‘Weird’ art on shirts
Artist Tope Java felt the need to create his own brand of T-shirts with contemporary and, at times, “weird” art.
He put up Glitchgrafiks five months ago as an online store and has been involved in each aspect of the business.
“I’m all around. Everything in the business is my work – from designing to silk-screen printing, even modeling the shirts,” he said.
Initially, he said his market was limited to his friends or people who personally knew him. Slowly, friends of friends came to know about his brand. Eventually, even people he didn’t know bought his shirts.
Now, Java said his customers come from Cebu and Manila as well as from Thailand and Singapore.
“Okay man ilang feedback. Ganahan ra sila sa tela og sa design (Their feedback is okay. They like the cloth and the design),” he said.
Some customers observed that his designs were familiar. Tope said this is because he used to design for Artwork.
“Ako ma’y designer sa Artwork sa una. Mao man na akong agi sukad sa una – why do I need to change, to separate myself from Artwork nga mao man na akong agi (I used to design for Artwork. That has been my drawing style even before I started with Artwork. Why do I need to change, to separate myself from Artwork when that is really how I draw)?” he said.
He started drawing in high school, designing and printing Citizens Army Training (CAT) shirts. In college, he designed and printed Physical Education (PE) or National Service Training Program (NSTP) shirts.
After college, he found a job at Artwork. It was where he learned the ropes of running a business.
Java has collaborated with several artists, such as Jan Sunday from local band Tiger’s Pussy, to create and print special shirt designs.
He bared plans to open a physical store, but will concentrate on the online store for now.
First and foremost, the business is an outlet for his creativity, he said.
“What I like and who I am as an artist is what appears in my works,” he said.
“Some people will appreciate it, some will not, but the people who do appreciate it understand the art,” he added.
The shirts are sold for P300.00. Within this month, Java said he will introduce premium tees – heather grey, v-neck T-shirts – at P550.00 each. He accepts print orders. Glitchgrafiks is on Facebook.
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