Alamo Drafthouse, as well as about his recent gallery show and his favorite movies. If you missed the first part of this interview, read it here.
Nerdlocker (NL): Kinda’ wanted to change gears to Drafthouse some more.
Tim Doyle (TD): Sure.
NL: Were you there in 2008?
TD: Yep. I started working with the Alamo at the end of ’04, started running Mondotees at the start of ’05, and I left in January of ’09.
NL: Okay, ‘cus in 2008 that was just a really wicked year. You had Stout Robocop, The Thing, Blade Runner…
TD: That was nuts.
NL: …All that crazy stuff. I was just wondering did you have any input whenever the artists were working on it? Would they send you drafts?
TD: Yeah, there were some artists. So, when I walked into the Alamo, just to give a little back-story, I was a food-runner, and then I was a cook.
NL: You worked your way up.
TD: And then I was a waiter, and then I interviewed for a management position that had opened up. I didn’t get it. When I started there, I was friends with a guy who’s now the creative director for the Alamo Drafthouse. Back then he was just a programmer. So he just got me a job because I had walked out of my comic book store job before that. So when I interviewed for management, they were like, “Oh, this guy’s not an idiot. He doesn’t have restaurant management experience, but he does know how to manage a shop.” ‘Cus I had managed several retail stores at that point. And so Mondotees had blown through four managers in like, six months. Because it was a hallway; it was about the size of my garage if not smaller. It was a hallway in the old Downtown Alamo which closed down back in ’06 I think.
So Mondotees was this narrow hallway full of like bootleg T-shirts and iron-ons, and they had a small stack of posters in the back from some old events, like Rolling Roadshow ’05. And I was like, what is this stuff? This is cool. It wasn’t even on the website at the time, like nobody knew what to do with it. We didn’t even know how to pack a poster. So I had to make phone calls. I was talking to Tim League, the guy who founded the Alamo, and was like, “Where are these from?” So he put me in touch with Rob Jones, who started the Rolling Roadshow poster series.
Rob had approached Tim League and said, “Hey, you should do posters for these.” and Tim was like, “Alright, as long as it doesn’t cost us any money.” So nobody got paid, and the artist got paid by getting copies for themselves. This was all before I got there. So I was talking to Rob Jones and I was like, “Man, let’s do more of this!” And so for special events we would do stuff. My attention was definitely split because I was retail manager for the store, I was the creative director for the store, I did all the T-shirt design.
NL: So you wore a lot of hats, I guess.
TD: Yeah, yeah I did. We started doing posters for more events, and then I realized, well, why are we waiting to do posters for events; we should just, if we’re showing a cool movie, we should do a poster for it. And so that’s why we started doing that sci-fi series in ’08. We sold more copies of Jay Ryan’s 2001 poster than we sold tickets to people seeing 2001. And at that point I was like, well, any excuse to make a poster we should just make a poster because we can’t lose money on it. And then we’d just get ’em, number ’em, pack ’em up and ship ’em out. And everybody was happy to get their posters in under two weeks.
We’d make sure we’d get the stuff from the artists and that it was totally done and ready to go. It was working really nicely. Oh, you were asking me about the artists though. Like, as far as art direction with these guys, Rob and me would bounce stuff back-and-forth, like, “Hey, we should get this guy to do this poster.” He’d be like, “Oh, we should get this guy.” And we’d just back-and-forth, work it out.
So yeah, like when Tyler (Stout) was working on a poster he would send you parts of it, ‘cus he works in Photoshop or Illustrator or whatever and be like, “Here’s this area I’m working out…I gotta’ work out this area…” So you’d see this poster slowly grow, the line art, and then BAM, here’s the finished art. So I almost never, ever had to be like, “Oh you should do this” or, “You should do that” to Tyler. Never. Because his stuff was always golden; no complaints. So it was definitely a different time back then. It was great, and you know, we released some posters that I probably wouldn’t stand behind, we released some stuff that I thought was amazing. Like Lil Tuffy did this poster for The Gate that was like this simple two-color thing.
NL: I’ve seen that; that’s really cool.
