Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tim Doyle Talks Art 13

As mentioned before a team of intrepid reporters are on the case and are starting to interview artists involved in the art project.

MilkcanRocks has kicked things off with this excellent interview with Tim Doyle.

Like a juggernaut robot rocketing down from outer space, Nakatomi Inc. is posed to take over the world. Based in Austin, TX, Nakatomi Inc. is a company that specializes in art prints, clothing and other accesories. Nakatomi is a blend of pop culture and awesome, and sitting square in the captain seat of Nakatomi is Tim Doyle. Tim Doyle is the artist responsible for Hurley's Curse, the first poster of sixteen in the recent LOST poster series. I recently caught up with Tim where we discussed movies, action figures and a poster series about LOST. Enjoy!

MilkcanRocks: So Tim, lets talk a little about yourself first...

Tim Doyle: Okey dokey - anything specific?

MC: I know that a lot of the LOST ARG'ers are interested in what got artists involved with doing prints in the first place...what got you into doing art, specifically art prints?

TD: Well, I was the art director of the Alamo Drafthouse's poster series for a few years (left them back in January to start Nakatomi), and I worked with Rob Jones on arranging the posters for them. So I got to know almost all the artists that worked on the Lost series back before it was a glimmer in ABC's eye. I think 10 of the artists on the series actually did prints for me when I was at the Alamo.

MC: I noticed that a lot of the artists also have done some prints for Nakatomi as well, too (Jay Ryan, Kevin Tong, Daniel Danger and Tyler Stout have all contributed to the Nakatomi Invitational Series)

TD: Right- I made a lot of great contacts working there, and, I, of course, used them with my new company.

MC: What was your favorite poster that you did when you were art director at the Alamo?

TD: Wow - that's tough as there were so many great ones that I got to oversee there. I think one of the totally underrated ones was Lil' Tuffy's 'The Gate' print. It was very clean and simple, but really captured the film. Just about anything by Jeff Kleinsmith blew me away as well. His Shining print is spooky as all get out, but you really can't argue with Tyler Stout's draftmanship and composition. (visit to see some of the posters we discussed)

MC: 'The Gate'...isn't that the film that has the kid defeat that demon in the end with a home-made rocket?

TD: RIGHT! It was a childhood favorite. The poster barely sold, cause the movie was so obscure.

MC: Aw man! That was an awesome film. Loved it when I was a kid, too.

TD: But the print killed. Just watched Flight of the Navigator today, actually. Man, I'd love to do a print for that one.

MC: I have a lot of fond memories of that movie, too -can't listen to the Beach Boys anymore without thinking of that movie...

TD: Ha! Yeah, that part is so over the top. The little alien dancing and stuff.... So, after working with those artists for so long, I had to get my hands in the game. The first screen print I did was for 'The Wizard' and I just moved on from there. Doing screenprints were so much more fun than doing the gallery shows I had been in up to that point, and it paid much better than indie comics. And when I say 'paid better' I mean, people bought them -the Alamo didn't pay me to do posters

MC: Didn't you do a few other posters for The Alamo as well?

TD: Yeah, I mean, it was a chance to be a part of this juggernaut of a poster series Rob and I built up, so throwing my name in there really helped people see what I could do. I did a Robocop, Godfather, Phantom of the Paradise, Troll 2, Big Trouble In Little China

MC: Yeah! Your Troll 2 kills!

TD: Thanks man- I actually got a call from the kid in Troll 2 to do some art for them after that print. He didn't know that he had met me before at an Alamo function. Nice guy. Totally Mormon - the entire cast of the film was.

MC: Really? Didn't know that.

TD: Filmed in Utah!

MC: Cool! So, what made you decide to start Nakatomi Inc. ? ( )

TD: I realized people were responding so well to my screenprints along with the fact I didn't want to work for anyone else anymore. I knew everything I needed to do it on my own, so I started getting it all together with one of my friends who at the time also worked at the Alamo. We launched in January of 2009 while we were still working at the Alamo. They got very, very unhappy at us. I decided to leave (which was the whole point of starting the company) and my friend decided to stay there. He actually got my old job at Mondo. Well, 1/3 of my old job. They replaced me with 3 people.

MC: I'm used to seeing that DIY attitude with record labels - it's awesome to see those ethics spill into other fields such as art prints. Tell me a little more about Nakatomi.

