Sean Starr  Photo by Daniel Driensky and Sarah Reyes for the Dallas Observer

Sean Starr Photo by Daniel Driensky and Sarah Reyes for the Dallas Observer


Blending his background as an artist, sign painter, designer and illustrator, Sean Starr has achieved an international reputation and a wide range of exhibitions while working with other artists such as The Cranberries, Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsay Buckingham, The Toadies and Reese Witherspoon.

Starr was featured in the film and book “Sign Painters” and his work for companies like the Gap, Indian Motorcycle, Ocean Spray, Rusty Taco and Sony Music has seen coverage in media such as the Discovery Channel, NBC, Dallas Observer, Juxtapoz and ArtForum magazines as well as dozens of other outlets.

Sean Starr being interviewed in the film "Sign Painters"

Sean Starr being interviewed in the film "Sign Painters"


Sean Gregory Starr (born April 28, 1968) is an American contemporary artist, sign painter, graphic designer, published author, abstract painter, podcaster and founder of Starr Studios. Starr also had a short stint in 1998 as a Hollywood stunt driver for Ford Motor Company. He first became known with the release of the book You, Me and Morrissey co-authored with Colin Nasseri which was made an Official Entrant for the Pulitzer Prize in 2008, a book Entertainment Weekly labeled “Obsessive” shortly after its release.

He became widely known for his work as a sign painter after the 2013 international release of the book Sign Painters which featured his work along with two dozen other sign painters around the United States. He has worked for a wide variety of companies including Gap, Sony Music, NBC Television, the 2010 Winter Olympics, Ocean Spray, Indian Motorcycles and the Mayor's Office of San Francisco. He has also worked for a variety of celebrity clients including Reese Witherspoon, Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, The Toadies, Gogol Bordello and Irish band The Cranberries.

His work has been featured in dozens of magazines as well as the Discovery Channel, NBC Television and the Food Network, Juxtapoz Magazine, Art Forum, the Los Angeles Times, Fort Worth Magazine and This Old House.

“Morrissey Ruined My Life” exhibition San Francisco 2007

“Morrissey Ruined My Life” exhibition San Francisco 2007

Abstract Paintings

"Starr has created his own version of Abstract Expression, one that incorporates the immediacy of inspiration."
Agora Gallery, New York

Shortly after establishing the studio in Tacoma, Washington in 2005, Starr's first exhibition was held at the University of Washington, Tacoma January 21, 2006 which included multiple items on display at several locations at the University and the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce. The exhibition was arranged by local photographer Chip Van Gilder with assistance from Tacoma artist Jeremy Silas.

On January 28, 2006 Starr relocated the studio to San Francisco's Mission District.

The 2006 Tacoma exhibition was followed by multiple exhibitions in Napa Valley, California at 11 wineries and a New York exhibition at Manhattan's Agora Gallery that opened on February 24, 2006 titled “Lyrical Abstraction” which featured 10 large scale pieces of Sean's work.

On February 3, 2007 Starr's solo exhibition titled “Morrissey Ruined My Life” at Workspace Limited Gallery opened with dozens of Starr's pieces on display and a large scale piece Starr executed live during the opening to the music of Morrissey and The Smiths. San Francisco Magazine named it #4 in their list of “Top 10 Things To Do In February” of 2007.

Painting at Zahtila Vineyards

Painting at Zahtila Vineyards

The Napa Series

In the first half of 2006, Starr was invited to paint on location at 11 of Napa Valley's finest wineries with an exhibition opening on June 4, 2006, downtown Napa at Rocca Family Vineyard's tasting room.

The "Napa Series" Wineries:

Frank Family Vineyards
Dominari Vineyards
Casa Nuestra Vineyards
Rocca Family Vineyards
Peju Province
Zahtila Vineyards
V. Sattui Winery
Markham Vineyards
Pine Ridge Winery
Corison Winery
Grgich Hills Estate

Published Works

Entertainment Weekly

In late 2007, the book You, Me and Morrissey co-authored by Sean Starr and writer Colin Nasseri was released by Subculture Books and was selected as an Official Entrant for the Pulitzer Prize in Letters in 2008. On June 8, 2007 Starr and Nasseri were invited as guests to Morrissey's Hollywood Bowl concert in Los Angeles, California where they presented a copy of the book to Morrissey who placed it on display during the show.

