ART TO WEAR T-SHIRTS
Back in the 1980’s, before the internet, and as an artist with no connections, I could send (by postal mail) examples of my work to big department stores and get a meeting!
I sold my t-shirt designs to Nordstrom department store, and to many boutiques in California in Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Studio City. In 1988, I received a wonderful letter from Saks 5th Avenue in New York after sending them photos of my t-shirts. They said my designs are unlike anything they’ve seen, and have been selling more whimsical motifs, and to contact their reps in LA and show them what I’m doing, because they’re always looking for new great work!
For my art to wear line, I started with my necklace designs on t-shirts, then I started to put some of my Greco series designs of athletic figures on t-shirts, swim cover-ups, and workout clothes. (I also made a few custom art to wear painted garments on commission from my abstract series, but decided to limit my abstract series to paintings not to clothing.)
I found it increasingly difficult to be the artist/designer, manufacture of the clothing, make and attach custom hang tags and labels, and also represent my work to buyers. I really wanted to just focus on the designing aspect as an artist, but it was quite a kick to go to stores and see my designs on the racks and in a display window!
After a number of years, the wholesale/retail clothing business changed, local large retail chains were not longer just buying for their local stores, all the buying was done out of New York, so I then decided to focus on my two styles of paintings instead, rather than also designing clothing, logos, and stationary. (My experience came in handy when designing and making t-shirts for our martial arts studio.)
Art is a family affair though the generations . . . One t-shirt design was one my grandfather made, that my grandmother embroidered on a dress she made for my mom. I turned that into a design to silkscreen on clothing. Another design I called “At the French Cafe” I worked on with my mom, and has a very different look. As my mom’s talent lies more with life drawing and painting, including sculpting, and mine with more graphic design elements, more like my grandfather. Now my daughter and I work on many creative projects together with videos, photos, social media, painting, and writing.
Keeping art in the family!