TD: Well, I wish I could say we had this grand mission statement, but it's really just 'Stuff I Want To Do' with artists I know and friends. We built our own print shop over the summer, and doing the screen printing by hand instead of farming it out is completely liberating. It really refined my technique, having to do my own prints. I'm obviously very pop-culture inspired (read - I'm a huge nerd), and so most the stuff we put out tends to fall under that.

MC: So you brought up something that a lot of people have been wondering - who does your art prints? And do other artists do the printing themselves or do they send them out to outside printers to do them?

TD: WELL - about that - I started out working with one of the best printers in the world, D & L out of Seattle ( They handled the majority of the printing for the Alamo gigs. I can only assume most artists start out printing their own stuff, but having a shop that can put out quality product is a huge investment in time and money. So I guess a lot of artists grow into using outside printers. But I kinda reversed that. I started out having D & L print mine, and once I realized that A -I could really have fun doing my own printing and B- it would save me a ton of cash on production, I got my friend Clint Wilson to help me build a shop in my garage, and we both print out of there. As I've gotten busier I've been doing less and less of my own printing, and have had Clint do more and more. I think all the LOST print were done out of D and L except for Jay Ryans'. He's got The Bird Machine, his own shop, to do most of his printing ( )

MC: Jay is awesome - I knew of his band, Dianogah, before his prints. Cool guy. I also understand that you are printing other people's prints, too. Didn't you do some prints for Olly Moss for A Life Well Wasted ( )?

TD: So Nick Derington, Jacob Borshard and I all grew up in Plano, Texas, and they were friends with Robert Ashley, who does ALWWasted. So when Robert started putting out prints, Jacob and Nick talked him into doing screen prints as opposed to Giclee's. So Jacob and Clint are doing most of the printing of the ALWWasted prints in my shop. I'm really too busy with comics and my own prints to get to involved in all that.

But I really want Robert to push the podcasts' merch really hard - it's an awesome product, and it's totally free to the listeners. So, he needs to keep it going, and that means selling stuff. I'm really glad I'm at least partially involved in that

MC: Yeah, the podcast is awesome. It recently got a huge push from Kotaku, and it's nice to see that Nakatomi is supporting that! I understand that the LOST poster series wasn't the first time you worked with Gallery 1988 - tell me a little about what you've done with them in the past?

TD: Gallery 1988 - I can't remember what came first -me doing the print for their Crazy 4 Cult 3 show, or this.

MC: When were you contacted about the LOST series?

TD: I think back in April. Jensen Karp emailed or called about it. Back then, I don't think all the artists were lined up yet.

MC: Back in April? Didn't realize it when back that far.

TD: I hadn't actually seen an episode yet at that point.


TD: I knew it was a show that I WANTED to get into, but like a lot of my media, I like to wait until it's all done and THEN jump on board. I read something like 20 comic books a week, so I don't have a whole lot of room in my head for juggling more storylines. Like Harry Potter - I jumped on right when that was almost all over. And man, I totally feel for the people who had to just wait years for that series.

MC: That is exactly how I got into LOST, too - something I always wanted, but never had the chance. Got really into it during the Season 3 break.

TD: So I called Rob Jones and told him about this 'LOST thing' and asked what image I should do. He said 'Ask for the Polar Bear or the Hatch'. But, eventually, Jensen got back to me and said I had gotten 'Hurley Winning The Lottery' and then he sent me that episode. I did a quick concept sketch, and worked it from there.

MC: What did your original sketch look like? Was it similiar to the final poster?

TD: Oh yeah, I'll have to dig it up sometime. Jensen told me the producers really liked my King Hippo print (, so they gave me Hurley, cause I can draw fat people! (Being fat myself helps...) And, it was my sense of humor that got me that moment - Hurley's a pretty funny dude all around, so it fits, I guess. I just kinda cherry picked images from that episode, and sent in the poster

MC: So the producers picked which moments everyone got then?

TD: I THINK so...I'm guessing Jensen had more to do with that. He probably walked in to a meeting with a list of artists and a proposal, I'd imagine.

MC: I gotta say - love the print that you did, and while I see the humor, there is kinda a dark, menacing edge to it. Love the skull eyes. Is there anything about your print that you specifically think is cool and fun that you want to share?

