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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Off to Africa!

Just wanted to let you all know that it's been a great year here at Sharp Shirter, and we'll be spending the Christmas vacations in South Africa. I'll be checking my emails regularly and will be back on January 5th to start it all up again.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Richmond Handmade Holiday

Just got back from the Richmond Handmade Holiday
@ Planet Zero. It was a really great show for such a rainy day. Here's a short vid of the layout

What we've been up to...

The last couple weeks at Sharp Shirter have been crazy busy and brutally cold. I was hoping for that Indian Summer thing to continue, but I guess that wasn't in the game plan upstairs. My mannequin Ralph received the brunt end of the blow so to speak. Here's a shot of his dying moments @ Eastern Market last weekend
That's a completely unstaged photo (I have John from Fuzy Ink as my witness)

Luckily, I was still able to keep up a bit of a social life in doors. After my show at the National Portrait Gallery I swung by my friend Fawna's exhibition at Maryland University. Here's her standing next to my favorite piece of hers
She's got a really awesome thing going with her screen prints. I really think she should start her own t-shirt company... You can check out all of her work here: fawnax

That's it for now. I'm staying in nice and warm packing up some last minute orders for Christmas


Friday, December 3, 2010

The Most Fearless Animal On The Planet

I was just kicking back for the night, when I saw a message from my buddy 'Dre, the owner of On Us Tees. He challenged/threatened me to make a Honey Badger t-shirt (or else he would). I had never heard of the creature before, but it seems to be quite the character.

Check this video out:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Origins of the T-shirt

Okay, so I’ve been making t-shirts for the last 4 years, but today of all days it dawned on me, I know nothing about the history of the t-shirt. I’ve been using terms like American Apparel, tri-blend, 100% cotton and other industry jargon without ever stepping back and asking myself “What does it mean?” (Double Rainbow?)

Granted it might not be the most interesting topic, but if you’ve been doing something for a really long time and never wondered how it started, I suggest you take a moment to ponder.

I just finished doing some digging around and here are the cliff notes:

The t-shirt made its debut as an undergarment during the 1800s. During this period, minors cut what was originally a one-piece union suit into a 2-piece item. The top part (what we now call the tee), was tucked into the waist and could be conveniently removed in hot environments.

Some years later, the tee became popular as a slip on garment when the U.S. Navy issued their creation during the Spanish American War. These original tees were worn by Marines in tropical climates or down in submarines. Some have speculated that the Navy got this slip on tshirt idea from the dock crews and helping hands.

The name “T-shirt” came about due to the actual shape of the item. It’s popularity grew thanks to its easy fit, low maintenance cleaning and cheap cost. It became quite common to see young boys wearing them since they tended to get dirty on a regular basis. By the time of the Great Depression, the tee had become a regular trend and was regularly worn by ranchers and other blue collar workers.

It was only by the 1960s that the t-shirt became a medium for displaying artwork. One pioneer in this field was a psychedelic art poster designer named Warren Dayton. He became famous from his political protests shirts featuring Cesar Chavez and other iconic figures.

Today, the t-shirt is now worn as the only layer on the top half of the body. The tee is used as a medium to express oneself, advertise, or to just keep a low profile.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Origins of the Haymaker

When we first printed our bear punch t-shirt back in 2008, we had no idea of the epic following that it would gain. I remember receiving my first order of the Haymaker t-shirts in the mail and showing them to my friends and family. Everyone in my immediate circle thought that it was just your average bear punch t-shirt, but luckily they don’t make up my bear vs. lumberjack enthused customers.

Once the lumberjack punching bear t-shirt made its debut at a local craft show in DC, things started picking up. It’s been the leading item in my company for two years straight. One part of me feels like “Ok guys, I’ve got a lot of new stuff that doesn’t feature a dude punching a bear…” but the other part of me is like “Woohoo!”

