Category Archives: interviews

We talk to artists, store owners, and movers & shakers in the tee-world.

Interview with Local Advancer’s Peter Takis

The biggest setback that people take before starting a business, is taking the first step and just doing it. They want to, but they make up excuses in their mind… “I have a full time job,” “I don’t have the time with having to watch my kids,” I’m too old,” or “I’m too young.” Let be the one to tell you, no, you’re not too young. If you don’t want to listen to me, then listen to Peter Takis. He started his brand, Local Advancers, when he was 15. Now at 16, he’s doing great. I really liked that fact that he knows that he is NOT too young to do anything and doesn’t listen to people who tell him he is. I had to ask for an interview to get a little more information from and how he does it.

 

PCT: K, you knew this was coming… how old were you when you first realized you wanted to get into business and start Local Advancers?

PT: Probably 10 [laughs] – back then it was just starting a brand. I started working on L.A. when I was 14.

PCT: and you released when you were 15?

PT: Yep. I’m now 16.

PCT: What happened or what did you see that made you want to do this? Was it one of your parents or family members that inspired you? When I was 10 I was playing Ocarina of Time on N64 all day only thinking about how to get to the next level [laughs].

PT: Ive always dug streetwear- I used to spend ALL my bday and chirstmas money at this one shop that carried The Hundreds, Stussy, HUG, and Obey … that shop just ordered 30 pieces. And both of my parents work regualr 9-5 and have never ran a biz. I learned everything from the ground up, they were more ignorant on biz than myself at age 10 [laughs].

PCT: That’s awesome. I didn’t give a damn about clothes at that age [laughs]. Has anyone helped you along the way? Any mentors?

PT: Brandon Herbel of Make Believe – Kyle Crawford of EZ [Electric Zombie] and Rob Dobi of Full Bleed have perosnlly reached out to me.

PCT: Nice! I’ve done a little work on Make Believe, Electric Zombie, but not yet Full Bleed. I gotta check them out.

PT: Ya man you should

PCT: So you are the founder and creator of Local Advancers… What else does Peter Takis do?

PT: Yep I own and do EVERTHING with L.A, but I also own AmbitiousYouth.com, a blog for young people trying to do big things. I also have a book dropping in the next month entited “Ambitious Youth: 4 Laws To Doing Big Things At A Young Age”. Should be avlaible in iBooks for April or so.

PCT: That is a lot of food on the table! Very inspiring… Do you do your own designs as well?

PT: No sir! I’m LAME at photshop, I hire designers like Brandon from MB [Make Believe] and David Smith. Those guys are the heart of L.A

PCT: I feel you on that. I suck at photoshop and illustrator, but I’m not too bad with a real paint brush! [laughs]. Tell me more about Ambitiousyouth.com. Why did you start it?

PT: I basicaly used to write articles on PETERTAKIS.com for my supporters, but that blew up and recieved hundreds (some days a thousand) hits per day. So I just said it’s time to make some profit off my words, so I launched a more marketable blog, thats still extremly helpful but know has ads. Those ads sold out for months just an hour after after posting 1 single tweet about em.

PCT: That’s pretty amazing for just starting out! So a lot of people (old enough to work) have shitty jobs they go to just to listen to someone else telling them what to do. They have no freedom to work when, where, and how hard they want. And they work to help someone else make money. Starting a blog is not hard to do at all. To post interesting articles that people want to read and get advertisers is another thing. But if one were successful at this, such as you, how much can one expect to make?

PT: If your passionate about starting a blog, you have a niche and write daily posts, the sky is the limit for profit. $200 extra income per month is compeltely possible.

PCT: There are so many possibilities that we can do and make money from home instead of going to jobs we hate and spending most of our time doing nothing for ourselves. A clothing company is also completely possible. Besides your website, the book you are writing and Local Advancers, do you have a regular job?

PT: Yep, I work at Sport Check part time. I love fitness and that job offers a bit of extra money.

PCT: It sounds like things are picking up with Local Advancers. Do you plan to quit Sport Check soon?

PT: Nah. I like it there. Fitness inspires me and I love helping unhealthy people pick up new shoes or golf clubs to get them active!

PCT: It sounds like you to help and educate people.

PT: Ya its rad to get people motivated and ready to “just do it”. Or better yet “always advance”.

PCT: [laughs] Exactly. You wouldn’t believe how similar we are [laughs]. For people who are thinking of starting a clothing brand, would you recommend it?

PT: Yep! Whatever your passionate about you should go get. I dont care what, if thats what you’re here to do… GO DO IT! I wish passionate teens luck in this biz. I WANT there to be brands to compete with mine. There is plenty of room at the top and I’m ready to share it with motivated teens!

PCT: That’s really cool. Competition is always beneficial. What are your plans for your future? Are you going to go to College? What are you going to study?

PT: Yep I’ll be studing biz, duh [laughs]. I actually am hoping to study at UCLA and get out of the cold up here in Canada

PCT: UCLA would be great. That’s about 30 minutes from me. I’m studying Finance and Real Estate at California State University Fullerton. Its a very highly rated business school in the United States. Its definitely worth a look over if you’re thinking about coming down here to study business! So with the all the projects and businesses you have your hands in, do you still find time to party [laughs]?

PT: Ya I do. Every weekend I chill with the homies. Go to parties and be a teen. Just Mon-Fri is stircktly biz time. I go hard on Saturday [laughs].

