October’s just around the corner, and things are getting scarrrryyyyyyyyy. With next week’s release of horror-themed tees, we just had to get to the heart of our the artist’s darkest fears by asking them to reveal the scariest thing they’ve ever experienced. From lighthearted answers (the Apple computer spinning beach ball of death!) to some truly freaky moments (a plane that nearly fell from the sky!), the talent behind next week’s new designs tell all. Read on, and don’t forget to tune in on Monday to shop their super scary tees!
Q: What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever experienced?
“A bunch of seagulls tried to strike me down like a common egg thief. It was basically Hitchcock’s ’The Birds’.” Buy this tee now!
"As a kid, I was terrified of that ‘sucking’ sound water makes when it’s let out of the bathtub. So, naturally, my brother would lock me in the bathroom with the lights off while it drained." Buy this tee now!
“You will experience a great terror when the spinning beach ball of death is dancing gracefully at midnight on the top of your unsaved artwork, then suddenly the power goes out and you hear a hysterical scream from next door. Once the lights are back on, a mini heart attack strikes because you realize that you don’t have any neighbor at all! 0_o” Buy this tee now!
“It’s probably quite a common scary experience. I was on a flight home a few years back and we hit some really bad turbulence. Everything was shaking, bums were frequently lifting off seats, and loud noises rung around the plane. The guy sat next to me was muttering and praying against the headrest in front, people were screaming, and the stewardesses looked quite startled. I remember trying to keep calm and take my mind off of it. So, I continued to play Zelda on my DS. Good ol’ Link helped me through it. Can’t tell you how glad I was to get off that plane!” Buy this tee now!
“I’d have to say the time my girlfriend suggested we watch Paranormal Activity 3, despite knowing my horror Achilles’ heel is ghosts. She fell asleep literally ten minutes in and left me completely defenseless to becoming possessed.” Buy this tee now!
“The scariest thing I’ve ever experienced is watching a horror movie at home alone.” Buy this tee now!
#DO52 WEEK 39: LEAF ART!
#DO52 is a weekly project to inspire you to create more art! We’ll announce a new theme each week. Post your submission in the blog comments. We’ll feature our favorites in this blog the following Friday.
#DO52week39: Create artwork using real leaves!
- This week marked the beginning of autumn, and we’ve already noticed the leaves starting to change color around Threadless HQ. As the first couple leaves start to fall, scoop a few up and give them new life in the form of a #DO52 project! Your challenge this week is to incorporate real leaves into an original piece of art. You can use a whole pile of leaves to make a pattern, construct your favorite animal (shark, definitely a shark), or even use a single leaf in a fun and creative way!
For inspiration, check out this mixed media design from Alex Solis:
Once you’ve completed this week’s #DO52, add this badge to your Threadless profile:
If you’re feeling political, check out the political cartoons from last week’s #DO52!
MEET CHICAGO ARTIST JEREMIAH KETNER!
The beauty of having the Threadless headquarters in an enormous warehouse? Somehow we can almost always discover another patch of bare wall that could use an upgrade. When a spot in the atrium became noticeably boring and uninspired, we called in local artist Jeremiah Ketner, otherwise known as Smallaround, to treat the white wall to something special. Calling on his love for mythical sprites, mermaids, and Lake Michigan, he transformed the space into an aquatic escape under the sea. Read on to learn more about Ketner, what inspires his work, and his affection for Japanese toilets below!
Jeremiah’s finished piece in the Threadless atrium!
Where are you from originally and how did your childhood influence the art you do today?
I was born and raised in the Quad Cities, specifically Moline, IL. We lived in a small house on a bluff a few miles from the Mississippi River. There were plenty of forests, valleys, and creeks to play in, but from early on in my childhood all I wanted to do was draw. I spent hours creating comic books and sold copies to my friends at school. In fifth grade, I started getting serious about creating comics and ended up getting my work published weekly in the QC Times. Shortly after that time I was introduced to oil painting and started taking private lessons. I fell in love with painting and over time, my work has been influenced by my love for making comics and passion for painting. I would say that both mediums coincide on some level with the artwork I’m creating now.
