Kaia Bellanca lives at the intersection of music and art. A Dallas, Texas-based mixed media designer, Kaia spends her time bringing together hand-drawn illustration and collage for a unique take on gig posters, album art and merch art — including a poster for a show from this year’s Punk Rock Bowling. We asked her to take that PRB poster one step further and translate it for a pair of 1460s. Read on to see the result — and get insight into her artistic process, her background and her go-to haunt in Dallas.
I’m an art-student-dropout, rock-poster-designer based in Dallas, Texas. I do local and national gig posters, album art, merch art and more. My style is to combine hand-drawn and digital art, collages, and really whatever sparks my interest at the moment.
Tell us about your artwork in general.
I’ve been an artist of sorts for as long as I can remember, but I neglected that part of me after school. I’ve been doing makeup since 2010, and modeled for several years, so that has kept my creative sanity intact. I got into making punk/rock/gig posters in 2012. I was working the door at the club that became Three Links, in Deep Ellum, and decided to submit a few flyers to them to see if they would take me on as their full-timer. It worked, and I’ve been making posters for them ever since.
I like to create “art” that’s engaging, high contrast, but also uncomfortable, gross, weird, and imperfect. My styles wax and wane — sometimes glossy, sometimes gritty, sometimes both. My mom used to call me The Bug Lady when I was a kid, so I guess I’ve always had an attraction to the juxtaposition of beauty and dirt.
Tell us about the design you created for your Docs.
For my Dr Martens / Punk Rock Bowling collaboration, I wanted to play off of the flyer I made for their Hagfish club show this year for the 20th anniversary. I love texture and halftones, so I just felt it out and kept adding to the design until lightning struck. The boots took me in a slightly different direction than what I had planned, but that’s how I work best.
Tell us about your first pair of Docs.
My first pair of Docs were those brown sandals that were popular in the late 90s with the preppy kids, BUT they were knockoffs since my mom wasn’t about to spend all that on her bratty teenage daughter. They made my feet smell like death, so obviously I didn’t get any dates in those. My first legit pair of Docs came later in my 20s, and I still wear them on a semi-regular basis. They’re busted nowadays, and could use replacing, but I love them. They’re my go-to.
What was the first concert you attended?
My first big concert was Weezer at Starplex in Dallas back when I was 16, on a mediocre date (the boy, not the band). I just got to see them again this June at the same venue, 16 years later, and this time with The Pixies. It was a pretty cool “full circle” kind of a moment.
What is your dream band / show to create a poster for?
The most influential musicians to me through the years have been women, bands fronted by women, or all-female groups. I LOVE designing flyers for loud, no-bulls**t women, especially if I can be gross, overtly sexual, and a bit shocking with the artwork. So I would love to be able to say that I designed a flyer for Madonna, Peaches, The Distillers, Missy Elliot, Against Me!, Garbage, Lunachicks, Joan Jett, Sharon Jones (R.I.P.), Siouxsie Sioux, Fiona Apple, or L7. All of these women have inspired me immensely, and given me strength and resolve when I needed it. I would like to note that this list started off shorter, but this is a big question!
What is your go-to spot in Dallas?
Three Links, Deep Ellum, is hands-down my Dallas HQ. It’s a roughly 200-cap rock bar and venue on Elm Street — I help manage the bar and design flyers, and my husband is one of the owners. We have had some major punk and rock legends on our stage, but we also do jazz nights, R&B, hip-hop, soul, indie, industrial, Texas swing, blues … whatever, as long as it brings a crowd and makes the bar happy. I love our little Three Links family and our neighborhood.
Photos by Vicious V. Photography