In the world of social media, Thursdays have officially become known for one thing: a walk down memory lane. Whether it’s revisiting childhood memories, old photos with friends, or just something funny from the week before, as long as it happened in the past, it’s eligible to be shared with the super popular hashtag #TBT. In honor of throwin’ it back on Thursdays, we launched the #TBTee design challenge to give our community a chance to relish in a little nostalgia. Today we get to learn a little more about the awesome winning design, “Rude Rainbow”, and the artist herself, MidnightCoffee. Check out the interview below, and shop the new design here!
Thanks so much! I never know what to say in these situations, mostly because I find myself terribly boring. Just the usual stuff, I guess? I live in a really small town where there’s not a whole lot going on besides trees, so I’m very close to hermit status. I’m 26 and in full throttle mid life crisis mode. I talk to myself a lot, but mostly I keep it within the confines of my own head, so at least I have the appearance of being normal. I like cats, but I have a dog that kind of acts like a cat, so that’s cool. I also enjoy drinking coffee, at midnight (woah!), and obsessing over random things into the wee hours of the morning.
How did you get into art, and why is it a big part of your life?
I used to draw all the time when I was a kid, but I fell out of it for a long stretch in my early 20’s. I got a job that payed the bills and sort of fell asleep. When I started it back up, I realized how much I loved and missed it. Like reading, art is an awakening. It allows you to look past the day to day, or see things in an entirely different light. It encourages thought, creativity, and exploration. For me, it’s essential.
I don’t know what came first – the chicken or the egg? The idea was there and the challenge was there. They fit, so I submitted.
Are you a nostalgic person? If so, what are some of your fave memories from the past?
I actually have a really horrible memory, but my mom went through a big videotaping phase, so I have a pretty good documentation of my childhood. It’s strange though, watching yourself and having no recollection of ever doing those things. In one video, I was riding in my little red wagon and accidentally fell on my head… maybe that’s where it all started. The things I do remember pretty clearly are watching a lot of PBS (Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street, The Magic School Bus), holing up in my room to read or draw, and replaying Total Recall (kind of ironic) over and over again.
A million ways? Damn. For me, it was the only one; it seemed like the perfect pairing. The idea actually came to me while watching my little brother play video games. I understand that video games have their own merit, but the kid is constantly on some sort of technological device. The way he was playing, slack jawed and eyes glazed, suddenly struck me as terrifying. I wanted to do this design as a tribute to one of my favorite shows as a kid, but also as a reminder to everyone (and myself) that sometimes you just need to turn off your TV, put down your phone, shut down your computer, and read a fucking book. I think now, with the huge influx of electronic stimuli surrounding us, it’s more important than ever.
Would you mind taking us through the process of creating this design?
Once I had the idea, the process was pretty straight forward. I wanted it to be vintage Reading Rainbow, so I looked to their old logo and tried to mimic the flow in the lettering and style. Formatting was a bit of a problem at first, so I brought it to the community in a WIP thread. SteveOramA pointed out a few things that helped immensely (thanks!), and from there it was just a matter of finding the right feel and color combo.
I was a huge fan. Beyond it having one of the catchiest song title sequences I have ever heard, it was just a really smart, well rounded show. It explored books, music, history, and concepts in an engaging way. Instead of just teaching me how to read, it fostered my love and excitement for reading. Also, LeVar Burton was/is a babe.
What were your fave books as a kid?
It was basically anything by Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, and R.L. Stine. A few other favorites, more specifically, were The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, The Chronicles of Narnia, the Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales, and of course, the Harry Potter series.
Haha! Well, I’d like to think he’d dig it. My design is just a blunt way of saying what he’s been preaching all along.
Any other shout-outs?
Hey, Ma! Also, I just want to take the time to thank the whole Threadless community. Everyone is absolutely incredible. Just being around all this talent and creativity has pushed me tremendously. I feel like I’m growing all the time, and I’m so grateful for it.