Steve Brooks Collection, 1970-2019Add to your cart.

By A. Montgomery

Collection Overview

Title: Steve Brooks Collection, 1970-2019Add to your cart.
Predominant Dates: 1970-1984
ID: 02/19/ AR0926
Extent: 24.0 Boxes
Arrangement: The Steve Brooks collection is arranged into 4 series at box level. Items have been placed in folders and arranged in chronological order.
Date Acquired: 05/02/2019. More info below under Accruals.
Languages: English


A collection of handbills, concert posters, t-shirts, publications, and original artworks created by graphic designer Steve Brooks from the 1970s to 2000s.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection documents the career of graphic designer and artist Steve Brooks from the 1970s to the 2000s. The collection includes concert posters, handbills, original artwork, hand cut film for illustrations, color illustrations, pen and ink illustrations, and sketchbook drawings for bands such as Alice Cooper, Chicago, Ten Years After, The Doors, Three Dog Night, Neil Diamond, Melanie, The Beach Boys, ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, B.B King, David Cassidy, Led Zeppelin, Sly and the Family Stone, Elton John and many more.

The collection includes an extensive range of items produced for Willie Nelson (one of his primary clients) including t-shirts, promotional materials, newspapers, magazines, concert posters, handbills, original artworks created for Nelson's tours, as well as promotional materials for the movie Honeysuckle Rose (also known by the title On the Road Again) which starred Willie Nelson, Dyan Cannon and Slim Pickens. The collection also includes original artwork and designs in several media for “Air Willie," “Willie Nelson and Family Tennis Shoe Tour," “Garland’s Day” (including Slim Pickens drawings) and Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic events. The collection also includes original sketches and materials relating to the two tipis designed for Willie Nelson, production notes and the script for “The Man Who Owed Everyone."

The collection includes booklets, magazines known as "Buddy - The Original Texas Music Magazine," "Hooka" and "Iconoclast." Newspapers with articles about Steve Brooks and his 2009 exhibit of concert posters and handbills are also included with these materials.

T-shirts, original artwork, layouts and calendars from Steve Brooks' work with the Gas Pipe business in Dallas is included in Series 4 of this collection. Early sketches of Mr. Gas Pipe from the 1970s along with illustrations up to the present day reflect the company's unique history, marketing and perspectives.

Collection Historical Note

Artist Steve Brooks was born in 1949 in Dallas, Texas where he attended Sunset High School, graduating with the class of 1967. He attended North Texas State University from 1969 to 1971, where he studied advertising art and learned skills such as hand lettering and color separation technique. He taught himself to work in pencil, pen and ink and watercolor. In the late 1960s, Brooks contributed to the Dallas underground magazine Iconoclast, and in 1970 was commissioned to create a poster relating to the “Lee Park Massacre," a riot which had taken place at an outdoor gathering at Lee Park in Dallas on April 12 of that year. This poster came to the attention of a local concert promoter, Treehouse productions, and Brooks was “discovered." He was asked to create a poster for Delaney/Bonnie & Friends, which gave Brooks the opening to a career in concert promotion designs from the 1970s to the 1980s for artists such as Eric Clapton, The Eagles, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Leon Russell, Elton John and Willie Nelson.

In November of 1973, Brooks created his first work for Willie Nelson, a poster for the Abbott (Texas) Homecoming, where Nelson and others performed a 12 hour stage show for the 375 residents of Nelson’s home town along with their thousands of guests. After this, Brooks became Nelson’s go-to artist throughout the 1970s and 1980s, designing concert posters, exclusive band T-shirts and personal logos. In 1979 he designed and painted two teepees for Nelson and several examples of Brooks’ art appear throughout the movie Honeysuckle Rose.

Brooks was also a senior editor for Buddy magazine during this same time period and was recognized as the “Texas T-shirt Czar” for his extensive output of T-shirt designs. While primarily doing work for Nelson, Brooks continued to create for other performers, including Ray Price, Gary Stewart, Ray Wylie Hubbard and others. He still continues to create for The Gas Pipe Smoke Shops and other favorite clients.

Biography for Series 4 - The Gas Pipe Smoke Shops - Jerry Shults

Jerry Shults was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. After attending college for a short while, he served a voluntary tour in Vietnam as a sergeant with the First Air Cavalry, receiving the Bronze Star for valor and the Army Accommodation Medal for his support of the Army Air Cavalry.  Shortly after returning to the US, he moved to Dallas where he began selling novelty and smoking related items. On June 20, 1970, he opened a “head shop” called “The Gas Pipe” on Maple Avenue in Dallas with money he had saved during his time serving in Vietnam. The single branch grew to include 14 locations across Texas and New Mexico at its height. As of 2020, after 50 years of business, branches are still open in Dallas and Austin. In addition to The Gas Pipe, Shults has also become a successful owner of real estate and other businesses. He purchased and saved the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth from demolition, restoring the facility so that it was placed on the National Historic Registry.

In addition to being the founder and proprietor of the Gas Pipe, Schults is also the caricature drawn by Steve Brooks which became the face of the Gas Pipe shops. The character was originally known as Johnny Potseed, and by the 1980s was known as Mr. Gas Pipe. The caricature became of feature of the shop’s advertising and publications.

Access Information

Access Restrictions:

This collection is not restricted

Use Restrictions:

Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Special Collections department. Copyright restrictions may apply.

Physical Access Note:

This collection is stored off-site and requires a minimum of 24 hours notice prior to use.

Reading Room or Duplication Requests

Depending on any access restrictions noted above, you may be able to request items be delivered to our reading room, or that we make reproductions for you. Just click on either the or icons in the listings below to be routed to our request form.

Administrative Information

Repository: University of North Texas Special Collections
Accruals: 2019-11
Acquisition Source: Steve Brooks
Preferred Citation: Steve Brooks Collection, University of North Texas Special Collections


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