TD: The first version of the poster I did had Hurley's face on it really big at the bottom right above the TV, and the ABC guys said it could only be on there once. I guess it had something to do with SAG contracts or something. Like if you have a print ad, an actor can't be on there more than another actor. Not quite sure. But I watched the episode with Jin in the Cluck suit and filled in more choice images like the car, and it is a much better poster all around. There's not anything really secret in the print -it's all pretty much right there. The varnish layer of the numbers was a fun thing. Working on it was a bit of a terrifying experience, as I really didn't know what was going on with the show at all. Of course, after seeing those 2 episodes, I KNEW I had to start watching.

MC: How many inks went into the print (including the varnish)?

TD: I think there's like 4 colors, plus the glow, plus the varnish. 2 blues, a red, a black, varnish, and the glow.

MC: D&L did the printing?

TD: D&L, yes.

MC: Gotta ask...what do you think about the series?

TD: I started to get caught up with the show on and then HULU. Then I got a new TV and borrowed seasons 3-4, and then I HAD to buy them all when Amazon had that killer deal when season 5 came out. Suffice to say, I got hooked big-time. It's totally engaging. I got a bit of a man-crush on Sayid.

MC: Yeah, it hooked me big time. The episode that did it for me was the Season 2 episode with Ben eating cereal talking about how he would set a trap for them. Awesome! Now having watched all the series, what moment would you pick to do a LOST poster on now?

TD: Man, that's a tough one - all the really great visuals have pretty much been done. I would say the Submarine. Like a really cool, creepy underwater drawing of the Dharma sub. Maybe with the docks and light from top.

MC: That would be cool. Lots of varnish on the water.

TD: Completely. Man, I know if they do another print series, they'll probably want new artists, but I'd love to be back now that I'm an official fan. Or maybe another Locke print -I LOVE Olly's, but I love Locke's story so much I'd like a crack at it.

MC: Did you collect any of the other prints?

TD: Nah - I don't have time to sit in front of the computer all day doing that.


TD: The length some of the fans went to to get the prints once they got 'hot' is amazing. I wonder if anyone lost their job f5'ing all day.

MC: Yeah, a good chunk of my time was spent in front of the computer. No jobs lost, but

TD: I probably lost hours and hours of time reading the threads on EB and LostArgs...I can't imagine if I actually tried to get the posters.

MC: It was an epic battle there for some time.

TD: It was really hard not spilling the beans on some of the details. Everyone thought Shepard was going to do the last one, but I already knew the whole line-up. Man, that was tough.

MC: How strict was the contract for discussion?

TD: Oh, it was strict. And, for a guy like me who always does his own promotions and tries to make sure everyone knows what I'm working on, it was especially hard. I wish I could be like Jay or Tyler and just NOT TALK.

MC: Did you know when you poster was going to be released?

TD: Oh, I knew mine was going to be the 1st or second from Jensen, I think. Kevin Tong is a good friend of mine and he lives not far from the Gallery, so we talked about it a bit. He was really good at keeping quiet, and artists talk amongst themselves.

MC: You all did really good at keeping quiet. There was some pretty heated discussions from the fans as to who was going to be involved. I heard Shepard and a few others for the last print. Even Banksy.

TD: HA! that would've been nuts. Now, that would've been selling out for him (Banksy).

MC: Yeah, I had a friend travel to the UK just to photograph his stencils.

TD: But a guy like me is always looking for an excuse to draw superheroes or whatever. I love me some corporate toys.

MC: There is nothing wrong with superheroes dude! Just went toy shopping today with the boy and picked up some action figures.

TD: Ha! What'd you get?

MC: This Imaginex Mr. Freeze toy that has this snap-on ice casing for figures. He was also pricing Legos, too.

TD: Mr. Freeze is one of the figures I need for my Super-Powers collection. I'm trying to finish my set of Super Powers figures from the 80's. I used to be an insane toy collector.

MC: Cool man! I'll be on the lookout for it! I'm sure that others want to know what you've got coming out soon, both at Nakatomi in general and for your prints. Can you give us a little preview of what's coming down the pipeline?

