Dan runs a full service silk screen and letterpress studio by the name of Vahalla Studios. As a designer and analog printer he is able to put his knowledge to work for his artist and designer clientele.
Which came first? Analog printing to produce your designs or designing so you had something to print.
I got into design first, but they fueled each other for sure! Shortly after starting design classes I began exploring printmaking. I was never into the digital output that was standard for our design classes and printmaking made the design process much more fulfilling.
Most design students fall in love as soon as they touch a screen press. My theory is it’s a combination of instant gratification, being hands-on, and the variety of substrates. What’s been the appeal for you?
The process is accessible to anyone. It can be done on the smallest of budgets and the interaction with your design work is really engaging. It does produce immediate results and the effect it has on how I design is what was really fascinating. It forces you to think reductively, to make more with less.
Those same design students would give their Mom’s left arm to make concert posters. How’d you score that gig?
Hard work and endless exploration. I think there was a bit of perfect timing as well. When I was a design student at KU the gig poster scene was just getting started. I’ll always remember the first time I was exposed to it. I remember thinking to myself, “here is the perfect marriage of my 3 favorite things: music, design, and printmaking.” It was all downhill from there.
Any uncommon sources that influence your design work?
I find inspiration everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes open. I am most influenced by the past though. I love digging at the antique mall or a good swap meet. It is kind of an obsession for me.
What is your latest epiphany?
I have finally figured out why so many designers get inspiration from becoming a parent. You cannot understand it until you become one. I had always wondered what all the hype is about. My 15 month old son, Tucker, has inspired me beyond belief. The wonder and amazement that he experiences in his world is pure. My family is a true blessing.