I’m co-owner/designer/printer at Tree & Leaf Clothing, a screenprinting shop and retail store here in OKC.
I do most of the design work for our brand, our collaborative shirts (The Spy, DailyThunder, and The Lost Ogle), and all of the poster printing done here at our shop.
Dusty is the third generation of a family of commercial artists and illustrators. A college dropout and self-taught printer, his design style is thoroughly influenced by typography, cartoons, and graffiti. Nearly all the branding and design work at Tree & Leaf is done by Dusty. Join him every Thursday at the Tree & Leaf shop for Drink & Draw, or follow his animated life on Twitter and Instagram: @TRUdust.
1. How did you come to Oklahoma City? And more importantly, why do you stay?
I was born in Oklahoma City and never thought about leaving. I legitimately love this city and state. Starting a business 6 years ago has only increased my passion for this city. Watching and being actively involved in the community over last 6 years has been amazing. The amount of growth in culture and development is astounding. I’m anxious to see what the future brings for OKC, and that alone is a great reason to hang around a little longer.
2. Who was your greatest mentor?
My greatest mentor is my father, Greg Gilpin, and his greatest mentor would be his father, Dick Gilpin. Both have been commercial artists, illustrators, and graphic designers their entire lives in Oklahoma City. Their humorously illustrated lives have taught me not only how to draw, but how to communicate with clients, friends, and others through cartoons and laughter. Growing up in a household and legacy of artists only propelled and encouraged me to where I am today.
3. Which project are you most proud of? Please explain why?
The projects I’m most proud of are projects that I’ve had the most fun doing. My two favorite projects I’ve produced have been the painting of a delivery van for Dirty Water Coffee Co, and a screen printed poster I designed and printed for a beard growing contest we hosted at the shop. I don’t think either of the projects even grossed a profit, but they were a lot of fun to work on. There are larger and more prestigious jobs I’ve had, but these were really fun and that’s what counts.
Dirty Water Coffee Co Van
Grow A Beard
This is the wall inside Tree & Leaf, it was a lot of fun and definitely one of the bigger productions I’ve been involved in. Collaborative painting by (Tanner Frady, Tanké, Dylan Bradway, and myself)
Tree and Leaf Wall
I proposed recently, and that is something I’m really proud of as well.
I Love You graffiti
4. What is one thing other creatives can learn from your biggest success and/or failure?
Successes: Work hard and happily with others. Remain humble and you’ll learn more. Remember that working with others is a privilege.
Failures: Don’t be arrogant. Don’t assume entitlement. Think before you speak.
5. If you could play a game with any creative in the community, what would it be and whom would you play against?
I’d probably play Rummy or Dominoes with Burt Seybourne, Bruce Eagle, Bob Jacobsen, Dean Wilhite, and my dad. That would probably be pretty educational. I’d rather draw than play cards though...
6. What is one thing you would change about your job or profession?
I really can’t think of much else I’d rather be doing. If I get bored with designing on the computer I draw, when I get bored with drawing, I print, when I get bored with printing, I paint.
Sometimes (with any contract job) you have to sacrifice creative direction to the will of the client. It would be nice to have more freedom when approaching contract work, but that has been a dream for as long as a skilled workers have done work for a know-it-alls.
7. What is your best source of inspiration?
My best source for inspiration is through an archive of art I’ve been collecting of my grandfather's work; Drink & Draw is a huge source of inspiration and encouragement to work harder. Generally just being around other artists keeps me on my toes and pushing to work harder.