What draws you towards painting mythical sprites or fairies?
I started making stickers of little tear-dropped sprites when I moved to Chicago in 2000. I was inspired by the paste ups and stickers plastered everywhere in the city. The characters started to evolve and became a focal point of my paintings, and eventually I created worlds that only they could exist in. I love creating my own worlds. I want to create a place for the viewer to get lost in; transporting them into an alternative state of mind free of criticism from the outside world.
What materials do you use to create your art?
Currently I paint with acrylics on wood panels. I was classically trained using oils, but after painting with them for several years, I find acrylics equally rewarding. When I’m at the art store, I’ll pick up colors I have never used before and try to incorporate them into my paintings. When I was in art school, I made it a point to explore every medium possible. I would say my favorite mediums are watercolor, acrylics, and pencil on paper. I keep a sketchbook on me wherever I go. You never know when that next big idea will strike.
I saw that you recently painted a wall at Nettelhorst School, the same school your sons attend. What was it like to leave your work on your sons’ school where they’ll see it every day?
The school is covered with murals throughout the halls, classrooms, and outside doors. They also have sailboats from Belmont Harbor in the halls and other really cool installation art created by parents and local artists. That was a big draw for me, and I wanted to carry on the tradition of making the school more inviting and influential for kids. This summer I asked a few of my favorite artist’s friends, Chema Skandal and J.C. Rivera, to create murals on the outside walls of Nettelhorst and they did a fantastic job - well beyond what I expected. The school is located on Broadway and Melrose if you would like to check them out.
Jeremiah’s mural outside of Nettelhorst School in Chicago (Image courtesy of smallandaround)
How has family played a role in your artistic ambitions?
My family has always been supportive of what I do, and in return, I try and to do something creative with my kids everyday. Plus, it’s really cool to play with Lego’s again. My dad is also an artist, who created several large scale memorials sculptures for police and fire departments. He runs a business making really cool sculpted motorcycle parts. So I guess you can say the artistic side runs deep in the family.
I read that you often travel to Japan, why is Japan so influential for you?
I instantly fell in love with Japanese culture the first time my girlfriend (now wife) brought me out to Tokyo. Aesthetics and presentation play an important role in the culture. Every aspect of design is carefully thought out. I remember getting into a taxi one day and the driver had his own branded sticker packs with cute characters for riders. Almost everything has a cute edge to it; even the toilets are kind of cute. We travel to Japan about once a year to visit family and I often find myself exploring new cities and discovering new aspects of the culture that later emerges in my art.
A recent work by Jeremiah, called “Panda Naps” (Image courtesy of smallandaround)
How did you hear about Threadless?
I have been a long time fan of Threadless and discovered it from a friend who was submitting designs. The retail store was a few blocks from my house. I would stop in every Friday and buy the latest designs before they went online.
What inspired the piece that you did on the Threadless wall?
Chicago has one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and as a tribute, I created an aquatic theme. As a city dweller, it’s easy to overlook such a fantastic resource right at our doorstep. I’m also a big fan of mermaids, so I had to include one with the fishes. Overall I wanted to create something vibrant and colorful that would reflect the creative energy of the Threadless HQ atrium.
Jeremiah’s Threadless piece begins to take shape (Image courtesy of smallandaround)
Why do you think your art fits so well with the Threadless style?
There are so many talented artists that make up the Threadless style. I was absolutely thrilled to be invited to make a mural for Threadless. I think my use of color and characters make a good match.
What has a formal art education done for you?
It gave me a taste for all types of disciplines. That’s what I enjoyed most about going to art school. If I wanted to learn how to blow glass, cast bronze, or weld something, I had those options and I definitely took advantage of the facilities. When I was studying at Columbus College of Art & Design, I fell in love with printmaking. I went on to teach various printmaking classes in graduate school. I’m glad I had that opportunity to explore new methods of making art. Without school, I would have probably discovered it eventually, but not with as much intensity. Art school also helped me develop a consistent body of work with an underlying concept. I think the thing I learned most was how talk about my art and have an openness to constructive critique.
