Interview with Todd Purse, Delaware Artist

Interview by: Yarissa Luna


What is your name and where are you located? 

Todd Purse / Wilmington, Delaware


What are your pronouns? 

He / Him


Your work for Brandywine Coffee Roasters is instantly recognizable (and, honestly, iconic). How did that connection come to be? 

First off, that is too kind of you, thank you so much! The opportunity came up through my partner at the time, Ally (we are now married), who was working at Brew Haha in the administrative office. The owner, Alisa Morkidas, decided to take on roasting Brew Haha’s coffee in-house and was working on this project with Ally. I pitched them the idea of unique illustrations for each bag to represent how special each coffee is, as well as screen printing all the bags in house. They loved the idea and it just grew from there. One of those things that seems like it was meant to happen and I’m so grateful for.

When and how did you learn to screenprint? 

Before Brandywine, I was working as a freelance Illustrator and to fill the work gaps I would help my good friend JP Flexnier (one of the most talented illustrators and printers working right now) print gig posters in his basement. He taught me everything I know, from building a press to the entire pre-printing and printing process. It was one of the most useful and inspiring times, looking back on it. JP was the first fully self-employed artist who helped me along greatly. He taught me a lot of the business side of things, as well as printing and illustration techniques. 


There’s a lot of space and alien imagery in your artwork. What are some of your other influences, direct and indirect? 

Ohhh, this is always such a great/hard question haha. The main thing that directly influences my drawings is whatever Teddy (my 4-year-old) is into. I refer to him as my favorite art director and that’s not far from the truth. Watching him get enamored with a new subject is like a cheat code to that natural wonder we can tend to lose as adults, so I really try to embrace that as much as possible. Other than that, I love the paranormal and weird side of folklore. The High Strangeness that helps ya look at the world in a different and slightly more wondrous way.

Do you ever use photo references for your illustrations? 

Totally. Mainly on projects for clients or things that need a little more grounding in reality. For most of my daily drawings I just go for it, though.


Are there any dream artists, brands, or publications you would like to work with? 

There are too many artists to list. I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with a few of my favorites over the last year and have a few in the works I can’t wait to share! Brands I don’t think about too often, but would love to do some retail weed packaging.

What is your favorite medium to use, and which do you use most often? 

My favorite is still pen and ink, specifically a brush pen on Denril Vellum. But at this point Procreate/digital is my most used medium. I have a 4 -year-old and 5-month-old at home, so being able to run around the house and still work on things is crucial right now. I love how I still hand-pencil everything and then continue my normal process with the iPad instead of the Denril and brush pen… it’s been a game-changer for sure!

Has the local art community impacted you personally? If so, how? 

Greatly! To say the local music/art community has shaped the world I live in would be an understatement. Besides supporting me in my creative projects from a young age, it’s how I’ve met almost all of my current friends, not to mention my wife, Ally, who I’ve been so lucky to start a family with.


Do you have any releases or events coming up in the future? 

I’m always putting new stuff up on the shop, but mainly I’ve been working on pieces for the upcoming Summer Exhibition on Saturday July 24th! Gonna have wood cuts, screen prints, paintings, and buncha other goodies.