Astro Chief


The sun, the moon and the stars, past and the future collide in the Astro Chief; Drawing inspiration from American history and science fiction from the golden age.

I happened upon an amazing headdress through the window of a shop in Downtown Scottsdale 4 years ago. I’ve thought of it on-and-off since then, all the fine details and symbolism. Last fall I was digging through my kid’s Halloween candy stash and I spied the”warrior shooting a star” on a Tootsie pop. That blast-from-the-past sent me over the edge.

My Process

Yes, this is exactly what it looks like. Sharpie drawings, X-acto blades and patience. Each color gets it’s own sheet of paper. Registration is key. Very easy to screw this part up.

Here you have the two major stencils. Silver midtone and black shadow. There were 2 additional stencils created not shown here. 1: White fill area behind the chief, and 2: Additional white highlights in the feathers, headband and eyes. I had to cut those stencils to achieve extra details and important separation between the background and foreground.


What happens to the stencil you ask?

They’re trashed! It’s a single use stencil. Ink sticks the paper to the screen, through the printing process, this paper stencil “breaks down” on the screen and softens, shifts and generally wears out. Screens are power-washed and reclaimed. When dry, screens are called back into service. I alternate between two screens. That’s the beauty of this process, If I make this print again I have to start over. No shortcuts.

Back view of used stencils and screens.


The result

I made 2 sets of these completely handmade stenciled and painted prints. The first is a silver and black Chief, the second is an intense flourescent “experience”.

Series 1: Handmade Astro Chief Prints. Edition of 10

Black & Silver Base. Each and every print is unique within the series.
Available Prints: #1, #7, #5, #9
22×30 on Stonehenge archival paper.

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#1: Sungold, silver, black, yellow and double white. 


Heavy layering of ink just “takes me there”. You can see the ink build-up here. Good printers try to avoid this but I don’t care, I much prefer this look. Plus you know it’s handmade, this ain’t no digital print.

#7: Printed over a layer of dots produced by using a Japanese paper with a nice clean dot pattern.


#5: Black Silver and Electric yellow on white.


#9: Drip-layered yellow background


Black Light attack!

Flourescent inks have been on my radar for a while now, so I took the time to cut a second set of stencils for this piece and printed an entirely separate flourescent series.

Series 2: Handmade flourescent Astro Chief Prints. Edition of 9

Flourescent Inks. Each and every print is unique within the series.
Available Prints: #3, #6, #8
22×30 on Stonehenge archival paper.

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#3: Flourescent 3-color blend.


#6: Started weaving blue into the flourescent red layer and it had some dramatic effects


#8: This print skipped the background and only hit the last 3 stencils, the orange, detail white and red/blue (late in red stencil process when the screen had gone mostly blue).


#3: Full on Flourescent blowout


If you like these prints check out Modern Ranch RevisitedAudiophile SeriesHot Prints of 2012

View and buy available prints in the STORE.