Photography by: Trevor Paulhus
Philosophy and art—the two have been intertwined for centuries. Renowned illustrator Kyle Steed sits unassumingly on a picnic bench at Houndstooth Coffee as he slowly and intricately defines the lines of his typography, spelling out the phrase: “Are You Who You Are?” The drive for introspection is something so imperative that you’d be hard-pressed to leave his presence without a little philosophy lesson. Through illustration and spirituality, Steed is finding a means to answer the maddening questions of life.
Maybe this is why on November 4, 2017, he received a missed call from an unlikely candidate looking for an illustrator for his next book. “Hey, I’m looking for a fella named Kyle. My name is Rob Bell…I would love to talk to you. Much love and peace.” (For context, Rob Bell was featured in The 2011 TIME 100, Time magazine’s annual list of the most influential people in the world. This was primarily due to his thought-provoking teachings and writings, several of which are on The New York Times Best Sellers.) #NBD.
The luxury of searching for “what it all means” didn’t always come easy for a young Steed. Like many of us, he was lingering through early stages of college trying to find something that could engage him. Looking back, Steed thanks his father for not letting him slide through life and challenging him to make hard choices—the kind that mold you for the better. The pressure of self-worth and independence came to a head at age 21 when he joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Japan for three years.
“Serving in the Air Force took me away from living at home and dropped me into a whole new way of life. The experience as a whole was difficult. It is only in retrospect that I realize the value and importance of how my experiences overseas in the military helped shape me tremendously.”
He throws a bottle cap in the direction of an interrupting bird. Steed despises disruption. It’s part and parcel of the energy he requires for simultaneous focus and muse. His illustration series, Patience, is totemic to life’s preoccupation with...
You will find Kyle hanging out at his aesthetically inspiring home in Oak Cliff working on his current biggest project: building a playhouse for his girls. He also frequents Davis Street Espresso, Jettison, and Weekend Coffee at The Joule Hotel.
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