Throwback Thursday! How Retro Are You?

When it comes to appreciating all things retro, we should live every day like it’s #TBT. And nothing says ‘retro’ quite like the tech of the ’80s and ’90s and all the glitches that went along with it. That little glitch you get when you rewind a VHS tape, having to blow into an NES cartridge to fix it, winding the ribbon back into cassette tapes…ahh yes, those were the days. And artist Vó Maria has perfectly captured the spirit of these tech problem days of yore.

We talked to Vó Maria about running an creative business with fellow Threadless artists Mathiole and Hafaell, his favorite decade, and about the significance of “April 25th, 1985”. Check it out below!

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What happened to your arm (besides the coolest cast art ever)?? And is it your drawing arm??

Oh, that broken arm? ‘Tis but a scratch! That is the result of my soccer skills. As you can see, not all Brazilians are that good in soccer. Lucky, that isn’t my drawing arm.

You have a studio with two other Threadless folks: Hafaell, and Mathiole! What does a typical day look like for you guys, and what is it like working together?

Yes, they are awesome, and one of the best professionals I’ve ever seen (you know how good they are!). Well, we used to be more focused on our studio and taking care of our brand “Verso”, but now things changed a little and we are taking different directions. But always together.


Tell me a little bit about this design!

I had this idea some time ago, seeing some vintage TV intros (awesome, btw). The glitch contest was a great chance to show it. The inspiration for the phrase came from Mathiole’s “OMG I’m so Retro” design (which was a best seller!), and he let me use it, since I wasn’t sure if it belonged to somebody else.

“So Retro” by Mathiole.
“Retro” on a slim phone case.

Story time: did anything particularly awesome happen on April 25th, 1985 at 3:48 that you want to rewind to?

Yes! Me! Excuse me, but you will be reminded of my birthday every time you use this shirt now.

A lot of your art has a retro focus – what’s your favorite decade? Why do you find it so inspiring?

Yes, I love old and retro stuff (my nickname is my Grandma’s name). Love the ’70s and ’80s. I like the effect of time over things, how things were difficult to achieve, and how the available technologies solved daily problems.

“Retro” on a beach towel.

Those days had brave men creating solutions from the scratch. Being so rare, things had more value, and the aesthetics of all this was SO original; that became an inspiration for me. I’m very curious about it and often want to go back in time and see how things were made. Those eighties-childhood-memories are important and inspiring to me. That nostalgia…I like it.

Same Old Shirt” as a sketch via Vó Maria’s Instagram.

You have so much amazing hand lettering and typography art – is this the kind of design you like to dabble in most?

Cool hand lettering via Vó Maria’s Instagram.

Yes, it is. My notebooks are filled with them. I’m not that good in composition or scenario or human figures, but I love typography. I like those hand drawn market signs showing prices. I like graffiti. Those capital roman letters perfectly engraved on the rock. Words carry meanings, and gain relevance with typography.

Do you prefer working digitally or with a pencil and paper?

I like both. My working flow always begins with hand drawn sketches, but the computer makes things easy. I couldn’t do glitch effects so easily by hand…

“Purrrsist!” in Vó Maria’s Artist Shop.

What’s your process for coming up with a shirt design?

“Happenis” in Vó Maria’s Artist Shop.

Ideas appear every time for me (this is good and bad, because I can’t always write them down). I try to see parodies of daily situations applied on shirts, and it seems to work. And lots and lots of ideas spread among sketches and annotations. Every time I see one on my mind, I try to write it down to finish later. Now I have an arsenal of them, but no time to finish haha

What’s your art and design philosophy?

I like creating stuff.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Follow me on Instagram.


Check out Vó Maria’s Artist Shop here!

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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.