TD: Yeah, it was just a real simple design. You see the hole in the ground…
NL: You see the outline of the figures.
TD: Yeah. But then he did a Point Blank that was like, you missed the mark. Like Point Blank is this big, colorful movie and part of it takes place in Alcatraz. So I got this grey poster of Alcatraz, and I was like what? This should be like a crazy poster! But it’s those kind of risks that I thought were a lot of fun ‘cus you really didn’t know what you were gonna’ get. Little Friends of Printmaking did a Batman: The Motion Picture, 1966, poster, that really, by all intents and purposes, looks like Catwoman is fisting Batman. And we were like, oh, what, like, okay.
And then you get totally blown out of the water, like Jay Ryan’s 2001 poster. It looks like nothing Jay Ryan’s done before or since. When I gave him that gig I was like, “He’s gonna’ draw the monkeys, I know he’s gonna’ draw the monkeys.” But then you get this real angular, mechanical-looking thing of the pod and the monolith; it looks like nothing he’s done. And I was really into it. I was like, “Man, this is nuts Jay. This is great.” So I like the unpredictability of it.
NL: You ever think you might see over-saturation in this market with the way things are going?
TD: It does seem like it. That’s kind-of the reason I built the print shop, to get outside jobs, because that way there’s a little more regularity to my income. ‘Cus if we take on three/four jobs a month from outside sources it’s gonna’ pay for all this (the shop), my employees and my health insurance. It will be a nice baseline. So it doesn’t matter whether people like my stuff, or stop liking my stuff, or whatever, I’m still able to make an income. And it’s all about building relationships with the artists we work with. I like that stuff.
NL: Can you tell us a little bit about the gallery show in San Francisco you just did?
TD: Yeah, it’s called “Unreal Estate” and it’s essentially a bunch of drawings of fictional locations that, for me, I wrote a whole artist’s statement on it (read more here), fictional locations that in many ways seem more real than real locations because they’re still there. Like, if I go to my grandparent’s house, it’s totally different and some strangers are living there. But you know exactly what’s going on inside Moe’s Tavern right now.
But yeah, it’s all these fictional, sometimes real, locations but all associated with television programs that have this strong sense of familiarity about them. So three of the pieces are The Simpsons, I have Sesame Street, Strickland Propane from King of the Hill, the Bluth Banana Stand from Arrested Development, the Seinfeld restaurant, and Sopranos. So it’s nine pieces, plus the original artwork for those nine pieces, and there’s variants on most of them.
NL: Do you have any plans for future gallery shows?
TD: Yeah. SpokeArt has been so good to me, I really like working with them. I got word recently of a show that hasn’t been announced (at the time of the interview) that I’ll probably be participating in. If “Bad Dads” comes back again this year I’ll at least have on piece in that. I wonder if “Quentin vs. Coen” is coming back ‘cus they, not that they over-saturate the market, but I think they like –
NL: There’s a lot out there. I remember that.
TD: – and I think they said their piece. And I don’t even know what the fuck I would do, ‘cus I did a print for each one of Tarantino’s movies, I did like four prints for Coen Brothers. Sometimes there’s just too much.
NL: Yeah everything’s been said in terms of –
TD: Although, you know I thought I had done my bit with Wes Anderson and then I did that Bill Murray portrait for Life Aquatic and that thing sold out immediately.
NL: Yeah I saw that AP wood edition or whatever.
TD: Yeah we had that ten-piece, I thought that actually Ken was gonna’ put that up at the show, but he held it back a couple of weeks so he could release it with my Kurt Vonnegut wood, which is fine. So those both sold out in the same day, which was nuts. By the time “Quentin vs. Coen” rolls around again, if it comes back, I don’t know if I might have something to say. I might take another tack.
NL: Get some time to refresh the mind a bit.
TD: Right. ‘Cus I mean the scenes I picked, there’s so much more in those movies you could do. Like Pulp Fiction there’s all these iconic moments. I picked one that’s not really an iconic moment but I just thought it was a really funny angle on a scene.
NL: I’ve noticed a lot of your work has to do with scenery and cars; less to do with the likeness of the characters.