PCT: [laughs] Nice nice. A balance between work and personal life is extremely important to one’s success and happiness. Any last words or shout outs?

PT: No man, thats it! New LocalAdvancers.com drops in a month , book drops in a month. That’s it!

 

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Interview with Matt from Seventh.Ink

PCT: Let’s start from the beginning then. When and how did you get started with Seventh.Ink?

MJ: Around four years ago I was working a bit with a screen printer whom I had interned with and started getting interested in working on my own line. Didn’t take long for me to put it together and eventually I started selling the designs in art shows and online. So, Seventh.Ink celebrated its third anniversary in October 2010.

PCT: Congratulations! During the first year or so, what would you say was the hardest obstacle to overcome in getting your brand officially ready for sale?

MJ: Getting the website together. I’m a graphic designer/developer so I had done plenty of websites before, but this was my first shopping cart experience. I used Zen Cart because it was free and since my knowledge of PHP at the time was pretty limited it took a pretty long time to get things working the way I wanted. After two years I switched over to LemonStand and became the first online store to utilize their cart system. I’ll never switch, LemonStand is everything I could have ever hoped for in a cart.

PCT: That’s some great information. I’ve never heard of LemonStand before. Gotta check that out. A lot of our readers have their own T-shirt/clothing brand or thinking of starting their own some day. How many different products did you offer on launch day?

MJ: I started with about 6 different designs and grew very slowly from there. I think in the first year I only launched one or two new designs. It wasn’t until I started launching more designs that I started to see an increase in business, so my advice to those new companies is to try and release a few different lines a year to keep things fresh. I’ve recently switched to quarterly releases with a few random pop-ups here and there, and I’ve seen a good response from fans.

PCT: Working for a screen printer and being a website creator seems like envious traits that many might not have when starting out. Did it seem like the right thing to do at the time? Or were you also dealing with a fear of failure?

MJ: Definitely seemed like the right move to make, I had the opportunity and am glad I took advantage of it.

PCT: How long did it take from the moment that you first thought “I should start my own line” to actually doing it?

MJ: It was about a month or two to get the line together and a quick mini site, but if I include the full Zen cart site I’d say it was closer to 6 months. If I did it now I would be up and running in a month with everything set up.

PCT: That’s pretty quick. I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge procrastinator… its something I’m working on [laughs]. Do you do Seventh.Ink full time?

MJ: It definitely does take dedication. I don’t do Seventh.Ink full time, I actually spend most of my day working as a graphic designer under the guise of Seventhfury Studios. I do pretty much everything from logos to illustrations to websites, etc. So, having Seventh.Ink as a part time venture definitely fills my time and has been challenging. I’ve just recently gotten to a place where I feel like I can spend a little less time on it in the evenings and just roll out new designs when I’m ready. Most of the time in the last year was spent refining the website but now that it’s looking good in my eyes I’m ready to let it go and see what happens. Being a designer, that’s pretty hard to do [laughs].

PCT: [laughs] I know exactly what you mean. Is Seventhfury Studios your own design business, too?

MJ: Yep, it is! I came up with Seventhfury Studios in college and began freelancing under that name. That’s also where Seventh.Ink comes from, for a while it was a part of Seventhfury but now it’s grown into its own identity.

PCT: That’s really cool. I can’t wait to take my talents and use them to work for myself rather than my 9-5 bank job. What do you like to do when you’re not designing and putting effort into your businesses?

MJ: [laughs] I like to do Seventh.Ink! Beyond that though I do have a life. I’ve got a wife and a little girl who’s turning one in April so I spend my time with them. I love movies and have as of late become very obsessed with Call of Duty: Black Ops.

PCT: Me too! I love Black Ops [laughs]. It has definitely been keeping me up late at night [laughs]. I know you just released some new designs, but when can we expect the next release?

MJ: I hear that! I’ve lost sleep since I got that game. I did just release the Spring Line, but I’m already working on the Summer Line, which I expect to be out in May or June. The best bet for being among the first to know when the new shirts are out is to sign up for the newsletter through the site.

PCT: Oh nice! I’m looking at them now. Awesome stuff, Matt. And readers, you can sign up for that newsletter on www.seventhink.com to be the first to know when the next new line drops. What one piece of advice can you give T-shirt/clothing brand owners or potential owners that you wish you had when you were starting out?

MJ: Thanks Reggie! My advice would be to find out where you want your brand to go and keep it unified. If you create your designs with a brand direction in mind, you’re much more likely to succeed.

PCT: Well thank you Matt for your time out of your busy schedule (black ops counts) and being one of PCT’s great sponsors! Any last shout outs?

MJ: Thanks for having me! I’d like to give a shout out to all of the fans out there that support indie brands. We wouldn’t be anywhere without you!

Visit Seventh.Ink’s website here and see what Matt has got to offer!

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The Guy Vernes interview – Twelve questions, one great brand

Today’s feature is an interview with the driving force behind GuyVernes.com.

Before you start reading this article, I’d like for you to check out this link to the GuyVernes website. It will open up in a new window, so you won’t lose your place here. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

*tap* *tap* *tap*

What did you think? When I first saw the site, I was mesmerized. First by the music, then the photography, and let’s not exclude the shirts. I was compelled to know more about the Guy Vernes brand, so I asked if I could get an answer to a few questions and here is what came back:

PCT: What’s outside your window right now?

