Walter Soza Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

Walter Soza’s studio, above the T Shop, is situated to face the Lakewood Theater. He could throw a rock from his window and just about hit the marquee. A former senior art director for an advertising agency, Soza started his own firm, Soza Designs, after his job was cut in the fifth round of layoffs in 2009. He just moved from his home office to this light-filled studio a few months ago, when he and his wife had a baby. The juxtaposition is appropriate. The theater’s tower and façade were the start of the inspiration for Soza’s line of Dallas-centric illustrations. He set up a booth at Lakewoodstock last year, and the Junius Heights Neighborhood Association commissioned him to do illustrations of that historic neighborhood. The illustrations depict the prairie and arts-and-crafts homes of Junius Heights, with Art Deco-inspired type. From there, Soza started illustrating other iconic Dallas buildings: The Granada Theater, Woodrow Wilson High School, The Adolphus Hotel, the White Rock Lake pump house and the Texas Theatre, among others. “The love of graphic design, illustrations and architecture all come together,” he says. He prints the designs on posters, cards and magnets. Most items range from $4-$25, and framed prints can cost $175-$450. Soza also designed an “East Dallas Original” logo, which he prints on T-shirts and baby onesies. All of that is a side project to his real job, freelancing for ad agencies. He still enters craft shows, although not as many since the new baby. He welcomes buyers to visit his studio, although he’s not always there. Next time you’re in the T Shop, check and see.

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Find Soza’s depicitions of the Lakewood Theater and other neighborhood icons at


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