Thursday, December 2, 2010

diy: how to be your own basquiat via a t-shirt

face it. the t-shirt will never go out of style. but, let's say you're looking for something a little more unique than something from fred segal or kitson (gag-g-g). where can you get a simple black tee that says "fuck you, gaga" in cursive, or a brush stroked portrait of an anatomically correct teddy bear? from your own living room, that's where.
here's what you'll need.
- a can of white water based primer from home depot (tip: this is great to use in place of gesso if a canvas painting you've worked on has gone awry)

- a paint stirrer (get this before you leave home depot)
- tee any color than white
- paint brush with thickness you feel comfortable with
- newspaper
- brown paper bag
- a pre-drawn design

lay out the newspaper on your work space. insert the paper bag inside your tee to prevent any of the paint to fuse with the back of the tee as it dries. also, this will prevent the art from soaking sadly and randomly into the back of your tee. 
make sure the primer is mixed well with the stirrer. you'll know it's at a workable consistency when it no longer looks like yogurt separated from whey.
i like to position my sketch on top of the tee to guestimate where the center is, and proper placement. if you really want to be anal, use tailor chalk to mark where the art will go. 
remove your sketch, and go for it. don't worry about it being "perfect". any graphic designer can work and rework art until it looks like a 16 year old will blow her allowance on it. this is supposed to look like a painted doodle, carefree and street. the fabric will most likely shift depending on the pressure your nerves are making you work. try to be gentle and know that you're using a paint brush so anything can be a happy accident. and to quote my pal jorge (he's an incredible artist), "imperfections are what make it unique." 

here are 2 that i've done:
to get the stringy streaks, dip the paint stirrer in the tin, and let it drizzle over the shirt from about 8" above the tee.
yeah, i know. hot topic ruined skulls. BUT not a gentleman skull with a cigarette, bow tie, and eyepatch. (other things that have been ruined: "hot mess", "fabulous", sparrows, and some gold jewelry {but i still like it}) 

please feel free to send me pictures of your work. and have fun.

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