The remnants of an old glue factory on a pastel background of a grayish Dutch winter.

PCT: Tell us about Guy Vernes, the name, the brand, the vision.

Guy Vernes is a men’s apparel brand established in 2006 in the Netherlands, and is re-launched online in 2010 for a worldwide audience (www.guyvernes.com). The brand offers a range of authentic tees, which are designed, produced and finished to fit the boys of today.

To me, the brand is a platform for a consistent creative delivery; a label driven by an unlimited passion for creation, hard work and an overall love for life. My aim is to make the name “Guy Vernes” a synonym for excellence and originality. I have a small piece of paper fixed on my wall that sums it all up. If you get it, then you get it all. It says:

Guy Vernes is: intangible + intangible + intangible = tangible (t-shirt)

The name is my pseudonym, but over the years it has evolved to a stand-alone denomination for much more, symbolizing everything the brand stands for. My passport reads “Bilal Al Mashta”.

PCT: What does it mean to wear a Guy Vernes shirt?

I’d like to think that Guy Vernes is the documentation of the post-adolescent men of today; men from different backgrounds, with different skills and occupations: focused, skilled, dedicated and pleasured. Guys who stand firmly in this generation, yet live by their own conceptions and through their own obstinate ways. I guess that wearing a Guy Vernes tee simply means boyish awesomeness.

PCT: Before there was Guy Vernes, the clothing line, what were you doing?

Guy Vernes started when I was in law school. So before the brand’s re-launch in 2010, I was an aspiring lawyer.

PCT: How did you get started as a clothing artist/designer?

I don’t consider myself an artist or a designer. I’d like to think of myself as a creator. If there is one thing that I learned about myself during the last couple of years, is that I am on this planet to create.

When I entered law school, I had to find ways to compensate for the rigidity of legislature and jurisprudence. On a hunch overnight, I decided that I was going to unleash my creative hunger on something as personal as a t-shirt.

PCT: Where are you located and how has that influenced your design style?

My office is located in my beautiful hometown of Delft: the city where kings are murdered, history is written and prostitution is illegal as an exception. Yet none of these fabulous events has had any influence yet design-wise.

Dutch design however is renowned throughout the world. I see incredible artists around me emerging on a daily basis. It keeps me on the edge, in the zone. I guess we’re not just breeding K1 champions and tulips over here…

PCT: Walk us through a day in your life. How do you get things done?

I spend most of my time in “The Mansion”; a 4 by 3 meters room on what used to be an old glue factory on the outskirts of town. Every day is different. I could be guiding people through the web shop by Skype, making phone calls or just watering “Boerboom”: my incredible bamboo-like tree. Throughout the day, people come in and out of the Mansion; some to have lunch on my infinite supply of instant noodles, others to get a hair-cut (it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true), but most of them come to contribute. The Mansion also serves as a local shop where people from around the city come for an expert opinion and a shopping spree over a bar of chocolate and Brazilian coffee. It’s a small, but incredible place.

PCT: What would you like to revolutionize?

That’s a big question. I know I want to change things, to do things differently; sometimes through a stubborn vision, sometimes by mere ignorance. But I’m afraid that speaking of revolutions at this stage would be marginal to say the least.

PCT: Tell us about some of the successes you have enjoyed and some of the challenges you have faced with your line.

Right now, the biggest achievement for me is that we’re telling our story, in all honesty, and that people from around the world are feeling it and showing us love for it. It might sound as a small achievement, but in these times, with thousands of lines out there, one of the most important things to me is to get a face in this industry. You make choices everyday but you never know how things will develop. The fact that we’re not forcing a lifestyle, that we’re not constructing anything superfluous, but simply defining a shared momentum and that the message is getting across, is simply amazing. I don’t consider Guy Vernes a movement, but it somehow sparks off an unconditional love with everyone who experiences it. It’s something to be proud of and to cherish and the brand rests humbly and gratefully on the shoulders of these people.

Strangely, the biggest challenges so far were in the very beginning, when I was trying to get the exact product that I wanted with the quality and craftsmanship demanded and expected from a Guy Vernes tee. I never expected that aspect to be that troublesome, especially since we’re not mass-producing in the Far East, but working on small quantities with local ateliers and suppliers. From practical issues to legal problems, the road has been long in trying to create wardrobe favorites.

PCT: What other Tee or non-tee brands are you into right now?

I love the works of our own Piet Parra for Rockwell Clothing. His work is a tremendous example in consistency and brand recognition. I also admire Nigo and what he has established with the Bathing Ape franchise. Although it’s a different branch, I’ve always had great respect and appreciation for Hermès. In a time where a lot of luxurious brands fail to remain exclusive, Hermès shows a phenomenal display in keeping its authenticity. Overall, I love brands that stay true to their origins and that are successful by simply being undeniably good.

PCT: Your website is great. Who’s vision was it and who took the pictures?

Thank you. All credits for the website go to best friend and super designer Niek Dekker. A true visionary, a perfectionist and an incredible go-getter, Niek not only made guyvernes.com an award-winning website, but goes on to be one of the most important people for the brand.

The pictures are the work of another lifelong friend and inspiration named Andrew Howard Wayne. He’s a phenomenal conceptual thinker and a designer who can do anything.

