Endangered Spaces is a podcast series from The Dirtbag Diaries that explores our public lands, the people that love them, and the threats upon these places. Each Episode explores a threatened National Park or Monument. These odes to wild spaces highlight the environmental challenges that face our public spaces.
I chose to utilize hands as a tool for showing the human connection to these wild places. I wanted to convey a sense of personal ownership over the future of our National Parks and Monuments. The hand positions also reflect the theme of the story. Some hands represent people fighting for the land, others are caregivers for the environment, while some are signs of protest.
These digital images were designed to mimic linoleum block printing. I utilized a black back ground and then I erased to create the textural image. The mono-line aspect of the designs allows for a simplistic and smooth mark. I also wanted to cultivate a magical landscape, something geometric yet organic.
These were designed for t-shirts but were never used for production.
I love drawing plants from around the world. I like looking at the structure of the leaves and finding the repeating patterns. Mostly, I create these illustrations as a meditation. It is important to stop and take a breath and look at the world around you. The repetitive nature of the drawings coupled with the organic line quality puts me into my happy place. These are just a few pieces that I have explored. One day I hope to create a mural of these.
The Dirtbag Diaries is a podcast following the personal stories of adventure enthusiasts world wide. The show is ten years old and has over 125 episodes, with several million downloads. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of outdoor adventure. Episodes are often funny, sometimes heartfelt, and always about amazing people doing amazing things in wild spaces.
For the last ten years I have been crafting illustrations for the Dirtbag Diaries. It is incredibly rewarding to create the imagery because I get a lot of leeway with the brief. It allows me to explore new styles, utilize new toolsets, and find creative solutions to my briefs. I am usually given a two or three sentence synopsis of each episode and a week to design an image. It is a fast paced and fun endeavor. Here is a quick video exploring my process for the feature title card. This episode is about a fool hardy mining operation in the arctic.
Mile Posts is another podcast series from The Dirtbag Diaries. Each episode chronicles a road trip through the American west, following bikers, hikers, and climbers. Instead of focusing on the National Parks, the stories explore the spaces in between.
Starting with a story about where to get the best milkshake in Utah, Mile Posts explores the hidden gems that are at the entrances to National Parks, Strange Roadside Attractions, and that you don’t need an El Cap Vista to have a great time.
For the design, I referenced vintage travel posters. I wanted to be able to one day silkscreen these designs, so I limited myself to four colors and used overlays, halftones, and block color to create illustrations that would work well for silkscreen. These bright and optimistic pieces showcase the best parts of a road trip through the American west.
In Our America is the newest album from Reggae Star Aaron Nigel Smith. It is a protest album, but it also breathes a fiery optimism into the listener. The album debuted at #1 on Billboards Reggae chart in 2019.
This album is designed around a mural in Portland created by Nasty Women Get Shit Done, and is centered around the idea that protest is patriotic. Bringing the traditional tones of Reggae coupled with the omni-present colors of the American flag was a challenge. I tried to create a positive and peaceful tone with the imagery.
Working with a talented artist to build an album that vows to Ring The Alarm agains corrupt politicians was an incredibly exhilarating project and I look forward to working on more albums with Aaron in the future.
In 2019 I worked with 3/Thirds Group to create a series of illustrations for the 25th Anniversary of Nike Grind. We were tasked with creating a series of display cases that showcased the Nike Grind process of reclaiming old shoes, streamlining the production process, and making new material from recycled product.
With a quick turn around time and solid art direction we created a series of images that were playful and dynamic. We boiled down complex processes into simple educational illustrations, built a cohesive voice, and explored multiple styles of illustration. The anniversary show was hosted at the Nike Headquarters for the month of April, in conjunction with their Earth Day celebrations.
Nike Grind was a fantastic client to work with because I really liked showcasing the environmental efforts of the organization. Understanding the complexity of the production process and finding a unique and interesting way to illustrate the steps was a wonderful challenge.
In 2017, I was contacted by Outdoor Research to design a series of illustrations for their 2019 spring apparel collection. Over this long term project I worked directly with OR’s art director and apparel design specialists to craft a series of illustrations with a fun and bright tone.
In the end I created 50 merit badges, 10 shirt designs, and 5 dry bag designs. Each one focuses on a different aspect of out door recreation. Imagery explored river life, adventure vans, and climbing gear.
It was really satisfying to see these pieces come to life in April and be available on Outdoor Research’s Website. Look for their 2020 winter and spring lines as well!
In 2019, I worked with the Anchorage Museum to create a series of food illustrations for their show Alaska Foodie. I worked with the director to create illustrations that focused on sustainability, DIY food prep, food scarcity, and native food culture. Illustrations were used for apparel, pins, and on signage through out the show.
Each image was hand drawn in Procreate and then colored in Illustrator. I brought in a loose and playful texturing to create a more homemade feel. I also explored simple color pallets and employed dynamic illustration structure to create a clean look between mediums.
I loved learning about the DIY food culture of Alaska, native traditions, and the rough and ready connoisseur culture that is prevalent in all of Alaska, from Anchorage to Nome.
This series of illustrations explores our connection with nature and our ability to dream amazing dreams. They are explorations of the universe, a connection to a great being, and a knowledge that the world is an amazing place. We have much to learn and much to explore.
Recently, I was asked to participate in Mini Maker Faire with the Portland Printer Alliance where they were doing steamroller printing. I got a 3 ft. by 3 ft. Linoleum block and carved the entire piece in about three weeks. I wanted to go with a snake for the imagery because the theme was “wild imagination”.
I liked the interplay of texture and camouflage in the leaf patterns and I wanted to incorporate an infiniti symbol into the design. The process of creating the sketches, finalizing the design, and carving the piece were documented on my instagram. As well as the final printing using the steam roller.
One is Aaron Nigel Smith’s first albums as a solo artist. Created in 2012, Aaron finds his voice as a protest artist and iconoclast. We wanted to create a sense of something mystical and bigger than life. This album was a major departure from his previous work, and we wanted to create a completely new tone and vision for the project.
Together Aaron and I created this long exposure light painting in the high desert of Oregon. Working with a light wand, I created this 3 color circle by taking a long exposure of the green, yellow, and red with my light wand. The photoshoot was an exploration of color and form and we worked for several hours to create the perfect shot.
Élmer Mendoza is a Mexican author famous for telling the complicated story of the Mexican drug Cartels. In his trilogy of books, he explores drug violence in Mexico City through the eyes of a down and out detective, Lefty Mendieta.
I had the honor of designing the covers for these books. I worked closely with publisher Quercus Books to create Dia de Los Muertos themed covers. Bringing in imagery from the books and exploring Mexican culture I created a series of imagery that evokes the macabre and sets the tone for the ultra-violent novels.
I really enjoyed to process that went into these covers, I like exploring the culture, reading the books for insights, and learning the ropes of the publishing industry.
Waltronic Reads is a side project that I do when I have some down time. I love reading and I love book cover designs. Every-time I finish a book that I really enjoy, I challenge myself to design a book cover in a day. I like creating imagery that gives a sense of the story but doesn’t give anything away.
One of my goals as an illustrator is to design a trilogy of covers for a science fiction series! I love taking a brief synopsis and exploring as many angles as I can with my imagery. This project challenges me to explore new styles work within a set brief.
I love drawing animals. I can’t get enough of cool species from around the world. As our world heats from man made climate change we will lose untold numbers of species to extinction. These drawings are used to highlight the need for conservation and will hopefully excite others into making changes in their lives to protect these species.