How would you say your art has evolved over the years?
It has changed drastically from where I started fresh out of art school to what I am doing now. You only notice these changes until you look back at 15 or so years. I’m happy with the direction it’s going now and I’m always pushing myself to go further with my work.
Your Facebook page says you began in 2001, shortly before the social media boom. How has social media changed the street art industry?
I really began working with galleries and showing my work professionally in 2000 after graduate school when I moved to Chicago. Things picked up in 2004 when I started getting invites for solo shows and group shows from galleries in Seattle, LA, NYC,Texas, and beyond. I would attribute my out of town shows to being more active online, pushing my work on social media sites like Flickr and Myspace. This was before the glory days of Twitter and Facebook, mind you. Now social media has allowed artists to bypass the gallery and instantly curate their work for a large audience. I love how it’s progressed. I follow a great deal of artists; I think it’s really great that you can keep up with your peers and get inspired just by glancing through any social media stream.
What’s next for Smallandround?
I keep a busy show schedule throughout the year and will be participating in a handful of group shows this fall. I’m also going to have new work at Disney’s Wonderground Gallery at downtown Disneyland in California this spring. I have been showing with them for a few years now and it’s truly a unique experience creating my own take on Disney’s classic characters. I’m also heading to New York Comic Con this October and will have new releases, custom toys, and prints at the con. There’s also this really cool convention this November in Pasadena, CA called Designer Con. It’s more fine-tuned for artists who make designer toys, apparel, urban pop art, and fine art. This year, I will have my own booth and plan on having lots of new merchandise along with original custom toys and some surprises.
Life’s pretty great, but it’s not always a big bed of roses. Even our uber talented artists know that, many facing their own road bumps here and there. If we were a popular gossip magazine, we might just say: “Artists! They’re just like us!” So, to remind us all of that fact, we asked the folks behind this week’s awesome new batch of tees to name the biggest challenge they’ve faced as an artist, and how they overcame it. Next time you’re hitting a rough patch, remember their salient words of wisdom. And come Monday, don’t forget to stop in to check out the new tees!
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an artist?
“My biggest challenge was putting what was in my head onto paper. An HB pencil seemed to do the trick.” Buy this tee now!
"Design school wasn’t easy. Once, I had an art history exam the morning after a very strenuous workout. I’d never been so sorely tested." Buy this tee now!
“Creative blocks are a huge challenge that I occasionally deal with as an artist. To overcome them, I step away from my studio/creative space and put my focus elsewhere. I usually go for a bike ride or watch TV. It helps me relax and clear my mind.” Buy this tee now!
“Recovering my childhood imagination may be the biggest challenge for me as for an artist and illustrator. Trying to free up my mind from adult-world constraints and grabbing at least a tiny part of the poetry and amazement of my childhood. When I get to this state of mind, even if I’m touching it only with my fingertips, my illustrations are better immediately. That is challenging. How do we overcome adult brain limitations? Everyday practice?” Buy this tee now!
“The biggest challenge? The notorious and dreadful C.B.B. (Creative Block Blackhole)! Aaaaaaaaarg! Is there a cure? Most of the time, ideas start popping back without notice and the engine starts again after one of the following: A: a few days, B: weeks, C: months, D:it’s f*cking hopeless… I’m getting wasted!” Buy this tee now!
“My biggest challenge has been getting to the point where I can create t-shirt designs for some of the biggest names in heavy metal. I have always been a fan of heavy rock and metal, and have always played in bands, but I never planned to “make it” as a musician. So, I set about working for the bands I love, which has taken many years, lots of patience, some rejection, and a good amount of pestering the right people. It also helps to have a few lucky breaks. But if you want something, and are willing to work hard, it is possible. I can now count bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Rage Against The Machine, Pantera, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains as clients.” Buy this tee now!
#DO52 WEEK 36: MAKE US LAUGH WITH CHARTS AND GRAPHS!
#DO52 is a weekly project to inspire you to create more art! We’ll announce a new theme each week. Post your submission in the blog comments. We’ll feature our favorites in this blog the following Friday.