The picture with the girls in the backyard is taken by another friend called Ivar Teunissen. You should check out his work, it’s amazing.

PCT: What are your hopes for the future?

I hope that we can continue doing what we’re doing, that more people join our circle and that more incredible stuff can roll out of The Mansion. Living in these times and in this country is a privilege I’m thankful for and I hope that I can continue on supplying the people with a consistent delivery of pure awe.

Thank you Popculturetees for this interview and for giving us the chance to say all this.

###

Closing thoughts

The Guy Vernes brand is designed around the idea of letting a guy be a guy and the website is like a user’s manual. The images are merely suggestions, but the uniform is mandatory. While there is no guarantee that you will have the same experiences as the subjects in the picture, you will definitely have the same sense of style.

It all begins with a visit to GuyVernes.com

Also mentioned in this article:
http://www.guyvernes.com
http://www.delft.nl/webEN
http://www.rockwellclothing.com
http://nigobape.com
http://us.bape.com
http://www.hermes.com
http://www.niekdekker.com
http://www.darticle.com
http://www.iamivar.nl

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If you would like your site or shirt featured on PopCultureTees.com, send us an email and let us know.

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Make room for a new kind of design competition at Voteforart.com

I saw this alert for a new contest site called Voteforart.com and was intrigued by the concept of crowdsourcing designs for licensed Collegiate apparel. I wanted to know more, so I contacted Jeremy Parker and asked him a few questions. Here is what he sent back:

What is the concept behind Voteforart.com? How does the site work?

Voteforart.com is a new venture launched by the large apparel company MV Sport and will be the home for collegiate-licensed graphic design contests. Throughout the year, schools will hold contests for different themes, such as homecoming, start of the basketball season or a big event on campus. Artists from within the university and from around the world will submit designs and compete for a cash prize and a piece of school history. All submissions will be reviewed and approved by licensing and then posted on the site to be voted on by the Vote For Art community. The winning design will be printed on t-shirts and sold at the university bookstore. Vote For Art will give artists from all over the world the opportunity to break into an industry that before now has been impossible. It gives them an opportunity to get there work seen by thousands of people and make a substantial amount of money. We are not only helping artists get their work seen and paid for, but our goal is also to make college apparel a lot cooler.

How is your site similar/different than other shirt contest sites out there?

We are different then all of the shirt contest site that are currently out there because we allow artists to create licensed apparel. Additionally, the winning design for each contest is not only sold on our website but also at the University bookstore.

What inspired you to start the site and how did you get started?

In April of 2009 I was working on another business and we were selected to be a finalist at the University of Maryland Cupid’s Cup business competition run by Kevin Plank CEO of Under Armour. We did not win, but after the event I went to the University bookstore to by a magazine for my train ride home to NYC. At the bookstore I didn’t see any t-shirts that I liked. All of the designs were very simple and plain. I thought wouldn’t it be cool to create a site where college apparel could be crowdsourced and artists from all over the world could design what they would actually want to wear and fans and students of the university would be able to vote for their favorite designs. During the three hour train ride home I wrote up the >Vote For Art business plan.

What were some of the challenges with getting the site off the ground.

For Vote For art to work, I needed to partner up with a company that was already in the industry and held college licensing and had relationships with many college bookstores. After I returned from University of Maryland, I approached MV Sport, one of the largest marketers of collegiate apparel, with my idea and how I think we could revolutionize the collegiate apparel industry and create a new and exciting brand that would benefit the students of the university and artists from all over the world. Over the next 3 months, there were many meetings, business plan revisions, powerpoint presentations and in July I was given the go ahead.

I’m an artist. How do I participate and what do I need to know to be successful

It is very simple. Artists go to Voteforart.com and create an account. It takes literally 30 seconds and it doesn’t cost anything. Once you are signed up, you can submit to all of the contests that we have on our site. Currently there are 4 contests taking submissions including University of Maryland, Oregon State University and University of Wisconsin. In order to be successful, I would suggest first and foremost to read over the contest guidelines. Once you know all of the rules, download the school’s vector logos (we provide this) and create the most interesting and creative design. Once you have your design, place the design on a t-shirt template (we also provide this) and submit your work.

I’m a fan and an artist, can I do anything to get a contest at my favorite school?

Yes. Send us a message of what school you go to and we will try to set up a contest. Maybe you can help us out and be our contact at the University.

Looking into the future, what does it hold for Voteforart.com?

We are really focused on signing up more universities and creating a name for ourself in the industry. Since we launched in October 2009, we have signed up Purdue University, University of Maryland, Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin, Arizona State University, University of North Dakota and University of Kansas. We hope to be a site where artists can earn money and get huge exposure for their work. That is really our main focus right now.

###

Final Thoughts from PCT:

I like the concept of Voteforart. I think it’s a great opportunity to not only make money designing shirts, but to also get great crossover exposure to a huge college market. The potential alone for a shirt artist to get recognition outside the scope of the Shirt-o-Sphere makes this site worth your investigation. Check them out, and see. You might even find a team that you like.

Go Pac-10!

Recently awarded:

University of North Dakota contest at Voteforart.com

Contest now open for voting:

Arizona State University

Contests currently Accepting designs:

St. Claire CC
University of Maryland
Oregon State University
University of Wisconsin

Read about Voteforart.com in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Also mentioned in this article:

Voteforart.com
MV Sport
Under Armour

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If you would like your site or shirt featured on PopCultureTees.com, send us an email and let us know.

