“Beanies” Winner Interview: Why So Blue, Sun?

Who says it always needs to be a raincloud hanging over your head? With the weather getting colder and the sky getting gloomier, it can sometimes be hard not to be affected by a touch of Season Affective Disorder this time of year: “SAD” for short. And Jimmy “JIMDAHOUSECAT” Kitson’s winning beanie design shows that not even the sun is safe from the winter blues!

We talked to Jimmy about this design, his work as a “creative coder”, and about the cool song-based inspiration behind this design. Check out the interview below!

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Tell us a little about yourself! Where are you from? What do you do? What’s your favorite little-known movie?

“Sad Sun” beanie

My name is Jimmy Kitson and I’m currently in my third (and final year) at Teesside University, studying a BA in Graphic Design. My favourite movie has to be Home Alone. I always laugh uncontrollably when Marv screams after standing on the nail. Classic.

Congratulations on the win! I saw a forum post from awhile back that said you hadn’t submitted in awhile because of University, and here you are! What made you submit to this challenge?

Thank you very much! In my portfolio review last year, it was discussed that I don’t have a particular specialism within Graphic Design; however I’m good at generating clever and creative ideas. Since then, I’ve been slowly building up the confidence and expertise to execute my ideas to a better standard. Despite having three projects to do at University, I thought this competition would be a great opportunity to make more live work for my portfolio. 

“Sad Sun” beanie in action

Tell us a little bit about this design! Why so blue, sun??

So the concept for the design is based on an old song called “The Sun Has Got His Hat On”.

The song is jolly and suggests that the sun is preparing for a warm and sunny day when he’s wearing a hat. The sun on my beanie design isn’t wearing a hat and as a result is sad/upset. Also, it’s ironic because beanies are typically worn in the winter season when the sun isn’t out as much.   

“Sad Sun” on a few different products.

Love it! You have a variety of cool styles from hand-lettering, to more geometric art, to realism – what’s your favorite art style?

I don’t really have a particular favourite style of art but I do like to try new styles and go out of my comfort zone every now and then. I would say I’m more inspired by designers, especially the talent that is part of the Threadless community.

“Eyes” from JIMDAHOUSECAT’s Artist Shop

On your Instagram, it says you’re a “Creative Coder”, which sounds awesome. What does that mean? 

One of my lecturers introduced me to Processing last year. Processing is an open source software & computer programming language that is mostly implemented within in visual design. It’s a bit like Java but has a more simplified syntax. In my spare time I learn Processing code and create mini experiments from my lab (bedroom).

“Movie Debate”

Do you think of coding as a creative art in itself?

Yes, I think there’s a misconception with code in general because of it having strict rules and order. However, if you search ‘Generative Art’ on the internet, you’ll see some great examples of how a boring algorithm can create something beautiful and mesmerizing.

What most inspires you?

I would say movies. I’m fascinated with the subtle visual devices/techniques that certain directors implement in their work to tell powerful stories.

“Russian Roulette”

What do you do when you have artist’s block?

I write a lot of lists and take a lateral approach when thinking of possible creative solutions. Sometimes, I find listening to playlists on Spotify whilst lying on my bed also helps. It’s a bit like meditating, but with the addition of cheesy ’80s music.

Anything else?

A massive thank you to everyone that managed to vote on the design. I’ve decided to spend the majority of my prize money on a plane ticket to Chicago next summer so I can finally look around the new Threadless HQ.


Shop the winning design now!

CategoriesBehind The Tees
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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.