#DO52week36: Whip up a goofy chart or graph.
- Think back to all those charts and graphs you learned how to make in school. Those pie charts (Mmm, pie…), bar graphs, and Venn diagrams could get pretty boring, right? That’s why, for this week’s #DO52, we want you to put together the funniest chart, graph, or diagram you can dream up! Make it fun, make it goofy, make it informative.
To get you started, here are a few examples from the catalog:
Once you’ve completed this week’s #DO52, add this badge to your Threadless profile:
Don’t forget to head back to last week’s #DO52 to see everyone’s entries!
MEET COLLABORATIVE STREET ARTIST DUO HOT DOSE!
Just when Threadless needed a high-charged dose of super stellar style, street artist duo Hot Dose! showed up to play. Made up of artists Corey Hagberg, aka Crush Entity, and Sarah Danielle Stewart, aka She Was A Monster, the collaborative twosome created a boar-riding figment of unparalleled imagination that has certainly been turning heads. The two have been exceedingly busy making street art across Chicago as well as exploring their own personal art endeavors, but they were kind enough to take a bit of time and answer our questions. Learn more about Hot Dose! below, and if you’re in the mood to be mesmerized, shop by Threadless HQ to see their work in person!
The super impressive work of Hot Dose! on the Threadless garage door
Where are you both from and how has that affected your artistic ambitions?
Crush Entity: I was born in Evanston, IL, and grew up back and forth at my grandparents between the North Side of Chicago and the Chicago area suburbs. We moved to Contra Costa County, CA, just outside the bay area when I was about 6, and we were there until the early ‘90s. This is where I was first introduced to skateboarding and board graphics, which greatly influenced my life; they eventually became a lifestyle, introducing me to graffiti and ultimately leading to making art in the public realm. I currently reside in Rockford, IL.
She Was A Monster: I’m actually from Rockford, IL, which is a little big city, being the second biggest city in the state and ranked the ninth most dangerous city in the nation per capita (it sounds a lot more exciting than it is). There is an art community in Rockford that has the ambition to make things happen, but is forever combated by the conservative and unsupportive nature of this city. It’s a force that either makes you work harder to branch out and become more, or it suffocates you. Luckily, I’m a stubborn girl who takes discouragement as a challenge rather than defeat, so in a strange way, it has been motivating to be essentially from “nowhere” in the eyes of the art world. You have that much more to prove.
How did the two of you begin making art together?
Crush Entity: We began creating art together in 2013. We had mutual friends, but didn’t really know each other too well; Rockford has a very insular community of progressive artists, everyone knows each other or of each other. I had first noticed Sarah’s work in 2008 and was blown away. In 2012, we did Fountain Art Fair in Miami during Art Basel. I kept thinking about how amazing her imagery was, how striking it would be on a large scale, and allowing the public to be able to experience it outside the gallery. Collaborating can be tricky to adjust to for some, so I suggested she come and paint for a very chill little indoor skate spot/community center I was helping to organize. It turned out great; she was a natural. I invited her to do a show I had been offered at the Freeport Art Museum along with a friend Ben Smith (@roguefoto), a photographer who had photographed some of our paint sessions in the wild. From there, we continued to collaborate and came up with name Hot Dose!.
She Was A Monster: Corey and I have been showing in group shows together for awhile, but it wasn’t until he needed help painting an indoor skate park that we really got to know each other on a more personal basis and actually worked together. We share a very similar motivation to create and I think things unfolded naturally from there.
Hot Dose artist Corey Hagburg, otherwise known as Crush Entity
What was the learning curve like in terms of getting used to each others’ style?
Crush Entity: Sarah has a very painterly approach with her use of cans. Mine is more rooted in simple fills/outlines, because initially I had only used spray paint to screw around with letters when I was in high school. I used cans before brushes, so that approach has stuck with me in my studio art as well. I paint very graphically, just like I draw, without much blending. I feel like our individual styles create a certain harmony or balance between the graphic and the more rendered imagery.
