Indie Anna Jones: If You Can't Find a Job, Make Your Own

A conversation with Dumb Eyes' managing director, Michael Ellsworth.

Indie Anna: Tell the folks who you are and what Dumb Eyes is?

Michael Ellsworth: We've become a creative innovation agency. We started out as a print company and now we've moved on to strategic marketing, a magazine, we do visuals for bands, event promotion, we've put out singles by Shabazz Palaces and Dro Carey, produced music videos, curate video-game soundtracks, recently worked on a project at SAM in conjunction with the Nick Cave exhibit, and we do a club night, plus tons of other things.

And the name Dumb Eyes?

My wife has an acerbic wit and I have really terrible vision, almost completely colorblind, so she often refers to my "dumb eyes" and it stuck.

You're based on Capitol Hill and have worked on so many amazing things locally, yet your magazine, I Want You—which is a virutally text-free art pub—seems to be flying under the radar here?

We have more subscribers in Berlin or Buenos Aires than we do in Seattle. I had a 48-hour layover in Tokyo and found a free magazine shop there. Where else but Tokyo do you find a free magazine shop? We put a few copies out, and ended up having them ask us for 500 more, which was flattering, but we couldn't do it. We only print 1000 copies of each issue.

What are you into musically right now?

We recently had a project that entailed video-game soundtracks, so I'm really into old game soundtracks and have actually been falling asleep listening to them. I don't recommend it. They'll haunt your dreams.

What's clogging up your DVR right now?

I'm way into television, I don't know where to start. Everything HBO—lots of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Archer, and its predecessor, Frisky Dingo. I also just got a Wii and I'm obsessed with finding old games, like Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, that have been reissued in that format.

I'm honored you'll be the first guy asked this question: Tell me about your personal style?

[Record producer] Erik Blood calls my current look "Safari P.I." I change it up every season. For fall, I'll be leaning less Safari, more P.I.

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