TD: It’s on purpose, because, I could draw portraits all day long. And everybody would be like, “Wow! Look at that portrait!” You know, like I did that Bill Murray portrait for Zissou, and it was like, “Wow! Look at that!” And I’m like, yeah, this is easy. It’s easy for me. I’ve been drawing portraits and painting portraits and it’s not as challenging to me. In no way am I dogging anybody for doing portraits, but I feel like I’ve done everything I can with it. It’s more like a game I play in my head. Like how can I get this information across; how can I make it so obviously a scene from this movie without actually drawing any of the faces or minimally drawing a character?
NL: Like in your Die Hard poster?
TD: Yeah! I purposely put that fire hose in front of Bruce Willis’ face. ‘Cus everybody’s got this idea in their head of what Bruce Willis looks like, but if I draw Bruce Willis some people will be like, “Oh, it looks just like him.” and other people will be like, “Oh, that looks nothing like him.” It just depends on the viewer really. Really it’s just about that scene, and I thought it was way more interesting to draw ‘cus that scene is so iconic. It’s like, the scene in the movie that everybody knows.
NL: Right, you wanted the attention drawn toward the scene and not his face.
TD: Right, I like the whole motion of it. One guy was like, “Oh, you drew him with his tank-top. He doesn’t have his tank-top on in that scene.” Shut up!
NL: The little details.
TD: I’m not recreating the scene, I’m capturing the idea of a scene. Like that Marsellus Wallace one from Pulp Fiction. You know him from the back of his head so well there’s no point in drawing Ving Rhames’ face. It’s just it’s funnier to not, in many ways. Or like the Blade Runner one I did for the Astor Theatre, it’s Roy Batty from behind and you know it’s a Blade Runner print ‘cus it’s all the iconography from the scenery and the sets and stuff. That big-ass TDK sign, like you can see that and be like, “Ah, Blade Runnerimmediately.
NL: Yeah, it has a very distinct look to it; you’re just trying to capture that.
TD: I find it a lot harder to move someone, a viewer, emotionally by drawing the scenery and people from behind, so I’d rather accept that challenge and go at it. Because if you draw a portrait of someone looking sad, you’re human; you’re immediate response is, “Oh, sad.” But if I just do that through like a rainy day with blue tones and you can’t even see anybody’s face, like that’s way more interesting to me. It’s just a challenge I want to do for myself. And of course, you know, next week I’ll probably do a portrait. But that’s where that stuff comes from.
NL: Speaking of movies, do you have any favorites?
TD: Blade Runner, by far, my all-time favorite movie. But my top five movies it’s like Robocop, Blade Runner, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Babe: Pig in the City, and I’m not joking – it’s so good!
NL: I don’t think I’ve seen that one but I’ve seen it on Netflix.
TD: It’s a really good movie. I like Babe one, but Babe two, it kills.
NL: I don’t think I’ve seen either one, actually. I remember that line: “That’ll do, Pig.”
TD: I said that to my mom once as a joke; she didn’t get it.
NL: Was that from the first one?
TD: Yeah, yeah. And then he says it again in the second movie ‘cus it’s such a good line. And then Raising Arizona for my top five. That movie, you could watch it over and over again and it never gets tired, to me. I never get tired of that.
NL: Yeah, I’ve seen it a few times.
TD: I used to work at Suncoast Video, back when DVDs first came out. That was hilarious explaining to people. “No, you can’t put this in your CD player!”
NL: People would actually ask that?
TD: Yeah. But we could only show certain movies that were all-ages, so there were a few movies that we could show all day long and nobody would get in trouble at the mall for having obscenity or something like that. And so there was Raising Arizona and Austin Powers. So I’ve probably seen both those movies hundreds of times. I would always say, “No Austin Powers please; I’ve had enough of this.” But Raising Arizona, I never got tired of that.
NL: That’s a Coen Brother movie, isn’t it?