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12 Questions with: Jimiyo

12 questions with Jimiyo, http://www.jimiyo.com

Next in our series of interviews is Jimiyo. We wanted to know what made him tick, so we asked him a few questions. He was also nice enough to give a few video links showing the transformation from sketch to computer image and if you’re like me, you’ll be fascinated too. Now, on with the interview.

PCT: What’s outside your window right now?

Jimiyo: There is the California blue sky above the second floor of my apartment porch. The roofs are tan and scalloped, and I am above the canopy of most of the trees so I feel like Im on top of a forest. There is a hummingbird feeder, from which, tiny warriors fight to take a sip before they go frolicking in mock fights in mid air.

PCT: How did you get started in design and what inspired you to become a designer?

Jimiyo: My first job out of college was in sales. I hated it, so I continued to work on art. One day I quit the sales job, and viola, I landed my first art job where I was a Nascar t-shirt designer, then eventually the Art Director.

I would not have gotten the job unless I had been promoting my art on sites like gfxartist.com and my own portfolio website. The AD that hired me already knew of my abilities, and work ethic.

[Our Lady of Guadalupe]

cameesa_guadaloupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe – $19 + shipping at Cameesa

PCT: Are there any artists (present/historical/on or offline) that you feel had an influence on you?

Jimiyo: Troy White. http://www.twhitedesign.com/

My first contest win was Revelations at designbyhumans.com. http://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/detail/551

I had been communicating with Troy at the time. He recommended I submit to the first ever $5000 contest. Although I didn’t win the first ever prize, I did however win $3500 and it went on to be a Rockstar tee.

I also admire Hydro74. I am uncertain, but I believe that TWhite was Hydro74’s protégé at the time, and they worked closely together so Hydro74’s work was a great inspiration as well. He’s probably one of the biggest inspirations on where I want my career to gravitate.

PCT: What websites do you visit on a regular basis for design inspiration?

Jimiyo: I only use the internet at work. I cancelled it at home about 2 months ago because it seems like a total time suck.

When I did use the internet, I just looked for specific reference images for inspiration.

http://dearcomputer.nl/gir is an awesome tool for rummaging around the internets.

[Rhanga]

jimiyo_rhanga

Rhanga – $25 + shipping at Design by Humans

PCT: Where have we seen your designs(T-sites and stores)? Any memorable experiences?

Jimiyo: I designed some Sturgis tees a few months before I quit my job at the Nascar place in Tennseesee. After I quit, I went on a 30 day solo road trip around the US, and I ended up in South Dakota. I go in to the gas station, and Eureka, there’s my Sturgis tees!

Also on my road trip, in Las Vegas, I went into the Sahara, and some Nascar products I had designed were in the Nascar store.

It’s amazing the path of a product. Designed in Gallatin, Tennessee, outsourced to China, cross the sea in a boat, back to Tennessee, and then out to Las Vegas and other locations across the US.

PCT: Is there a particular methodology or process you have for creating a design? How about a walkthrough?

Jimiyo: I usually draw most of my work using a pencil on paper. I scan the image in, and digitize. Sorry I can’t oblige with a walkthrough, although, you can view some old videos on my youtube channel.

These are old SUCKY designs, but you get the workflow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTlqMBXIjPA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4oHdfzEHxE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAtG7HiVM10

PCT: All of your designs are your babies, but if you were to pick a favorite, which one would it be and why?

Jimiyo: Dead Man’s Chest. http://shirt.woot.com/Friends.aspx?k=4872

I’m kind of proud of all the different textures, and the image is almost wholly from my head (cept the birds).

[Fight the Good Fight]

jimyo_Fight-the-Good-Fight

Fight the Good Fight – $24 + shipping at Design by Humans

PCT: What do you like to do when you’re not designing?

Jimiyo: Say what? I’ve been enjoying hiking recently, but that’s only since about 3 weeks ago.

PCT: Any tips or advice for aspiring designers?

Jimiyo: It’s a number game. Make more designs, eventually you won’t be so sucky.

You don’t have to be able to draw worth diddly to be a great designer. Designing does not mean illustration, and frankly, consumers have a tendency to like design, more than illustrations if that makes any sense.

They like designs that have immediate impact. Unless you are a famous/popular artist, even a really high end illustration will get beat out by a conceptual bold graphic design, or designery eyecandy.

If you want to be an illustrator, it’s best to look outside of the apparel market if you don’t want to have your creativity unappreciated or stifled.

[Searching for Qumran]

jimiyo_Searching-for-Qumran

Searching for Qumran – $14.95 + shipping at Artcotic

PCT: We have a time machine and are going to set it to 5 years from now. What can we expect to see from you when we get there? Where do you see your design career in 5 years?

Jimiyo: I’d like to be famous. I watch Hydro74 and Missmonster bust their hump to promote their artist identity, and I want to follow in their footsteps. I’m currently taking a break from it, although being Art Director at designbyhumans.com and teefury.com helps to gain visibility, I’d like to get back to my roots and really amp my art creation in the future.

By famous, I dont mean, people loving me, idolizing me. I mean, people appreciate my art enough to pay me good money, so that I can use that money to continue my efforts without working for someone else.

