Madame Matisse is my favorite breakfast nook. it is a tiny wedge-shaped restaurant on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Maltman Avenue in Los Angeles, California. whenever i go there, i want my sketchbook but, when i bring my sketchbook, i am distracted by pancakes. they are the best pancakes ever in my opinion.

one morning at Madame Matisse, i looked over my girlfriend's shoulder and saw a big sticker in the "free" basket on the windowsill. it was a cartoon skull on a turquoise background. each yellow tooth was a letter. on our way back to the car, i asked my girlfriend if she liked the Shins. she'd mentioned the band several times in one week. so, of course, i knew the answer. yes, she said. i presented the sticker with a little "ta-da!" where did you get this?! she asked. she hung it up over the art supplies in her room. the teeth spell "The Shins" in letters identical the ones used in this illustration.

a few weeks later, the art director of Measure Magazine asked if i would draw several musicians for the first issue of their magazine. i chose the Shins -among others- because of that sticker, my girlfriend's affection for the band, and their album covers which are beautiful, playful, and cartoony.

© 2004 rama hughes