I contacted Shane because he "liked" my Biffle's interview I was advertising on FB. We then chatted a little bit and I discovered his incredible work. To my opinion, he is the natural child of the glorious 60s pionneers and not only because he mainly worked for the Dead's family but in the way he composes his posters, takes his inspiration for fonts, etc... He mixes all of that with today's technology. Ok for you purists, it is not just 3 or 4 colors limited silkscreens but, seriously, ain't Shane one pof the best to bring the 60's spirit into the new millenium ?
listening to when we come to visit you?
I'm listening to and watching The Last Waltz-Levon Helm and The Band.
2-Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from,
what do you do?
I was born and raised in Maryland, in the DC/Baltimore area. Had a pretty wonderful childhood-grew up loving dogs, comic books, fantasy, movies and , of course, music. Went to my first arena rock show when I was 11-it was KISS in their prime-1978. My Dad took me and my brother and all of our friends. He introduced me to a world of music that years later I would realize influenced me deeply. Willie Nelson, especially-but also the whole spectrum of country music-true country-old school, Grand Ole Opry style. I also inherited some painting skills from him as well
, as he is an accomplished duck decoy carver and painter.
My mother, who recently passed, showed me the other side...the rock n roll of the 50's and 60's-particulary The Beatles. She also was my biggest fan-everything I ever drew or painted was a masterpiece to her. And I loved to fall asleep in her room,when I was a kid- entranced by her lava lamp.
I also have an amazing, smart and savvy sister whom I love beyond words.
When I was 18, I started my own musical journey, begun by my late brother, who was my first guitar hero. We had KISS, Zepplin, Stones, Dylan and an unbelievable collection of posters and albums in our room. Soon I was on my way to Pink Floyd, and then, on September 3rd, 1988, I went to my first Grateful Dead show. And the ride is still going.
I migrated to California in the early 90's and San Francisco is my hometown. My dog Samson keeps me smiling and my oldest friend is out here as well.
Ive been mainly a working airbrush artist-designing posters for festivals, shows and bands when I can-worked as art director for Tower Records and airbrushed large scale album covers for record stores until the digital age put a halt to that. I still airbrush on canvas, leather jackets and skateboards. I also design and build large scale parade floats, and work on backstage crews for major festivals decorating and setting up ambiance and VIP areas. I've also worked for Golds Gym in SF for 12 years-my day job/gig pays the rent and keeps me in shape for free.
Very, very early, according to my parents.
4-Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins
of your schoolbooks?
I took art class, of course-went to gifted/talented summer school a couple of times-but yes, I most definitely doodled and drew in all of my margins and bookcovers. And I filled pages of sketch books in high school. Alas, I did not attend college or art school. Pretty much self taught w a lot of practice, although I have worked with/for many great artists and designers, from whom I learned many things.
5-Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
No, I am currently holding down two "day jobs". The gym and an urban farmspace, although I have, in the past, fully supported myself as an airbrush artist.
Yeah, I post alot of fan art and self promotional stuff on fan sites. And I enter alot of contests. Just showing my stuff to whoever wants to check it out, if it's of that fanbase. I'm a huge Tolkien fan, and have posted alot of pieces to Lord of The Rings fansites and such.
7-Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists
you particularly like, what are your influences?
Pretty much from a combination of comic book art and album cover art. Always loved airbrushed graphics and logos. The first artist that truly "influenced" me was Stanley Mouse. When I was 11, long before The Grateful Dead entered my world, before I had any idea who he was, I was entranced by his album covers for Journey and Steve Miller. Also the Roger Dean covers for Asia and Yes rocked my world as a kid. HEAVY METAL and Gerard Scarfe's illustrations and animations for Pink Floyd and then, of course, I discovered Stanley Mouse all over again when I tuned in to the art of the Haight and the rock era, and the great Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson, and Peter Max. My favorite artists whose work I admire and aspire to are Richard Biffle, Emek, Chuck Sperry and Chris Shaw.
8-What are the principal steps in your work ?
Well, I do alot of conceptualizing in my head when I'm at my other job...I have somewhat of a photographic memory. When I'm doing a poster I try to think, of course, of the mood and style of the band. If it's Dead related, I already get that, so I just kind of delve into the imagery in my head and sphere. I do alot of sketches that I eventually turn into a poster. Lots of roughs, first drafts, etc. When I'm doing a poster-I love to play around w. the fonts-I like the duty free ones that look familier, but stylize and layer them until they look 3 dimensional, then color w/ layer after layer in photoshop as if I was airbrushing w/ the computer. I like to go in and get everything as balanced and symetrical until I reach that point where I feel it's done. Then I triple check for embarrassing spelling mistakes.
No, it's a mix. I do the cleanest tightest line drawing I can the old fashioned way at my drawing table, then scan it or photograph it, get it into the computer and go from there. I enjoy transforming an old sketch or simple line drawing, or a photo, into a graphic, electric image w/ glowing borders and airbrushed gradients.
I also do many, many different versions w/ fonts, layouts, color schemes, etc. The best part of making art digitally is that you can change things over and over again til you hit on something that works, and then it all just flows from there. For me, anyway.
10-How long does it take you to do a poster?
I like to have a least a week, mainly to give myself enough time to get it right. Sometimes though I will recycle a poster concept or image that may have been turned down by someone into a new piece on the fly.
like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses
running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are
you up for it ?
At this point, yes I am . I'm doing the kind of images and posters that come to me, trying to make them look as cool and as rad as possible to me. Colors pallettes, lettering styles, and content are all my choices right now-although I would have no problem taking art direction from a band. Tell me what you envision and I'll give you my best concepts.
If someone asked me to paint them a canvas of horse running out of the surf, and showed me a workable, acceptable amount of money, I would clear my schedule and start on it tomorrow. I love to paint/airbrush whatever someone wants-portraits, their favorite movie characters or rock stars. Always ends up a good portfolio piece for the website or Facebook.
And the occasional pet portrait has paid my rent on more than one occasion.
I've did an official shirt for the Grateful Dead in 1994, and the NYE mail order ticket for Furthur last year. I've done work for many Bay Area band s such as Ghosts of Electricty, Lonesome Locomotive , The Fall Risk, Cryptical and Dedicated Maniacs. I've also been the poster artist and art director for the annual Jerry Day concert and festival from 2009 til today.
13-For which band would you love to work?
Furthur, Moonalice, Dark Star Orchestra and Johhny Sketch and The Dirty Notes.
14-Do you choose the artists yourself?
I choose the artists that are taking submissions, or that I want to work for, and do samples and send them around. I also have had bands approach me and that's always a delight.
Making sure I keep it looking like something I drew or airbrushed, and getting the balnce of image and wording perfect in my eyes.
16-Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
Yeah, I'm a San Francisco poster artist, and am proud of being part of such a great tradition w/ so many talented people doing amazing work. I'm hoping to continue to get work and posters published and out there and join the ranks.
17-A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we
see your work , on the web or in real life?
In the real world you could see my work on my apartment walls, or all over the walls of my best friend's home. You could also see my Haight Ashbury Street Fair posters and sign painting in the shops and stores
on Haight St.
I have a website that needs updating at
I have lots of my stuff on Facebook as well, on my own page
and my studio page-SEG Airbrush
and currently at
I would have to definitely say being asked to do this interview! And having Biffle tell me my Grateful Dead
poster was NICE.
poster was NICE.
19-What can we wish you for the future?
Health, happiness, and alot more published gig posters for bands big or small. Thank you so much.