Im excited about what reality might exist 5 years in the future. You never know. I plan and work for the best, and in hindsight, the world seems to bless and reward me with more than I could have ever imagined.

PCT: Any current projects you want to plug?

Jimiyo: No current projects, but when I do have projects I can share, I twitter often. http://twitter.com/jimiyo

[Revelations 2:2008]

jimiyo_Revelations-2-2008

Revelations 2:2008 – $19 + shipping at Design By Humans

PCT: How about a quick PopCultureTees doodle?

Jimiyo: Ill try to send one if I have time, but right now, I can’t promise or make one. Totally slammed this week.

###

If you would like your site or shirt featured on PopCultureTees.com, send us an email and let us know.

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12 questions with: Wotto

12 questions with.. wotto

Here at PopCultureTees.com, we appreciate good design and from time to time would like our visitors to get to know the people behind some of the nicest shirts in the tee world. Our guest this week is wotto. We asked him a few questions (12 to be exact) and here is what he had to say.

PCT: What’s outside your window right now?

Wotto: Palm trees, I am in Southern California right now and it is beautiful. It will be my new home soon.

PCT: How did you get started in design and what inspired you to become a designer?

wotto: Well I consider myself more an illustrator than a designer really. I started illustrating at University and art school. My career as an illustrator started when I left University and freelanced. I got picked up by a .com company and became their in house illustrator, I learned a huge amount from a very skilled team and made some great friends. After that I moved to London and illustrated as a freelancer which was a lot of fun. I have been freelancing ever since.I suppose I was always going to draw and drawing itself was the inspiration. Getting paid to draw is a dream come true for me.

wotto_3694949254

PCT: Are there any artists (present/historical/on or offline) that you feel had an influence on you?

wotto: Of course there are, hundreds and thousands. I am like a sponge and many artists influence me. I think all artists, designers build up a mental library of artists and images and draw on it to influence their work. Here are one or two that come to mine, Hundertwasser, Picasso, McBess, MissVan, Tamara De Lempika, Junko Mizuno…….

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PCT: What websites do you visit on a regular basis for design inspiration?

wotto: I regularly hit Threadless, Emptees and Flickr. That’s a lot of inspiration right there and also two amazing communities.

PCT: Where have we seen your designs(T-sites and stores)? Any memorable experiences?

wotto: I have seen people wearing my tees and it is always exciting and makes me blush a little. I have a few things coming up that will hopefully make it into retail stores but I can’t say much about it right now.

wotto_3558426021

PCT: Is there a particular methodology or process you have for creating a design? How about a walkthrough?

wotto: T-shirt design is about two things I think, a style that’s recognisable and an idea or concept. Sometimes I forget the concept and look at asthetic alone. All my work starts as a doodle, whether I am travelling or trying to sleep I always have to sketch the idea down. Then I usually redraw the idea, tweaking bits and bobs. Next I scan it in and work on it in illustrator, adding and chopping stuff as I go. I really like illustrator as a tool but for me it’s all about the drawing. I usually start a design and then leave it alone and revisit a day, week or month later. It’s good to look at a design with fresh eyes sometimes. I usually ask my wife what she thinks too, another set of eyes are useful.

wotto_3459841034

PCT: All of your designs are your babies, but if you were to pick a favorite, which one would it be and why?

wotto: I love the last illustration I did for about 12 hours and then I start to find fault in it. I think thats good, it keeps me pushing myself and aiming for more. One illustration I am pleased with is a design called ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ for Threadless because it’s close to the original visual I had in my head. I also like how it has many imperfections, I wanted it to be like that. Too much design is slick and in my opinion overworked.

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PCT: What do you like to do when you’re not designing?

wotto: I love movies and music. I also like to cycle at high speed down big hills and tracks. I have slacked off a lot though, maybe because I broke both my wrists when I hit a tree. Kinda put me off.

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PCT: Any tips or advice for aspiring designers?

wotto: Commit to your work, work hard, very hard. Never give up. Opportunities will not come after you, you have to work to get them.

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PCT: We have a time machine and are going to set it to 5 years from now. What can we expect to see from you when we get there? Where do you see your design career in 5 years?

wotto: Hard question. I hope to still be designing tees but also doing more painting and having shows. I was in a show recently in O.C and it was very rewarding. I hope to build on that and do more. I’d also like to push my own line a little more too. The uncertainty of what’s next is the fun bit.

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PCT: Any current projects you want to plug?

wotto: Right now I am working on the 2nd set of small paintings I am doing. I am hoping to do another 25 small paintings because the first 25 were well received. I am also working on some exciting tee designs for a range of clients. I am collaborating with a couple of artists on projects but again I can’t say much about that right now. Sorry.

You can also find out more by visting these wotto Links:

wotto website – http://www.wotto.co.uk/
wotto tees – http://wottotees.blogspot.com/
wotto shop – http://wotto.bigcartel.com/

Thanks for the interview, wotto

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RikkiB

Andy from Thunderfrogs recently interviewed Australian designer RikkiB for us. Rikki’s work is typified by this awesome t-shirt; swirls, rainbows, and shooting stars, lightning bolts and geometric shapes.

awesome

TF: Hi Rikki, thanks for agreeing to the interview. How long have you been designing t-shirts? Can you tell us a little about how you got into it?