TD: Mm-hmm, yeah. It was funny, when DVDs first came out people had no idea what the fuck was going on. ‘Cus they were still selling video cassettes in fullscreen and widescreen, and people would always buy the, “Oh, I want the collectible edition.” and they’d get the widescreen and come back and be like, “This has got black bars all over it! I don’t know what the hell’s goin’ on. My TV it like, cuts off the picture.” And I’m like, “No, no, you’re actually seeing the sides…” They didn’t understand widescreen and aspect ratios. And so DVDs would get returned constantly. Yeah, video stores, they’re all gone now. It was a weird thing at the time.
NL: I notice you have a comic book background, so I guess a lot of your art style is based on, kind-of inspired by comic book art, in a way.
TD: Yeah. I love comic books. I learned to read reading comic books, learned to draw by looking at comic books – How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way and all that good stuff.
NL: That’s a good book.
TD: That is a good book. It is a really good book. You can learn perspective, you can learn just about anything you need out of there. Except don’t draw women like Jack Kirby. Jack Kirby can not draw women – attractive women. He can draw women; attractive women – debatable. But yeah, I have about half as many comic books as I used to have. Like I’ve never really considered myself like a comic book collector, so much as a guy who read a lot of comic books and didn’t throw them away. So I just accumulated; I was like a comic book accumulator. So I had a ton of comic books and before I moved into my house I was like, “What am I gonna’ want to read again before I’m dead?” And I just dumped like half my collection thru eBay or to friends and stuff like that. But I still read maybe 10 comic books a week, so fast forward maybe six more years and I’m back at the same fucking level of comic books again.
NL: Oh boy, it never ends.
TD: Yeah, ‘cus I love ’em. I’ll read ’em. But it’s just like, what do I do with this? I do have, the one thing I did collect was a full run of Iron Man.
NL: You still have that?
TD: Yeah I have every issue of Iron Man ever published, from Tales of Suspense #39, 1961 (Editor’s Note: This issue actually came out in March 1963), to whatever came out last week.
NL: Wow, that is crazy.
TD: It’s been my favorite character since I was a kid. So when the movie came out I was like, “Yeah! See? told you guys! Stupid X-Men fans, Iron Man is where it’s at!”
NL: …Except for Iron Man 2.
TD: Yeah, that movie was rough. Nah, but it’s fun seeing these little properties that, you know, just kind-of survive through way of luck and chance ’til they become these billion-dollar franchises. It makes you think Hollywood’s out of ideas, honestly.
NL: Yeah, we have a lot of sequels…
TD: Lot of sequels.
NL: …and remakes.
TD: It’s funny, I think television’s had a lot of influence on that. Because you can get – good, serialized television is better than any movie I’ve seen. Like I’d put The Wire up against Citizen Kane. You know? It’s like, The Wire – have you seen that show?
NL: I watched like part of the first season, but I got annoyed with Netflix ‘cus I had to keep sending ’em back.
TD: Oh, were they all scratched and stuff?
NL: Uh, no, but I just had to wait.
TD: Oh yeah, yeah. That is annoying. Yeah, no, I love it. but you can tell such a big, grand story. You know, like Sopranos and even, as much problems as I had with Lost, the serialized nature of it was really engaging. You can tell these big, grand, long epics that you can’t do with movies. And so I think, that’s kind-of why you get all these sequels because people just want more. Like, “Hey, what’s next with that character?” You know? I mean, they make so much money because it’s a recognized brand and like I can’t blame Hollywood; they gotta’ go where the money’s at. But at the same time it’s like, ahhh, God, we’re never gonna’ get another 2001, are we?
NL: Now that was a great movie.
TD: Yeah. It’s really, for a movie that is so slow in parts, it’s just so engaging. Every single bit – so when I got that gig to do the poster, for the Astor Theatre, I was like, “Hell yeah!” Like yes, I love this movie, let’s go. That’s why I put all those different scenes in. If I had printed a really big poster I probably could’ve had so many layers on that onion. ‘Cus there’s only like four segments in that poster I did but I could have kept going, infinitely. Like just all these boxes within boxes. It is so good!
NL: Speaking of which, do you plan on doing 24″x36″ prints now?