She Was A Monster: I can’t really say there has been much of a learning curve; we both paint the way we paint and it somehow works together. Although our styles are pretty different, they somehow complement each other in a balance. Sometimes we plan out what we’re creating and sometimes it is much more intuitive; we make both conscious and subconscious decisions. Creating a collaborative work is kind of like a dance or a game of chess, where one person’s move depends on the other person’s move, and so on. We share very similar sensibilities as far as our aesthetic preferences are concerned, which helps the process move fluidly.
Hot Dose artist Sarah Danielle Stewart, otherwise known as She Was A Monster
Both of your styles include seemingly arbitrary objects. Is there any rhyme or reason to your artwork?
Crush Entity: I prefer to work more intuitively, but each piece has a specific theme or ties to a broader theme, such as identity or how/why we identify with certain emotions, groups, religions etc, collective failures and breaking those down, or imagery that is emblematic of triumph or loss. Sometimes, it’s a looser narrative, like the re-occurrence of an expressionless face in an animal suit; it hints at the infinite disconnect between us as humans and our survival instincts. Those animal instincts become just another costume that has been rendered vestigial against a backdrop of going through the motions. Eat drink, shit, spazz out, pop pills, sleep, Repeat process.
She Was A Monster: My artwork always serves as a collection of sorts. I would best describe myself as a magpie in the sense that I like sparkly, gaudy, and somewhat jarring things. Most of the time I like using objects, patterns, and space in unconventional ways, redefining their terms, purpose, and functions. In a way, it makes me feel better about the things in my life I cannot control. Being able to paint a blue boar in outer space, or a pile of objects that collectively make a monster, somehow helps me cope with the mundane, habitual, and predictable lives we live as human beings.
“Deadbeat Solstice” by Hot Dose!
What are the advantages and disadvantages of working in a collaboration versus working alone?
Crush Entity: The disadvantages of collaborating hit home through the weight it has on our lives outside of creating work. We live together, we’re together as a couple, and we produce work together. The lines get blurred or aren’t even there sometimes. Outside of that, we each have individual artistic careers we are pursuing. She tattoos full time, and I teach art and create commissioned work in between screwing around on the internet and daydreaming. I think separating all that and making time to decompress has served to be the challenge. Balancing our individual work versus our collaborations can be another challenge. Those challenging challenges can be a real challenge.
She Was A Monster: Working with someone means compromise, which has been an interesting feat that I think neither of us has ever experienced before. A lot of the time, I notice people think Hot Dose! is Corey by himself, which at times can be a little frustrating for me, but it is an experience that I can’t really compare to anything else. It’s having a partner in crime rather than being a lone ranger. It’s having someone to share decisions and excitement.
How do you balance your work with Hot Dose! with your own individual art lives?
Crush Entity: For me, I keep a body of personal work moving forward. I work in my sketchbook. I collaborate with other people; my AIR crew homies and other artists in Chicago or Rockford. Hot Dose! might be hibernating for a while come winter in order to better promote that balance and get back in touch with our lives outside of art.
She Was A Monster: It can get a little frustrating to prioritize sometimes… there is not enough time in the day for everything I’d like to do. It means being smart with your time so you CAN do both, otherwise both would never happen. It’s kind of a sway between the two; like playing on a teeter-totter by yourself. Sometimes everything else in your life goes awry; the house gets messy, the fridge has nothing in it but stale and expired food, and you’re wondering if you’ll get to run those errands or take that shower, and you think you’ve gone a little insane. Then you finish a project, step back, and feel this sense of accomplishment that nothing else in life makes you feel, and you remember how insane you really would be if you didn’t have this sense of importance you find in artwork, and in your life. Then all is right with the world. The balance, I guess, is forgetting the line between the two and just looking at all of it as your artwork, and to never stop trudging along.
Hot Dose! working together on a piece in Gary, Indiana
What is the creative process like between two very creative minds?
