T-Shirt Pop-Up : Artist Focus

T-shirts offer a platform for expressing individual tastes, political messages and the work of emerging artists. As part of an ongoing series, we’re taking the time to look more closely at the stand out styles of the year, whilst finding out more about the artists behind the designs.

Graphic tees have had a playful makeover for the new season with cartoon-style illustrations featuring from a variety of street, skate and lifestyle brands, opting for layered screen prints, emphasised with embroidered accents and a focus on rich, vibrant colourways. The t-shirt remains a commonly used platform for expressing individual tastes, campaigns, political messages and the work of emerging artists. Since it first became a popular fashion item in the ‘70s, construction and silhouette has changed very little but the reliability and versatility of a cotton t-shirt remains key in its eternal appeal. Like the majority of collections this year, it’s no surprise that graphics look particularly to the ‘90s era, which perhaps indicates at a rising cultural desire for simpler times without technology - supported by childlike humour, lighthearted artwork and cartoon references.

Admired for their distinguished design style across apparel, videography and photography as well as their multi-talented, international skate team, the latest drop and upcoming summer collection sees Polar Skate Co utilise tees, sweats and hardware as the perfect backdrop for new artwork from regular artists Hjalte Halberg, Emile Laurent and Pontus Alv. Now presenting every season, ‘Jacob’s Corner’ introduces a comedic representation of life’s darker topics through engaging childish illustrations from Jacob Ovgren, who heads up the brand’s graphic department.

Inspired by time spent skating city streets, the Polar Trashcan T-Shirt graphic designed by Malmö based artist Jacob Ovgren.

Similarly, The Quiet Life incorporates input from a host of creatives admired by founder Andy Mueller and this summer sees a capsule of print designs from multidisciplinary artist, Beth Hoeckel. A collective of imagery such as bananas, shells, paint brush strokes and snakes feature, portraying her experimental identity which is often represented through collage scenes built using cut outs from vintage publications. Hoeckel draws inspiration from travel, nature and dreams, often leaving interpretation open to the viewer.

The Hoeckel T-Shirt as part of the Beth Hoeckel x The Quiet Life summer 19 collab.

Regularly seen as a launch pad for many artists to engage a wider audience by using the wearer as a walking poster, renowned Dutch artist Pieter ‘Parra’ Janssen ensures that his art remains accessible to the masses across a selection of mediums. Originally a pro skater, Jansen is well known within the international art community and uses a combination of his skillful use of colour with a custom silk screen technique to further accentuate each design. Whilst many of us don’t require a giant statue of Rustico The Great, it’s refreshing to see Parra continuing to experiment between mediums and push the boundaries of what he is able to create.   

Recognised for his use of blue tones, the Indy Tuck Knee T-Shirt from by Parra. 

Having caught up with Garth Mariano of Lo-Fi earlier in the year over on our sister site Always in Colour, we remain blown away by his use of content sourced by hand from markets and thrift stores, which equals impactful graphics across all three of his labels - including the more skate driven Butter Goods and Cash Only. Musical references are prominent as the leading creative influence for the team, which is obvious across styles such as the Butter Goods Jazz Applique Crewneck Sweatshirt, and less so when incorporated with diverse illustrations influenced by nature, history and pop culture, resulting in an intriguing array of prints with a distinctive Butter Goods vibe.

Paying homage to Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland’s track of the same name ‘Ain’t No Love… In the Heart of The City’ first released in 1974.

Shop all t-shirts at Flatspot.