TD: Yeah I’m gonna’ give it a shot. I mean, I really like 18″x24″ and 12″x24″, I like that size. But I might print that size just larger. I mean 24″x36″ is 18″x24″, you know, it’s the same ratio. It’s the same composition problems you have to solve. But it will be interesting to do like really crazy detailed stuff, you know, and just big. Something like that Sea Also Rises print with the squid, twice as large. So yeah I definitely want to be doing that, we’ll see. I’m just coming off all this work for this art show, so my mind is numb, artistically, right now.
NL: Yeah I’ll bet. That’s a lot of stuff you had to do. So what are your thoughts on video games?
TD: I love video games! Um, okay, I say I love video games; I haven’t played a game that wasn’t on my iPhone in probably three years, and that’s sad. I was almost done with San Andreas and I just kinda’ stopped playing ‘cus I got busy.
NL: Too much other stuff. I’ve read in some of your other interviews you’re like, “Yeah, if you want to get anything done you just don’t play video games.”
TD: The busier I got the less games I played until I finally just stopped. But I was over at my friend’s house and he had that Batman game, uh, Arkham City.
NL: Ah that game is so good.
TD: Oh it’s so good, and it’s everything I want in a game, ever. And I was like, okay, cool, I’m done, I gotta’ walk away ‘cus if I play this for too much longer… His brother-in-law, his wife’s brother, is a huge video game addict – like probably diagnosable. But he had a Nintendo 3DS, he was like, “Hey Tim, check this out.” I was like, “Oh what do you – OH WOW!” It’s 3D! With my own glasses, I don’t have to wear anything!
NL: Turn your back for a second and they come out with all this stuff. It’s a growing market.
TD: It blew my mind. I played the ass out of all those Resident Evil games, up through three, I didn’t play Resident Evil 4.
NL: That’s like the best one!
TD: Resident Evil 4? I played a little bit, I didn’t like it, ‘cus it’s like the moving camera. I like the suspense you get for not being able to see around the corner…
NL: Yeah, they’re different games, pretty much.
TD: But, you know, I’m sure it’s fun. I mean, hell, the franchise, they’ve got what, part six coming out? And Silent Hill is so good. I had a Nintendo, I got it in ’87, my mom bought it for me because I broke my leg.
NL: Lucky you.
TD: Yeah, she was like, “Oh, I’ll get Tim a Nintendo.” And then it was BAM! I was done, I was done at that point. There’s no such thing as “outside” anymore. There isn’t school, or sleep, there was the time between I could and could not play video games. Actually, before that, I had a TI – Texas Instruments – 99/4 computer and it had all these, not knock-off games, but like, instead of Pac-Man it had Munch Man. And like a side-scrolling spaceship game called Parsec. It had a voice modulator on it so in some ways it was kind-of more advanced than Nintendo ‘cus like it would talk to you, in speech. Not like when Mario’s counting you down in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!like, “Mwap! Mwap! Mwap!” That’s not talking, what are you, talking? So this thing talked. It was really cool.
So yeah we had video games in the house even before Nintendo. I never had an Atari though. But yeah, no, I love video games but I just know I’ll never get any work done ever again and I’ll be homeless if I start playing. I got a Wii for my wife for Christmas not last year but the year before, and we just started playing some of the games on it this year – the bowling game and stuff like that, just the normal stuff that comes with the Wii. It’s like, “Oh this is so much fun!” but I like those games ‘cus you can’t get sucked into ’em. You’re not going to be like bowling for five hours straight.
NL: That’s true it’s all casual stuff.
TD: But I’m sure if I picked up The Legend of Zelda game I would disappear and nobody would see me ever again. I spend enough time watching television and following news and reading books and comics that the last thing I need is to add video games on top of that.
NL: Speaking of comics, your next comic book, you just released your new comic Bad Cat Comics.