RB: I started off making iron-ons when I was a youngun, then graduated to screening until I realised it’s much easier when someone else does the printing. That’s when I decided to focus on the drawing. I think I started making them because I wanted something that no one else had.

TF: Your designs typically have a hand-drawn look. How do you achieve this? Can you talk us through the process?

RB: I’ve never been one for drawing stuff digitally, it’s all pen and paper. My scans are usually pretty crappy so there’s a hell of a lot of fixy uppy in photoshop. That’s basically it, a bit of colouring and all done.

booyah1

TF: I love the colour scheme of your “Booyah!” t-shirt. Can you tell me a little about how you choose your palette?

RB: I can’t recall exactly, but I often visit http://www.colourlovers.com for palette ideas, it’s a great resource.

TF: Which is your best-selling design? And which is your personal favourite? (My favourites are the Duck Hunt tee and the 42 tee)

RB: My best selling tee is any sold at shirt.woot, a couple of thousand tees in 24 hours… more a function of the website than my designs I’m sure! My favourites are Marilyn Sane and my very newest design All the Way to London which doesn’t have a home yet. Anyone? Anyone?

london

TF: Does the feedback from the design competitions help or hinder your creativity?

RB: I generally won’t place much credence in one opinion (unless it’s someone I respect) but it’s useful to have a bunch of people tell you that they like/dislike the same thing about your design. I didn’t actually read any of the comments on my last shirt.woot design, because that bunch can be terrible. Some competitions can produce harsher critics than others, but you can’t take it to heart.

TF: Do you envision launching your own store some day?

RB: Probably not, I really draw for fun rather than to make a living.

TF: You’re also a tee-blogger. How do you choose what gets posted on Funky Duds?

RB: I don’t have any rules, I just post what I like. I do get a crapload of emails with new tees every day, but when I have time I like to go hunting for independent tees that people might not normally find.

TF: I loved the funny comment on this tee from your fellow Australian designer (and Pop Culture Tees favourite) James Lillis.

RB: That James, he’s a card.

TF: Your anti-racist t-shirt has attracted some positive media attention – and rightly so. Would you like to tell us about it?

RB: There’s a large and disturbing racist movement gaining momentum here in Aus. Everything seemed to come to a head with the Cronulla Riots in 2005 where around 5000 people showed up after recieving this text, “Come to Cronulla this weekend to take revenge. This Sunday every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support Leb [Lebanese] and wog [Italian] bashing day”.

Since then racist stickers and t-shirts like this have been growing in popularity.

were_full

I’ve designed this tshirt in a small effort to show people that Australians aren’t all ignorant dicks. Hopefully it’ll help some people to feel welcome here.

TF: One of your t-shirts features a pop-culture mashup of Marilyn Monroe and David Bowie, but which celebrities (living or dead) would you invite to a dinner party?

RB: Assuming I have one of those extra long deluxe tables, I’d have Nick Cave (he has to sit at the piano), James Randi (for some science and some magic), Bret & Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords, Joss Whedon, Tim and Eric (they can bring the Spaghett), Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, Amanda Palmer & David Bowie.

But I’d probably be too scared to talk to any of them.

marilyns

TF: There aren’t a lot of other pop-culture elements in your designs – though I think we share a love of Douglas Adams’ HHGTTG?

RB: We most certainly do!

youre-not-going-to-like-it

TF: Who inspires you as a designer? Whose work do you love?

RB: Ray Frenden, Jimiyo, Ray Fenwick, Sean Morris, Emily Glaubinger, Gemma Correll, Mike Perry, Olly Moss And all the hundreds of other ones 🙂

TF: What’s been the best thing (so far) about being a designer?

RB: I once saw someone wearing one of my tees in a supermarket. That’s not that weird to you I’m sure, but most of my designs are sold in the US, so to see one in my home town in Australia is pretty awesome.

TF: Are you wearing a cool tee right now?

RB: One of my favourites, ‘Evolver’ by Olly Moss from Go Ape Shirts.

TF: Awesome – I bought that one for my dad a couple of years ago. Do you have any tips for aspiring designers?

RB: Learn to take criticism, it’s about your design, not about you. And keep drawing, because you’ll look back at the stuff you did last year and it’ll be awful!

TF: What are your favourite websites, tee-related or otherwise?

RB: Can I list my favourite podcasts instead? I LOVE podcasts right now… nothing to do with tees though!

  • The Bugle
  • The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe
  • The Moth
  • Skeptoid
  • Stephen Fry’s Podgrams

TF: Thanks, and good day to you, madame!

RB: Thank you for having me!

Check out more of Rikki’s work at rikkib.net, redbubble, and emptees.

RB: And Design By Humans & Twitter!

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Euan Gallacher

In another great interview brought to you by Andy from Thunderfrogs, we find out about the guy behind the awesome pop culture tees that have been taking over on MySoti.

While he may not yet be a household name in the t-shirt world, this young student from Glasgow is knocking out some of the most wanted designs on MySoti. His portfolio includes pop-culture riffs on Mario and Pacman, as well as more original works.

i-gobble-ghosts

I took the opportunity to speak to Euan about his studies, and t-shirt-related ambitions.

sir-euan

Thunderfrogs: Hi Euan, thanks for agreeing to the interview.
Euan Gallacher: Cheers! A student always needs a good reason to procrastinate!