TD: Well, I'm working on this huge comic-book project right now - The Intergalactic Nemesis ( ) It'll premier soonish -the first 2 issues are in the can, with 7 issues total. It's a play/motion-comic/ meta-contextual thing. I got 3 (!!!) prints in the He-Man show coming up at Gallery 1988, with the opening reception on January 8th. One print I'm finishing up is for a superhero show in Mexico, and 'The Sea Also Rises' is an ongoing series. There's like 2 more prints planned out for that as well. That, and more stuff from my usual band of artists at Nakatomi. I'm roping in more and more people every day. Sleep is for the weak. I

MC: You've got a lot on you plate! It's going to be a great year for you and Nakatomi! And lastly, just to emphasize a point, people should sign up for the Nakatomi Mailing List, right?

TD: Oh yeah - if you want that LOST print (you, meaning the public), then people need to be on the mailing list. We're going to handle these sales through email, as it might get nuts on-line. I want to avoid any server crashes.

MC: And you do some pretty great stuff for the mailing list folk, too. This isn't the only exclusive print that you have offered for the mailing list.

TD: Oh yeah! I did a commission for a dude in the RAF a few months back, who wanted a 'Change into a JET' print for his squadron ( Click here to see it ). To keep his costs lower, I sold it to my mailing list as well, which let me offset the discounts I gave him. I really was excited to get that drawing into the hands of some real Airforce pilots. And I gave my email list a chance on a <Nakatomi Mailing List Exclusive Print That Cannot Be Mentioned Until A Future Date> print as well.

MC: It's a beauty! I got my <Nakatomi Mailing List Exclusive Print That Cannot Be Mentioned Until A Future Date> print storing flat and safe as we speak.

TD: Ha! Hang it up, ese! Printz is meant to be seen!

MC: I'm learning how to make frames as we speak!

TD: Oh yeah - do your own framing, totally! It'll save you a bundle. I use the metal framepaks from my local art shop. Cut the glass at home depot. I used to work in a framing shop when I was a kid, and I know it's a total racket.

MC: A bunch of people reading this just wound up saving hundreds from going to Michaels to have them framed. Thank you.

TD: Yeah, buy your supplies there, and do it yourself. I don't even fudge around with matting. Just an 18x24 frame, plus glass, plus foam core backing will run you no more than 40 bucks. If you have them do it for you with a mat, you'll spend $100+ easy.

MC: Sweet, man. Again, I cannot thank you enough for your time with this interview. Anthing else you want to add for the folks that may be reading this?

TD: Yeah, tell those guys over at the LOST site that they have a crazy thing going on over there - it's great to go through it. I feel like a late-comer to the show, but man, it's golden.

MC: Don't be a stranger. Seriously. I'm rarely there, but even when I poke my head in it's always a warm welcome.

TD: Thank you very much!

MC: Alright! Thanks for the chat here - take care!


ChrisL said...

first. Morning Thorsten

ChrisL said...

Congrats MilkcanRocks. Great stuff.

Lisa-Maladylis said...

I'm here, now have to read it :-) Morning all

ObFuSc8 said...

I see the NEW POST, but great job MCR!

futureself said...

Great interview MilkcanRocks!

MilkcanRocks said...

Thanks for the kind words gang! It was great interviewing Tim - Nakatomi is a great company and Tim is a stand-up guy.

Congested said...

Nice surprise and great interview Milkcan.

andalone said...

MCR - Thank you for providing some background and insight from Mr. Doyle. The interview will be a wonderful addition to my scrapbook on the project.

MJCarp said...

MilkcanRocks, excellent conversation from two fans of pop culture and LOST. Love that Mr. Doyle fessed up to man-crush, brilliant interrogation techniques!

thorsten, thank you for posting amid all the fuss of poster drops. again, if you are interested in writing article based on interview with DCaPB artist, let me know at lotto dot ticket dot 108 gmail

RobPerrin said...

Great interview, Milkcan. Lots of interesting info on DCAAPB and good stuff on Doyle's background.

Amy Lynn said...

Awesome job.

Why are there so many open threads, though?

MiddayShadows said...

hey, this thread is under-represented.I greatly enjoyed that interview!

Nicely done.

MilkcanRocks said...

During a re-read of this interview I noticed that one of the questions I did got cut off - here is the full question for those wanting to get the full story!

MC: Jay is awesome - I knew of his band, Dianogah, before his prints. Cool guy. I also understand that you are printing other people's prints, too. Didn't you do some prints for Olly Moss for A Life Well Wasted ( )?

Also, I edited the start date of the G1988 He-Man gallery show wrong - it should of be 1/8!

Hope you all enjoy the interview, and sorry about the errors!

- MilkcanRocks