TD: Bad Cat Comics #1 – it was kind-of a fun little vanity project. This friend of mine is one of the head writers for The Austin Chronicle, he saw that Bad Cats print I did, the Camino Cats print, the cats stealing the shark, and he’s like, “You need to write the story of how this happened.” I was like, “I don’t have a story, how that happened. I just drew the print.” And again, like a lot of my art prints, it’s just like this weird stream of consciousness. Like, “I’m gonna’ draw a car with cats! That’ll be funny! And they should be stealing something. What about a fish tank? What about a SHARK in a fish tank! That would be hilarious!” So that’s the story. But the comic came about ‘cus he wanted me to write it and draw it and he was gonna’ publish it in his literary anthology he puts out once a year called Minerva’s Wreck. And so he got 250 copies of that first printing inserted into 250 copies of his literary anthology and I just printed 500 ‘cus I wanted some copies for myself. And that thing sold out! I did not see that coming.
NL: That sold out quick. Online?
TD: Online and in person. You know, we had some at the Blue Genie (Art) Bazaar, I had some at Parts & Labor, I did a couple comic book conventions. But 250 copies of a comic in today’s age with zero advertising and I’m not a name in the comic book industry – for some reason! – that was kind-of impressive, so I went back for a second printing. I’ll probably have the second printing for a long time, and that’s fine, I just wanted to get it out there.
NL: So more people can enjoy it.
TD: Yeah, and a lot of people are like, “Oh, are you making good money?” And I’m like, “No! I’m barely breaking even on this!” ‘Cus publishing is retarded, you know? I do a print, I spend maybe $4 printing it; it’s all materials. But then you sell it for $30…you’re putting in hours and hours drawing the thing, but you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to figure out how much you’re actually making. But like a comic, you spend way more time doing a comic book then you ever will on a print, and you’re lucky if you can sell it for $5.
NL: Did you print that yourself?
TD: We printed the covers and then had the interiors done here in town, they did the binding for us. It’s a silkscreen cover. But what’s funny is that through doing this process I pretty much found out that I could probably do a full-color cover, get somebody else to print it for me, and get it done for cheaper than what I actually paid to have that thing printed here. ‘Cus it’s like oh yeah, you’ve got these big presses they just run so fast. So if I ever do a third printing of that I’ll probably do a full-color cover and it will be just regular comic book stock.
NL: So you did a second printing?
TD: Yeah, I mean, it’s identical except it says “second printing” and I fixed some lettering mistakes – I had one typo. And I moved all the word balloons around a little bit to make it a little bit easier to read the second time through. A lot of people are like, “Oh I really want that first printing.” And I’m like, “One, it’s sold out, and two, the second one’s better, so…”
NL: Those collectors, trying to sell ’em on eBay.
TD: I know, right? And it’s fine; people get really angry at flippers but they wouldn’t be able to do it if people weren’t willing to pay a price. If people all took a hard line, they would go away. In some weird way it kind-of benefits the primary seller. I know if I do a print and it starts selling on eBay for $100, I know people are gonna’ pay more attention to my artwork in the future because they’re like, “Ooh, there’s money to be had.” On one hand, yeah, that’s good, on the other hand, it’s gross.
NL: There is something kinda’ dirty about that.
TD: Yeah. That’s kind-of why I do second editions and third editions of some of the more popular stuff. Why, one, deprive the customers who want it? Two, feed the flippers, ‘cus you’re just creating a market where the flippers are making money. And three, why am I denying myself the money, you know?
NL: Yeah you don’t see any of that that they’re making.
TD: Yeah. So when I did that second edition of Change into a Trucksome people were like, “Oh you’re just killing your career; you’re over!” No, here I am three years later, I’m doing pretty well, so…shut up. I’d rather make artwork for people who can afford it than make collectibles, but that’s me.
NL: Are there any upcoming artists who are still kind-of unknown that you’re looking forward to seeing more of their work?
TD: I’m really excited about working with Russ (Moore). Not only is he one of the nicest guys I’ve ever talked to, he’s really coming along, his stuff’s growing. It’s not an aesthetic that I would normally seek out ‘cus I’m more of an illustrative guy and he’s more, he’s not more design, but his stuff has a more illustrator style.
NL: A very designer background.