TF: How long have you been designing t-shirts? Can you tell us a little about how you got into it?
EG: It’s hard to say really. I started sticking graphics on t-shirts back in high-school, so since I was 16-17ish or 3 or 4 years till now. But really I’ve only started taking it seriously recently, like I now design artwork specifically with tees in mind rather than just my little doodles stuck on products. I’d like to think I’ve developed my own style now.

TF: So far you’ve tried spreadshirt and mysoti fulfillment services; how would you compare them?
EG: Well I would say spreadshirt is a good place to try out for beginners but really it’s too limiting. The regulations you have with colours, detail limits and size is annoying. The fact there is a separate setup for US and EU is also a drawback, it should be universal. MySoti on the other hand I kinda love. They offer less products, really just tees in a couple flavours. However they are new, have hit the ground running and they are always working to improve the service. The quality and size you can print is magic, and their DTG (direct to garment) printer seems to be churning out prints to rival screen printing. The guys running it (Hello Steve!) are really cool too, always easy to get in touch with and friendly.

TF: You’re still a student at the moment; where do you see yourself in five/ten years time?
EG: Ooooh I’d like to work for a few years in a design firm I think but my goal is to open a t-shirt store/boutique in the real live world and online. Not just an average store but something more of an experience like Johnny Cupcakes maybe, I won’t people to come to the shop for the magic of it all rather than just a tee, it’s a funky adventure! I’m not telling you my idea though, I’m scared it will get stolen, I did a little tester of it before and it went really well, so I have high hopes for my little brainbox of ideas!

TF: Which is your best-selling design?
EG: I think just now that would be unusual suspect. It was featured in the UK X360 magazine last year which helped a little bit I hope. Hooray for gamers that like tshirts!

the-unusual-suspect

TF: Do you enter the t-shirt design competitions? Have you sold any designs?
EG: I have started to dabble more now that I’ve started to develop my own style or take it more seriously. I’m currently taking a stab at teefury.com and I was recently printed on ink-hound.com. Also I am going to have a few designs printed my a London based competion/limited ed’ Tshirt setup called Collect so a shout out to Woody is in order, cheers Woody! I really like what Tee Fury does with the one a day for just one day mechanic and Collect is cool in it’s targetting of UK art students, good help to boost your portfolio!

TF: I hear one of your designs will be up at TeeFury this month. Congrats! How did that come about?
EG: I am a very lucky person! hehe. Well I found the site and wanted to get on it right away, it’s so varied! So I got in touch with Wotto via email asking if I could be considered with some of my past work. He asked me to draw up something original for the site and he would see if it got accepted. It did! Wotto was very helpful and encouraging so I thank him a whole lovely bunch. He is also Scottish like me, so he must be brilliant.

TF: Who inspires you as a designer? Whose work do you love?
EG: Well I’ve only recently just started looking at lots if tee design, I love teefury cos I can check a fresh design everyday and it’s always different. Outside of Tshirts I’m surrounded by hundreds or art student peers and there are always exhibitions going on in the uni from disciplines like fashion and textiles, jewellery, product design and fine art so I get alot of inspiration from that energy. I’m also a big sucker for music, anything really but I do love my rock n roll and bit of glam too.

TF: Are you wearing a cool tee right now?
EG: I hope so it’s one of mine! (Let’s Rock) I’d be ever so disappointed if it wasn’t cool!

lets-rock

TF: What would you do if you weren’t a designer?
EG: That’s a tricky one! I think I might’ve ended up being a design tutor at art school instead, that’s kinda cheating the question though isn’t it?

evolutionary-gentlemen

TF: Do you have any tips for aspiring designers?
EG: Definitely. Work on develop an identity and style that’s your own and get networking. Online you can pester blogs, sell through mysoti, sub to places like tee fury, tweet on twitter! Offline, well, if your a student see what others are up to, if not look out for opportunities to sell work or enter competitions, build a buzz around yourself!

TF: What are your top five websites?
EG: Oooft okay I’ll try my best here! In no real order…
http://www.teefury.com – fresh print every bloomin’ day!
http://www.twitter.com – tell everyone why you are interesting!
http://design-cultures.blogspot.com/ – Blog run by one of my lectures, aimed at us students but anyone interested in design should read!
http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/index.php – I love this blog, shows before and afters of rebrands, quite interesting to see how companies (attempt to) stay relevant or change all together
AND of course
http://www.mysoti.com – Anyone can get started up here, it’s a fantastic opportunity!

TF: What’s next for you, Euan?
EG: Well I have a lot going on at uni just now so that eats much of my time, but I love it so… I am going to keep on squeezing t-shirts out my brainbox and try and get what pops out onto a few sites. Really right now I’m trying to work out a style for myself and get my name out there, it’s starting to work so here’s hoping for good things!

TF: Thanks, and the best of luck!
EG: Thank you for letting me ramble on! I hope I haven’t gone off on too many tangents!

Find out more about Euan and his designs on his website I Am Euan Gallacher, and on Twitter he is @SirEuan.

About Andy/Thunderfrogs:

andy

Thunderfrogs delivers the best of the t-shirt world (sales, discount codes, store and tee reviews, interviews and t-shirt news), updated on a near-daily basis. I love t-shirts with pop-culture references, especially 80s film, cartoon, and computer game nostalgia.

Andy also recently published another interview with James Lillis, a PopCultureTees favorite; read the whole thing here.

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