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About John Lathrop & Plaid Design



I'm John Lathrop, Earthling and award-winning pop artist (that's me above, either meditating or sleeping, not sure which, but I really need to do more of both). I'm the Founder, Creative Director, and Chief Artist/Designer of Plaid. OK, I guess I am Plaid.

TL;DR version of bio below: I like to draw.

When not playing outside with neighborhood pals while melting in the Central Florida heat, most of my childhood was spent listening to music while either drawing or gazing at art, or both, meaning I did a lot of copying - er, learning from - the masters; some of my favorites were Bill Watterson, Berkeley Breathed, Andy Warhol, Peter Max, Salvador Dalí, Mark Ryden, and Shag. Consequently, my own art evolved from penciled cartoons to realistic portraits to surrealist psychedelic scenescapes (usually involving llamas, cowbells, and/or talking fruit) in charcoals, pastels, inks, and oils. As a teen, I eagerly pursued work, earning commissioned murals, posters, T-shirts, ads for local businesses, and even a weekly comic strip running in the local newspaper - all before graduating high school. I've since painted commissions for clients such as MLB legend Cecil Fielder, TV icon Bob Barker, and writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait. Not bad for a Florida Man.

In the 2000s, I was heavily focused on my true main squeeze, music. Based solely on the need for cover art for my releases, I worked for years teaching myself Adobe software while simultaneously combining the fundamentals of being lifelong artist with an eye for good design and a metric butt-load (technical term) of trial and error, eventually becoming a self-taught graphic designer. Soon after, everyone I knew who needed a logo, poster, or album cover hit me up for design work. And I took on all jobs, then realizing how much I loved the artform. So in 2014, I opened my art and design studio, Plaid Design, officially migrating from the physical to the digital art space. Working digitally allows endless customization potential ... but the real reason I did it is for that sweet "undo" function.

This led to the development of my unique art style, which I lovingly call Mod Pop Art; my mixed-media approach combines hand-painted digital artwork with graphic design techniques to create my vibrant, colorful clean-line style. Drawing inspiration primarily from pop culture, my graphic portrait and poster work breathes new life into classic and current references, putting a fun, original spin on pop surrealism, often with a twist of humor and absurdist parody. Also inspired by mosaic art, much of my recent work explores patterns, shapes, and color, specifically the dichotomy between the harmony of monochromatic hues and the beauty of chaotic randomness. The result, I hope, is bold and striking eye-candy, with a vibe that feels vintage, yet unmistakably modern.

I now reside in Austin, TX - my "new" home as of the last 27 years - with my wife and two boys. Along with commissioned art and design work, I've been selling my original art pieces in signed/numbered limited edition fine art prints to clients all over the world for over a decade.




(vintage Plaid logos, 2014 - 2017)


I came up with the name of my studio by  ̶s̶h̶a̶m̶e̶l̶e̶s̶s̶l̶y̶ ̶s̶t̶e̶a̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶  paying homage to one of my favorite Mel Brooks films, Spaceballs. Remember this scene? But the big question everyone has is this: Is Plaid Design a pop art or design studio? YES!  It’s essentially a rare combination of both. Below are just a few of the things Plaid Design is all about:

  • Original Mod Pop Art: signed Ltd. Ed. fine art prints
  • Commissioned Mod Pop Art of just about anything
  • Logo design & branding
  • Film poster art/design
  • Album cover & gig poster art/design
  • T-shirt art/design
  • Website graphics & visual design, social media headers, icons
  • Infographic/business flyer design

The above are my primary specialties, but whatever your art or design needs are, I can take care of them for you .... hopefully. Look, if I can't (or just don't want to), I'll let you know that just ain't my bag (not in those words, I promise). I'll even let you know before you pay!

ART COMMISSIONS ARE OPEN! For something uber-customized that can't be found anywhere else on the planet (not even Walmart), Mod Pop Art-ize yourself or your gal/guy/kids/pals/pets in any scenario, or commission a piece based on your favorite film, TV show, musical artist, video game, athlete, animal, etc. Better yet, go FULLY PLAID with a combo platter, like "Miguel's World"!

Head on over to the contact page and let's discuss your commission!