“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”…and right on into this Artist Shop! For the winner of our Artist Shop challenge, we wanted to pick someone with a bold Shop chock full of designs to match. And John Tibbott (a.k.a @quick_brown_fox) totally took the cake, his Shop (kind of literally) dripping with style and a rad aesthetic that we love.
We talked to QBF about his Shop’s cool design, his designs, and all about the specific design from his Shop that he chose to feature on Threadless: “Blind Faith“. Check out the interview below!
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Congratulations on this win! How did you design your awesome Artist Shop?
What I love about Artist Shops the most is the customization. More than any other POD site, we get to give our Artist Shop an identity. At the time of the Shops going live, I’d redesigned my own personal site, so this is really an extension of that. I was even able to embed it onto a page into my own site.
You’ve had a whopping 40 designs selected on Threadless, that’s amazing! What was your first printed design? How has your style changed since your first print?
My first printed design was “Because I Can’t Forget“ which was for a challenge to design something inspired by a music video, I did that almost seven years ago – and it was inspired by Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes (seven & seven, spooky!)
Of all the challenges at Threadless I really enjoyed the Lowbrow Challenge. It led me down a path that enabled me to establish a style that combines a lot of the things I like, such as Pop Art, Popular Culture, vector art, halftones, bright colours and throwing in the odd random curveball elements.
You’ve submitted almost 600 designs – how do you keep your inspiration fresh? Do you have any submitted designs right now you’re excited about?
I get my inspiration from all over the place. I’m a graphic designer for my day job, so I’m thinking about things all day. I doodle things in my notepad and send myself emails to home with stupid ideas. Sometimes it could be a lyric in a song, a weird thing I’ve seen, a new style or technique I’d like to try out. I have a lot of books from gig poster compendiums to old type catalogues. I’ll often flick through books, blogs, Instagram and see something which sparks off an idea.
The design I’m most excited about is actually a slightly tweaked resubmission.
I created this a while ago, and last year I was approached by Joe Carr (@Isaboa) who I know through Threadless. These days Joe prints intaglio and letterpress through his business Antiquated Press and Melancholy Press. He asked if I was interested in him printing some of my work as letterpress prints, and I was over the moon with excitement. We worked together to get the piece (previously titled WTFalypse LOL) in a good state for the letterpress process. It was a complex job (for Joe more than me!) and ended up being an eight colour letterpress print. Which is super complex for a very manual printing process.
Tell me about your Shop! With all of the designs you have in general, how did you decide which designs to put in your Shop?
I had an email from Threadless awhile back asking me to chose some designs for the launch. I ended up making a shortlist of things that had scored well then asked for opinions. Since then, I’ve tweaked what’s in there, taking a few things that are out of stock in the Threadless collection. I also take requests, and the most recent addition “The Prettiest Star” was added because someone on instagram asked where they could buy it.
Why did you choose “Blind Faith” as the selected design to have on Threadless for the win?
This started a series which I’m still creating pieces for. I’m rather fond of the design and it received good feedback. The Artist Shop challenge made me look at my shop and I decided that the front page should better reflect the body of work I’d created since the Lowbrow Challenge I mentioned earlier. It also happened to be another of my designs which has also been printed as a letterpress piece.
How did you create the “Blind Faith” design? Where did the inspiration for it come from?
Sorry, if this gets a bit too serious, but we had a loss in the family last year, which was really difficult. Some of my thoughts following this ended up coming out in the work I was doing at the time. With this I was thinking about faith. How someone can live an unselfish, charitable life, but when it comes down to the end, they don’t get the divine intervention they deserve. Faith can be seen as a gamble, with no one really “knowing” what’s after, so yeah, that’s the dark corner of my mind this came from.
In terms of style, I’d been reading a little about folk art around the world and wanted to bring that in, as well as use the colour palette that I’d been using for a while.
“Get something out of the process of creating. Anything else that follows, such as a print or an Artist Shop sale is a bonus.”
How does your style as a professional designer differ from your personal style?
My day job can be very restrictive in terms of what is allowed. I work for clients in a variety of different industries, from engineering companies and interior designers, to food companies and inventors. The work is very varied, but the time we spend on something is restricted by budget.
Threadless, for me, is the antithesis of my day job. I can do anything and take as long as I want on it with no one to answer to! I like the loose themes of the challenges. “Make something weird”, “make a pin badge”, “draw something” – it’s always a creative challenge and keeps me coming back. There is some crossover, I quite often complete a design and think it will work as a series. I think this comes from my advertising background, where you think about campaigns rather than isolated ideas.
What advice do you have to fellow Artist Shop owners and artists?
Just do it! Make things that you enjoy making first of all. Set yourself a task to try a different style, choose a different subject matter, use a different technique, try different software, buy a new pen. Get something out of the process of creating. Anything else that follows, such as a print or an Artist Shop sale is a bonus.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I hate doing interviews and feel I write too much! Seriously though, a shout out to the people who were on Threadless when I first started who either helped, encouraged or inspired me: @isaboa @igo2cairo @spacesick @valorandvellum @ricomambo @nathanwpyle @d3d @pilihp @inkdummy @againstbound @opifan64 @ibyes @Bio Bot 9000 @frickinawesome @aled @littlem @mathiole @BurritoGoblin @arzie13 @jublin @sonmi @soloyo @goliath72 @twiggyhall @taz-pie @beanepod @blue sparrow @v_calahan @sweet n sour @fightstacy @theinfamousbaka @agrimony @Yaah @manupix @Ryder @jeffreyg @farnell @wharton @jimdahousecat @andyg @mezo @Gar0 @ibyes @mr-rocks @tesco @thepapercrane @artrocity @speakerine @resistance @jean_warhol @jess4002 @alvarejo @staffell @bramish @coyote_alert @L-M-N-O-P @nickv47 @morkki @Dick Firestorm @dschwen @speedyjvw and of course, @skaw