The man behind Alpha-Tone is long-time designer and WallsNeedLove employee Patrick Weber. I visited the WallsNeedLove headquarters in Nashville, TN, to talk about his work, his art, and his walls. I was also able to snap a quick video of the artist at work.
Patrick’s desk is located in the warehouse section of the WallsNeedLove offices. It’s covered in the Comic Drama vinyl, a Lichtenstein-style comic with a graphic nature that he designed. His tools are Sharpie markers of various widths, a Mac computer, and lots of paper. While these days he uses digital imagery to guide his work, his art is entirely his own. He used magazines for his early inspiration, took those ideas to Photoshop when he was 13 and has been digital ever since.
Many of the Alpha-Tone designs you can see on the WallsNeedLove site show Patrick’s proficiency with digital media, especially the Facescape series. These gorgeous prints overlay landscape images on the faces of models, and many have a distinct 1960s vibe brought out through the models’ hairstyles and eye makeup.
The newest Alpha-Tone designs, including the “Here’s Johnny” Character-Type Patrick drew freehand in the video below, are bold black and white mixes of a single image with a famous quote. He says his “style brings heavy clean lines to anything” he does, especially his hand-drawn designs. You’ll spot lots of modern fonts, images, and color schemes that he’s found on the Internet and tweaked for his purposes.
We talked a little about his process, and Patrick said that for these new hand-drawn Character-Types, he will often zone out in front of the TV to complete them. “It takes me about three episodes of The New Girl to finish one,” he said with a smile. Then he will upload the picture to Illustrator for clarifying. “I don’t want perfection,” he said, “I want it to look hand-drawn but perfect enough for the cutting machine to not mess up.”
The graphic and hand-drawn styles of the Character-Type designs are what make them so popular. They look like something we would doodle with a permanent marker on our notebooks in middle school, only cooler. For visual inspiration, Patrick gleans from everything he sees, but also goes to artist pages like hydro74.com and electricheat.org to stay current.
Patrick also uses the WallsNeedLove designs like the Birch Trees FabTac in his house, and they pair perfectly with his two favorite pieces of art. The first is a drawing of Mercedes Hall (Anthony Michael Hall’s mom) that used to hang at the top of the stairs in his grandparents’ house and “used to scare the hell out of my sister and me.” This hangs in his kitschy living room with some velvet art and the cute penguin painting his “buddy Tyler’s mom painted for [his] roommate.”