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Be Loud and Proud!

While “Pride” has taught everyone that love is love no matter what form it comes in, it’s also important to remember that “love is love” also means that you have to love and accept yourself.

And that’s the message that the winning design of our Pride Challenge perpetuates. “Gay is Ok!“, by long-time collaborators Perry Beane (BeanePod) and Daniel Arzola (Goliath72), is a great design with an even greater message, and is what pride is all about.

We talked to Perry and Daniel about their winning design, their collaborative bromance, and about what pride means to them. Check out what they had to say!

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What was it like working together to create this piece? How did you guys decide on a design?

Perry: It was a lot of fun making this one. But then again, Dan’s always great to work with. We basically had the same idea so it made sense to finish it together. I think I created 2-3 versions before we settled on the final.

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“Gay is OK!” by BeanePod & Daniel Arzola

Daniel: It was exciting because we both wanted to make a simple design that had a powerful message. I’ve always enjoyed doing collaborations with Perry because I love his style, creativity, and openness to feedback, which makes working with him easy. 

I emailed Perry with a few ideas (including this idea). We talked about a few things that would be great to have with the saying “Gay is OK.” After a few emails and bouncing ideas back and forth, we got this awesome design.

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“Gay is Ok” by Perry Beane & Daniel Arzola

What made you want to collaborate for this challenge?

Perry: I like working with Dan any chance I get. Couple that with us having the same idea and it just seemed like a win-win for both of us.

Daniel: I wanted to show my support to the LGBTQ community. I thought about how much of an honor it would be to win this challenge, so a lot of ideas started popping in my head. I saw Perry had a few designs up and saw that he was passionate about supporting the LGBTQ community as well. I reached out to him and this design was born.  

Have you two ever collaborated together before? 

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“It’s Morphin Time!” by BeanePod & Daniel Arzola

Perry: OMG…I think we have something like 20 collabs at this point. I had seen his previous collabs and thought he had great ideas, so I was totally game for teaming up. This is officially our second collab print!

Daniel: Yes, we’ve collaborated a lot lol. We’ve done some great designs and had a print for the Power Rangers challenge, which was exciting for me because I’m a big fan. I can’t even count exactly how many we’ve done, but I believe it started over three years ago with our first collaboration design, “Mini-Fridge.” Hopefully Perry hasn’t gotten tired of my emails haha

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BeanePod’s “Love Wins” design from last year – a collaboration with Rossmat8

This is a design that will probably mean a lot to a lot of people – was this a challenge you felt it was important to be a part of?

Perry: Absolutely! This challenge was very personal to me. I had a cousin who was disowned by his family when he came out and unfortunately passed away not long after. He was in my mind the entire time I was designing for this challenge because he should’ve been told it was okay…that he was okay. Anyway, sorry for the sads…I just wanted to convey that sentiment with this design: that it is OKAY.  Be proud of who you are.

Daniel: Definitely!! Like I mentioned before, I wanted to show my support and felt that if we could win this challenge, how much of an honor it would be to help send a message that love is love and it’s never wrong. I strongly felt that a simple message can be meaningful in such a hateful world.

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“You’re Gonna be Okay!” by BeanePod’s Artist Shop
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“Kind of Best Dad?” by BeanePod

So Perry, you have three designs coming out for this collection AND one that just came out last week! How does that feel? 

Perry: It feels amazing actually. I never actually expected to win a challenge because there are so many talented artists submitting to Threadless on a daily basis. I mean come on…you’ve seen the work that comes from these artists! I am constantly in awe of them. But yeah, I think I’m still in shock from all of this. Definitely something to keep in the memory bank.

I actually did the Pride collab with Ross while waiting to hear back from Dan after sending him the original “Gay Is Okay” design. I think I even submitted them on the same night!

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“Till Death Do Us Part” by BeanePod & Rossmat8

How did you choose who to collaborate with?

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“Cheese Doodles Hooray!!” by BeanePod

I just look at ideas as people send them to me. I pretty much know instantly if I like an idea or not. Another consideration is whether or not I can do their ideas justice. Some ideas tend to be complex and I tend to gravitate to the bold and simple ideas because that’s what I like doing….otherwise it starts to feel like work!

How do you keep coming up with fresh ideas? Do you do art for a living?

I really don’t know where it all comes from.  I constantly have weird ideas floating around in my head. Thanks to Threadless, they have a purpose! Right now I work with a friend running a small print/sign company but have worked as an art director for a publishing company, designed sports apparel and accessories for New Balance and even designed entire lines of socks for Justin/Gypsy boots and Tommy Copper (as weird as that sounds). I’ve also had a paint brush in my hand since I was four, so there’s that.

Your style is so unique – how did you develop it? What inspires you?

It’s finding little bits and pieces of things that work and adding them to the next design and the next and so on…After awhile it just became what I do and is part of why I can knock out so many subs. My designs tend to be goofy and silly but there is definitely a process in which they’re created that follows a system of steps from the initial concept to the presentation slide. As regimented and boring as that sounds, I have as much fun with each new design as I did the last.

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“Hipster Sloth Takes His Time” from BeanePod’s Artist Shop

As far as inspiration goes…just life and my take on the absurdity of it all. It may be crazy and hectic, but it’s mine and I think I’ll hang on to it for as long as I can. Also my wife and kids (who are every bit as kooky as I am).

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“Training Day” by Daniel Arzola & Chris Phillips

How about you, Daniel? You also have so many designs coming in on a regular basis – How do you keep your ideas fresh?

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“Catastrophe” by Daniel Arzola & Raul Garderes

Daniel: I was always told that I have a creative personality and I guess when I found Threadless, it really started showing. Even though I am not the best artist, collaborations really helped my creativity shine. I am thankful to all the great artists who have wanted to work with me. I’m always trying to think outside the box and about things I would want wear. Whenever I am just lounging or cleaning the house, ideas are floating in my head. I guess ideas just come to me. 

What inspires your designs?

What inspires me is seeing all the beautiful things around us. I enjoy everything and try to come up with something that is fun and creative. All the artists I’ve worked with inspire me because of the amazing talent they have. Also, Soloyo and FRICKINAWESOME inspire me because they are like me – idea people who have done some amazing collaborations and have been successful. I hope to be on their level one day.

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“Nuns with Guns” by Daniel Arzola & Chris Phillips
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“Dragon Labyrinth” by Daniel Arzola & Sam Cheok

You do a lot of collaborations – what’s your personal specialty? How do you choose who you want to work with?

Whenever I am wanting to work with an artist, I usually try and look at what they have done and try to come up with something that is their style, and that is what has made the collabs successful.

I guess just having a creative personality.  As far as who I choose to work with depends on what the challenge is, who has time, and wants to work with me lol. Through that, I try and think of an idea that works with the particular artist’s style.

What’s been your favorite collaboration so far?

It is hard to say which is my favorite collaboration. They all have been meaningful and fun to do. I know the artist always works hard to make my ideas come to life and I am always appreciative of that. Without them, the collaborations wouldn’t be as awesome. So all the collaborations have been my favorite.

Shop the pride collection here!

Carlyn Hill

Dad joke aficionado, cartoonist, & contributor for sites like HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue by night. When I'm not writing or drawing, you can find me in my cave of a room hanging out with my boyfriend, Netflix.