In late 2008, Subculture Books released Starr's second book titled The Artist's Tao and teamed him up with Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hutz to create the cover artwork for the release of the classic Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogol.

Sign Painting

“...hand lettered signs represent a language that has crossed over into the world of fine art.” 
Juxtapoz Magazine

Starr Studios' offerings of graphic design, sign painting and pinstriping work from the San Francisco studio led to working with a wide variety of companies and celebrity clients across California as well as exhibitions.

On January 12, 2012 San Francisco's Guerrero Gallery featured Starr's work in the group exhibition titled An American Language.

Starr's work continues to be exhibited at galleries including the Phsh Tank exhibition on April 20, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Matthew Hoffman's You Are Beautiful exhibition in Chicago, Illinois which opened on October 25, 2013. Starr's work was also included in Marcas Gallery's “Sign Painters” exhibition which opened in Santa Ana, California on December 6, 2014.

“Sign Painters” Book & Film

"A lovely paean to a vanishing art... Ms. Levine and Mr. Macon have hopscotched the country, interviewing many of the best remaining old-school sign painters and printing their best work... This book, with an introduction by the artist Ed Ruscha, is a funky and necessary work of preservation."
New York Times

Starr was one of the featured artists in the book and film Sign Painters by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon with a forward by artist Ed Ruscha. The book was released by Princeton Architectural Press in October of 2012.

The film of the same name had its debut screening on March 30, 2013 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, for which Starr created a vintage style, painted cloth banner to promote the film that was on display.

The film was released on DVD in January 2015 by Bond/360 films.

The Cranberries Ghost Sign Project, Limerick Ireland

“A Renowned American sign painter is to come to Limerick in September to work on a public artwork that draws on the music of The Cranberries.” 
Limerick Leader

In September 2015, Sean and Kayleigh Starr were invited by the City of Limerick, Ireland to participate in the Elemental Arts Festival and to design and execute a large scale, original "ghost sign" project in association with the band The Cranberries which is on display in Limerick's City Center on the Brown-Thomas building. Starr also had work on display in Elemental Art's & Culture Exhibition tiled Love Letters from Limerick curated by Tom Collins, which opened on September 18, 2015 at the Limerick School for Arts & Design's FabLab Gallery.

Tom Collins and Sean Starr, co-hosts of “Coffee With a Sign Painter”

Tom Collins and Sean Starr, co-hosts of “Coffee With a Sign Painter”


In January of 2015 Starr launched the show Coffee With a Sign Painter which is a podcast that consists of interviews with other sign painters and some of the customers Starr comes across while operating his studio. The podcast was listed in the Top 10 in iTunes several times during 2015, with over 40,000 listeners in 85 countries.  In April 2016 Irish sign painter Tom Collins joined as co-host. Sean and Tom perform the show from their respective studios in Denton, Texas and Limerick, Ireland. Some of the notable guests on the show are the members of the Irish band The Cranberries, The Toadies' Clark Vogeler, film director Sam Macon and Los Angeles Graphic Designer Mathew Foster.

Indian Motorcycle's Black Hills Beast

In July of 2015 Starr was commissioned by Indian Motorcycles to design and execute the paintwork on a 2015 Indian Scout motorcycle to pay tribute to Indian's history in hillclimb motorcycle racing. The bike was built by and made its debut at the 75th Anniversary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota on August 3, 2015 with an attendance that exceeded 1,000,000.

Toadies Heretics Album Cover

Starr's work graces the cover of the band The Toadies album Heretics which was released on September 18, 2015. The design was also incorporated into several pieces of apparel including t-shirts and belt buckles. The piece was commissioned by the band for the front cover art and executed on glass and features verre eglomise reverse glass gilding.