Crush Entity: The creative process can be very exhilarating, energetic, and amazing, but also very trying. You take two people who know each other through and through, are both very capable and passionate with insightful ideas, and sometimes there will be friction. Most times, things will flow and we will build effortlessly off each other’s input. We figure out when to say, “My idea is good, but yours is better.”, or how to offer criticism in the heat of the moment that doesn’t come out like, “Hey, moron, that’s a pretty stupid idea, put that back on the shelf.” That hasn’t happened yet, really. Not while making art at least.
She Was A Monster: It usually starts with a simple idea and evolves to take on a life of its own through discussion, intuitive decisions, critiques, excitement, arguing, a little blood, a pinch of fairy dust, wart of toad, and a thumb war.
Why did you land on the piece that you did for Threadless?
Crush Entity: For Threadless, if I remember right, it was pretty gut level. We discussed imagery that would tie into a gallery show/installation we are creating for the J.R. Kortman gallery in Rockford which is called Velvet Realms and opens the first weekend in October. Sarah started by producing the boar image, and I added to it on the car ride out to Chicago. Some additional details were originally going to be added, but once the sun came up while I was finishing, I had to tell myself, “It’s just a roller door, let it ride.”
Close-up of the Hot Dose! mural created at Threadless HQ
Why do you think your particular style works with Threadless so well?
Crush Entity: I’ve been intrigued with the development of Threadless since I first read about the company and its humble beginnings in a magazine article in 2006. Something about starting with minimal cash and printing the designs of artists from the general public. I don’t think crowdsourcing was even a thing at that point, and I thought that was unique because it gave anyone who was inclined to create a design the chance to be part of something larger. I don’t remember the specific images from the article, but do remember thinking, ” Man this shit is funky and weird. Right up my alley.” I was more bohemian and cavemanish at that point and the internet was still some strange alternate universe in my mind. I hadn’t even owned a computer at that point.
She Was A Monster: After seeing the facility, it’s pretty safe to say that the folks at Threadless share the love for fun that we do. We love silly, we love feel-good. We love make-you-smile and feel-kind-of-awkward and giggly all at the same time. There is a definite mutual appreciation for the same culture and message, and what could be more beautiful?
What was the process like of painting Threadless’s garage door?
Crush Entity: I’m pumped on the image, so the process was fun. I typically don’t like doing anything too detailed on a roller door. It starts to look like shit in your mind’s eye unless you step back or remind yourself that it looks fine from the street, so stop being so hyper critical man, and relax. It wasn’t your typical storefront roll down, either, so that wasn’t so much of an issue.
“Tainted Love” by Hot Dose!
Crush Entity, I saw some of the work that you did at Sunset Junction in LA. How was the experience of going across the country to leave your mark?
Crush Entity: The Silver Lake wall was great. The new Lone Ranger movie was being released that week and I felt compelled to create an image related to that, hence the braids of the Native soul choking tears of blood from the Lone Ranger. It’s about overcoming the forces that serve to subjugate or marginalize people for whatever reason, which is why there is an assortment of freaks and monsters surrounding that central image. It was facilitated by LA Freewalls, a group who lines up walls for artists that I admire like Mear One, Dabs and Myla, Risk, Megs, and many others, so it was kind of surreal. It was also in conjunction with a group show at Project Gallery in LA and Cartwheel Arts, so I was excited to meet some of the other artists who were part of that and go out and paint. I hadn’t been to LA since I was a young kid, and it was a very nostalgic experience for me.
Shewasamonster, you list your day-job on Facebook as a tattoo artist. How does creating art on other peoples’ bodies help you grow as an artist?
She Was A Monster: Being a tattoo artist is challenging in the sense that people are very understandably picky about what they want. So you face the challenge of creating something cool out of sometimes cloudy ideas. Also, tattoos are nothing like a painting or drawing; the body is dimensional and curved, resulting in a need to create an image specific to that shape of the body part so it looks good compositionally. This has caused me to think of the surfaces I paint on in a different way. Drawing on a daily basis aside from tattooing keeps your skills tight and honed; there’s no room for error in a tattoo. It’s a one shot deal. This has caused me to become much more deliberate in my decision-making with artwork, which has resulted in higher efficiency.