TD: Right, right. So it’s interesting seeing this different voice come in. You’ve got like Dan McCarthy and stuff like that which kind of work along the same lines but Russ is coming from more of a pop culture sensibility I think. It’ll be interesting to see how he develops over time. As far as stuff on the horizon I’m doing a print series with James O’Barr, the guy who created The Crow. He lives in Dallas, we’ve kind-of just gotten to know each other over the last couple of years.
NL: That’s pretty cool.
TD: Yeah he’s a nice guy. So he owns The Crow…
NL: He can do what he wants.
TD: …yeah! And that’s great, and I was like, “Can I get other artists to do prints for The Crow and you get a percentage?” And he’s like, “Yeah, sure.” And it’s great ‘cus I don’t have to talk to a movie studio, I don’t have to pay a licensing fee, I’m working directly with the guy who created the property.
NL: That is rad.
TD: And he is awesome. I’m doing more stuff with Paul Pope this year, he’s a big-time comic book artist, artsy guy. He doesn’t do a lot of prints, but his stuff’s just beautiful. But yeah, the whole business has grown organically and I would love to say it’s because I have some grand plan, but really it’s just like whatever I want to do that month is what kind-of happens. I’m really happy with it. It takes up most of my waking hours, but it’s my own build, I don’t have a boss to tell me what to do and what not to do and I’m not accountable to anyone other than the artists I work with.
NL: That’s the way to do it.
NL: Final question: Any advice for people trying to get into the industry?
TD: Stand out.
NL: Don’t play video games?
TD: There’s getting into the industry full-bore I wanna’ support myself and my family, and that I wish I could say I had a formula for it. As far as just doing stuff and getting out there, do something new. You’ve gotta’ be clever and you’ve gotta’ be good and you’ve gotta’ know how to draw and you’ve gotta’ design. I’ll get stuff from some artists and they don’t have any idea how to lay out their files for print and that’s really frustrating. Like the technical aspects of setting up your file for print. I’ll get files from some artists who’ve done a lot of prints, and they still don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. You’re like, “What is wrong with this guy?”
NL: Like trapping or color separating.
TD: Yeah, and they’re like, “Oh, the print shop does that, right?” No! You want me to do this? ‘Cus it’s gonna’ look like ass.
NL: It takes a lot of time.
TD: It takes a lot of time and it’s not my job. If you wanna’ pay me $50/hour then I’ll do it but then you’re gonna’ spend $1000 with me ‘cus I’m gonna’ get it right. And not only that, you need to know how you want your prints to look, and I think learning how to silkscreen. It’s hard to say, “Hey, build a silkscreen shop and learn how to silkscreen.” to most people because it’s an undertaking. But you learn so much doing it. The reason my stuff looks like it does is because I’ve spent a lot of hours printing my own stuff and learning the process.
The thing about silkscreening is you’re making a product to sell and it’s a lot easier to sell than a painting, so you can really experiment and get crazy but it also takes a lot of dedication and work. Like you’re not gonna’ go, “Here’s my thing.” and the world’s gonna’ beat its path to your door. I know a lot of artists, older artists, whose time kinda’ passed them by because they never got on social media, you know, they never got themselves a website. Get on it, dude! There’s this thing out there called the internet, learn it, please. You just kinda’ have to go at it and stand out and not be a dick. That’s pretty important.
NL: That’s very important.
TD: I mean I fell into that job at Mondotees and I got to learn this industry completely, top to bottom, in a way that I don’t think I would have been able to otherwise. And that just helped me tremendously.
NL: Yeah you were there from the beginning, pretty much.
TD: Yeah, it had only been open for I think a year.
NL: It’s just still a pretty young industry though.
TD: You’d think so. I mean there was a huge rock poster move in the ’90s, and that was a revival of it kinda’ dying off in the ’70s, so there’s a lot. The roots are deep. But the pop culture stuff is really interesting. It’s hard to stand out, you know?
We do know, Tim! Thanks for letting your inner nerd out to play with us here at Nerdlocker! That’ll do it for this interview. You can see/purchase Tim’s art over on Nakatomi Inc or on Tim’s portfolio website. And keep checking Nerdlocker for more and more interviews!