The “Sign Painter's Hot Rod”

In October of 2015 Rebel Rouser Hot Rods of Dallas, Texas began work building a shop truck to celebrate Starr's 25th year as a sign painter and pinstriper. The 1938 Chevrolet pickup truck was unveiled in May 1, 2016 at the Texas Truck Yard in Dallas, Texas at an event hosted by Lone Star Beer.

The project was co-sponsored by Lone Star Beer, 1 Shot Lettering Enamels, A.S. Handover London, Indian Motorcycles, Pinstriping & Kustom Graphics Magazine, SignCraft Magazine, Towel City Racing Tires, Full City Rooster Coffee Roasters, and Elfwerks.

Sean Starr speaking at the Limerick School of Art & Design, Limerick, Ireland.

Sean Starr speaking at the Limerick School of Art & Design, Limerick, Ireland.

Speaking Engagements

  • November, 2005: "Meet the Artist" and Studio Tour Tacoma Chamber of Commerce, Tacoma, Washington
  • February 24, 2006: "Lyrical Abstraction" Exhibit Agora Gallery New York, New York
  • November 9, 2012: "Lecture and Workshop" Texas Women's University, Denton, Texas
  • September 15, 2015: "Lecture and Workshop" Limerick School for Arts & Design, Limerick, Ireland
  • May 24, 2016: "AIGA Fresh Meet Series" AIGA Dallas, Dallas, Texas
  • August 5-7, 2016: "WMC7 Guest Speaker" Weapons of Mass Creation 7, Cleveland, Ohio
  • September 22, 2017- January 14, 2018 “For Hire: Contemporary Sign Painting in America” Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, Texas

January 12, 2012: “An American Language” Guerrero Gallery San Francisco, California

January 12, 2012: “An American Language” Guerrero Gallery San Francisco, California


"Perhaps the most interesting way to consider the exhibition, though, is as a type of thought exercise… the self-consciously almost-retro Sean Starr’s How Soon is Now?, 2012 and a second panel with a lyric from that song by The Smiths."
Artforum Magazine April 2012


  • January 21, 2006: "What You Think, You Become" University of Washington, Tacoma, Washington
  • February 24 - March 18, 2006: "Lyrical Abstraction" Agora Gallery New York, New York
  • March 18, 2006: "The Napa Series" Frank Family Vineyards Calistoga, California
  • March 25, 2006: "The Napa Series" Dominari Vineyards Napa, California
  • April 1, 2006: "The Napa Series" Casa Nuestra Vineyards St. Helena, California
  • April 8, 2006: "The Napa Series" Rocca Family Vineyards Napa, California
  • April 15, 2006: "The Napa Series" Peju Province Rutherford, California
  • April 22, 2006: "The Napa Series" Zahtila Vineyards Calistoga, California
  • April 29, 2006: "The Napa Series" V. Sattui Winery St. Helena, California
  • May 6, 2006: "The Napa Series" Markham Vineyards St. Helena, California
  • May 13, 2006: "The Napa Series" Pine Ridge Winery Napa, California
  • May 20, 2006: "The Napa Series" Corison Winery St. Helena, California
  • May 27, 2006: "The Napa Series" Grgich Hills Estate St. Helena, California
  • January 12, 2012: "An American Language" Guerrero Gallery San Francisco, California
  • April 20, 2013: "Sign Writers" Phsh Tank Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • October 25, 2013: "Matthew Hoffman's You Are Beautiful" Gallerie F Gallery Chicago, Illinois
  • December 6, 2014: "Sign Painters" Marcas Gallery Santa Ana, California
  • September 18, 2015: "Love Letters from Limerick" Limerick School for Arts & Design’s FabLab Gallery Limerick, Ireland
  • November 21, 2015: "Cedars Open Studio Tour" Full City Rooster Dallas, Texas
  • July 30, 2016: "American Tattoo: As Ancient as Time, As Modern as Tomorrow" Museum of Street Culture/Full City Rooster Dallas, Texas
  • August 19, 2017 “REFUELED: Art. Photography. Object.” Starr Gallery, Dallas, Texas
  • September 22, 2017- January 14, 2018 “For Hire: Contemporary Sign Painting in America” Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, Texas