As a collaboration, does Hot Dose! dabble in any mediums other than paint?
Crush Entity: As a collaboration, sometimes Hot Dose! puts Nutella on sugar cookies and artichokes on fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. We do release the occasional t-shirt and sticker and have created a series or drawings. This next show, we will finally be breathing life into an idea for installation and die cut pieces we’ve talked about for awhile, along with some other 3-D elements.
She Was A Monster: Not as of yet, but there are talks of 3-D projects in the works.
A glimpse inside the Hot Dose! studio
What’s unique about the Chicago street art scene that you don’t find elsewhere?
Crush Entity: The Chicago street art scene is unique because it still has a very localized and somewhat blue-collar feel to it. Some of us grind out 9-5 jobs, while some of us are lucky enough to get by off what we create, but there isn’t a huge spotlight on it yet like you see in other cities. That can be a double-edged sword, but it seems to be beneficial because there is less of a saturation, so less is missed. The Chicago scene still has that youthful stoner kid’s basement feel to it. It’s inviting and dimly lit at the same time, so it might take minute to find what you’re looking for. It’s nice to see opportunities pop up in the form of galleries and other businesses like Gallery F, Maxwell Colette, Vertical, Chicago Truborn, Gallery Bar, and others who provide an arena for street and grafitif artists to showcase their studio work and other creative endeavors.
She Was A Monster: There’s a definite style difference in Chicago. You’ve got East coast style, West coast style… Chicago is making a name for itself. I can certainly appreciate that. The scene is pretty friendly and encouraging too, from my experience.
A Hot Dose! mural in Gary, Indiana
MEET THE ZIP HOODIES CHALLENGE WINNER!
Welp, it’s officially September, meaning the inevitable is upon us: cooler weather. Thankfully, there is a certain something that makes chilly weather bearable: majorly awesome hoodies. With that in mind, we launched our Zip Hoodies challenge, and after zippin’ our way through a whole bunch of super sweet submissions, we’ve landed on a winner: “Ninja vs. Ninja” by Brooklyn artist Daniel Stevens. Read on to learn more about Daniel, and if you want a totally badass hoody (‘cuz obviously you do), snag his new design here!
Congrats on your winning design “Ninja vs. Ninja” for our Zip Hoodies challenge! Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a Graphic Designer/Illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. During the day I create graphics and prints for a sleepwear company and at night I work on personal projects, freelance, and of course, Threadless stuff. I watch cartoons, collect comics, and love procrastinating.
What inspired the concept behind your design?
My inspiration for this comp was actually through research. While I was at work, not working, I checked out all the hoodies Threadless sold. By the time I got home, the idea just popped into my head.
You mentioned that you wanted to “create a design that told a story”. What exactly is the story behind this design?
The story is just a simple interaction between the two characters.
Why were these badass ninjas fighting in the first place?
Shhh… I can’t say or I’m next.
How was designing for a hoody different than a typical tee?
I think when you design for a hoody, what works best is minimal color and a clean design. There’s so much going on with a hoody between the hood, pockets, and the zipper, that less is more when it comes down to graphics.
Did the idea of integrating a zipper play a part in creating your design?
Using the zipper was the biggest part of the concept. I needed that fun interaction.
Please walk us through the process of creating this design.
For this particular design there wasn’t much of a process, more like design freestyle. The visual was so clear in my mind that all I needed was a few ninja references to get started in Illustrator. I didn’t even sketch the concept.
What do you think fellow ninjas on the street will think of your new hoody?
Ninjas will probably feel like i’m exploiting their careers to sell products and send their best men after me.
If you so decide to enter the dark arts of the ninja world, do you think this hoody will give you special powers?
Ummm… I hope it gives me some kind of power so I can defend myself for when they come for me. They will come!!!
Any other shout-outs?
I want to give a shouts to my mom and dad for the excellent creative genes, my lady for being so supportive, and my job for being soooo lenient with what websites we can go on at work. I would also like to thank Threadless for choosing my design. Being printed has been my dream for awhile and to finally achieve this goal makes me feel truly honored.