So what does this bear punching tee mean? Some have speculated that the lumberjack character is Paul Bunyon, Chuck Norris or maybe someone they know like a grandfather, brother or boyfriend. Others notice the Russian script on the bear’s body and think that since it’s an American looking dude punching the bear, it represents the Cold War in a t-shirt image (American kicking Russia’s ass). Since we kept the facial details really abstract, there’s no straight answer to any of these questions…

My favorite moment with the haymaker t-shirt has to be when a guy named Voltaire Casino swung by my booth in Eastern Market rocking the haymaker hoodie. He asked me “Are you the bear punch dude?” and I answered yes. He then whipped out his iPhone and flipped to his photo section. He had over 100+ photos of friends and other random people that he met on his trip across America all wearing the bear punch hoodie. I was blown away and felt compelled to give away a free Haymaker iPhone case on the spot for such random dedication.

This is the kind of stuff that keeps me going through the week when I’m stuck in my man cave working on new designs to release. One of these designs happens to be a potential sequel to the man punching bear phenomenon. I can only hope for it to be 1/2 as good as the original...

Friday, November 26, 2010

If you don't know Bas Rutten...

Last weekend I was hanging out with my best buds Will & Ben watching some good ol’ UFC at the bar. While waiting around for the UCF 123 to kick off the topic of pre-UFC fighting came up. I’m definitely all caught up on my facts about modern day mixed martial arts, but I had only seen a couple of clips of the old school Japanese leagues. This is when Ben spoke two golden words: Bas Rutten.

He’s a Deutch Thai Boxing champion from the Pancrase league that was way before my time. You have to check out this Best of Bas youtube clip:

My initial reaction was that this stuff was as fake as WWF but after some heavy Wikipedia-ing I found out that it’s the real deal. The best sentence in the article has to be:

During his MMA career he became known for two particular things: his fondness of liver shots and his habit of doing a jumping split after winning a fight."

Oh man, I’m so inspired to get another Haymaker epic t-shirt going…

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Do you know the Jesus Lizard?

My biggest inspiration for making new t-shirts has to be National Geographic. I love kicking back with a brew and letting my mind wander as I learn about new creatures and their strange abilities. I recently bumped into a lizard with the ability to run on water. Check this video out:

I don’t think I’ll be able to use it on a t-shirt since the religious theme would definitely mess with sales, but I’m really glad I found it nonetheless!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Struggling or Next Best Creation?

Each week when I go shopping down Temptation Lane (aka the candy aisle), I like to play one of my favorite games “Struggling or Next Best Creation?”

The rules are pretty straightforward. A candy company releases a new product and I take on the self-appointed role as candy critique.

Take Reese’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup for example

You see, dark chocolate is much more of an adult choice, and combining it with rich creamy peanut butter is a winning recipe. I like the subtle remodeling of a household candy so I gotta give it a “Next Best Creation” status.

On the other hand, our good friends over @ Willy Wonka tried to drop Nerd’s Rope on us way back in the 00’s. I’m not quite sure why they decided to take us down a gummy path, which is totally out of their element, but it was one of the worst oral experiences that I can remember. Definitely a “Struggling” status on that one.

If you have any new candies for me to critique, drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to give it a go.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Trick Winter!!

I don't know about you, but here in DC we've been blessed with an Indian Winter. With temperatures staying a lot warmer than last year, we'd like to continue the trend by offering 4 of our tees at $15 a piece through Friday.

Men's Tees

women's tees

We're also throwing our Cycling Fish Dress into the sale!

Cycling FIsh

Hope to fill your closet soon.....


Monday, November 15, 2010

Detectives Release

We just got in our newest men’s t-shirt “Detectives” and it’s making a run for taking on our all-time best seller “The Haymaker.”

The Detectives tee was created by Morgan Lappin, a crazy-cool dude hailing from Brooklyn NY. I’ve spent a couple of nights crashing on his couch, and let me tell you, this guy is never at a lost for inspiration. His speciality is taking different pieces of artwork from various encyclopedias or VHS covers and melding them together into iconic pieces of art.

This one's one of my favs:

I first saw the Detectives design as a one color tee that Morgan was selling on his Etsy site under the name Grand Wazoo. As soon as he showed me the original collage that he was selling as a print, I immediately knew that this was the way the t-shirt was meant to be.

