Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Flirts With Shirts

Humpday. Let's take a break from Baybayin bombin' for a second.

My path in art has been a rather erratic one; graffiti vandalism, stencil art, photo manipulation, vector art, graphic design, acrylic paintings, and every once in a while... t-shirts. I remember the very first time I ever saw a shirt being "custom designed" was when a 4-yr old version of myself gleefully brought home my cub-scout shirt-kit: an orange polo and an iron-on-patch of the cub scouts logo. My grandfather would happily iron on my cub-scout patch onto that husky pumpkin-orange polo shirt of mine... it was magical.

Later down the road in high school, one of my cousins would be the first on the block to bootleg Nike shirts and Reebok tees for himself by printing out their logos onto iron-on print-out sheets. Printable iron-on sheets was new at the time, so it was kind of a big deal. Forget that they were just logo-tees, they looked pretty legit! Around 2003, I very much wanted to buy an "I *heart* Hip Hop" shirt, but could never find one of the right font or heart shape to my liking. But what I did have was a grip of white tees, a printer, and some iron-on print sheets...

I <3 Hip hop shirt

No, I did not intend for it to look grunge-ish with the type, that's just how it looks like after 6 years of existence... and sadly, it's been lowered to undershirt status. But every now and then, it sees sunlight. The next year, when I joined the Purdue Filipino Association, I was of few members that had access to Photoshop at the time and thus became the designated graphics guy. The 2004-2005 PFA shirts would then come to fruition:

PFA shirt 04-05

Horrible... but it was cool at the time. The next year, I would redeem myself with the 2005-2006 PFA baseball shirt (aka 3/4 length sleeve shirt):

PFA shirt 05-06

I would later learn that a different opacity of the same color is still charged as 2-colors...

PFA shirt 05-06 detail

PFA shirt o5-06 (back)

Later on the same year, word through the bamboo would travel and I would later get picked up to do the Asian Student Union Board's first logo design and shirt design as well, to commemorate ASUB's "spring olympics"... which I never attended. Also, this shirt is the cleanest one too, as it's always been too small and thus never worn.

ASUB shirt 2006

ASUB shirt 2006 detail

ASUB shirt 2006 (back)

I graduated from Purdue in 2006, so that was the end of the student organization shirt designs... or so I thought. Earlier this year, as my work with Baybayin education throughout the Fil-Am collegiate community would build, I'd try my crack at it once again with Indiana University's FSA shirts:

And lastly, my most previous efforts came to realization earlier this week for The Boxing Club at UCLA:

UCLA boxing club shirt 2009

Boxing club at UCLA's team shirts


People always ask if I'm ever going to put my Baybayin work on clothes, and I always tell them that the market isn't there... but it is. Baybayin can be stylized into abstract beautiful goodness, or it can be turned into the next trendy-eye sore. My main issue is this: I have ideas, but I feel like I'm not quite as articulate with design as I'd like to be to fully express and present something I'd be proud to show. I'm not going to sell any piece that I'm not proud of, regardless how many people claim to love it... My latest shirts, the UCLA boxing tee and the I.U. FSA shirts show me that I'm making good progress, and I'm almost there... almost... f*cking almost. But oddly enough, I'm satisfied that I'm unsatisfied; it shows that my taste is still clear enough to tell when my own work isn't where I'd like to be. And thus... I fear the day when I'm in love with my own shit.

Stay up,



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