Since I’ve got a team of experienced printers, I had the capability of making the Detectives collage into a full colored tee print. Morgan & I are both thrilled with the result and are joyfully basking in sales.

I can’t wait to do another tshirt with this guy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

UFC saved my life (but I’m sure it will take plenty of others)

Before I found UFC, I was never really hooked on a sport. Sure I’d watch the first couple games of the Deadskins each season before they would break my heart yet again, and the World Cup’s a good time when it comes around, but four years is a long time to wait!Then one lazy couch potato night a couple years back, I found UFC and everything changed.

I must admit that it was a bit like watching road kill at first. With each punch knocking out a good chunk of a rivaling alpha male’s 2nd grade math skills, I couldn’t help but feel sick as I would vicariously take the same punch on the couch. But I just couldn’t take my eyes of the screen. This is true natural selection at its finest! 2 bros in a cage with close to no rules, fighting for survival until the other submits to his brute dominance.

Just to clear things up, the UFC is not fake. Sure I said the same thing about WWF when I was 8, but back then I believed in a lot of other crazy things... (For the record, I still believe in David Blaine, so please do not attempt to disprove his hovering powers in my presence).

Let’s just say that there’s no faking a broken orbital (see the Brandon Vera v. Jon Jones knockout if you don’t believe me).

So what makes a well-educated suburban kid fall in love with such a primitive sport? you may ask yourself. I’m not really quite sure when I made the switch to UFC fanatic, but something just snapped in me after I witnessed enough brain poundage. It’s a bit like Stanly Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange. After enough exposure to freaky violence, you just start craving more.

Each month I have the pleasure of gearing up for yet another UFC bout with some extreme title like “Relentless” or “Unforgiving”. “YESS!!!” I declare as I pound my fist on the nearest object. This is what I’ve been waiting for! I like to label my UFC watching time as work time. As elbows and knees are raining down on helpless victims, I’m sitting back, daydreaming about t-shirt ideas and how I can apply this violence to a t-shirt.

That’s how we got to designs such as The
Haymaker aka Bear Punch, or the Rhino Hunter (When Animals Attack! Part 6). I’m lucky to say that my favorite pastime has now become a source of my livelihood. I can’t wait to clock in again tonight as Marquardt takes on Okami. Showtime baby.

Friday, November 12, 2010

5 albums to take to a desert island?

If someone put a gun to your head and said "You're going to a desert island and you can pack 5 full length CDs (no various compilations allowed)" What would you bring?

Here's my list (In no particular order):

1. Radiohead - Kid A

I know, I know...No brainer right? Radiohead is almost mandatory for any kid of my generation to call their favorite band. But the truth is...they are. I can't fight being lumped in with the crowd on this one. When the first chords from "Everything in it's Right Place" come on, I always get a chill down my spine. This album will never get old no matter how many times I listen to it.

2. M.I.A - Arular

I'd consider M.I.A my second celebrity girlfriend. Bjork had been starting to get a bit too strange with the Swan Dress & her full on attack of the reporter at the airport, so I had to call it quits and switch over to Maya... I used to blast Bucky Dun Gun in the photo lab @ school in DC, and I remember all the girls would gang up on me and say "What are we listening to??" They flipped the stereo back to hot 99.5 as soon as I stepped out of the dark room to check out a developed photo. All I got to say to these girls is "Look who's on hot 99.5 now suckers!" (I am not saying that I like XXXO. I'm simply stating that I had her blasting before the mainstream stations did). Arular isn't a cohesive album necessarily. It just happens to be a hit after hit record with no need to skip tracks like most one hit wonder albums I listen to. Additionally there's a hypnotic quality in listening to Maya's childish sounding voice talking about murder, ransom and gun shots. I hope Maya gets her mojo back for the next album she does...

3. Sneaker Pimps- Becoming X

The Sneaker Pimps are wayy too underrated. Every review I've read says that SP came to the trip hop scene long after the path had been paved by Massive Attack & Tricky. Granted, there's chronological truth to this statement, but SP shouldn't have to be compared to the originators of a genre. What the Sneaker Pimps brought to the sound happens to be my all time favorite female vocalist: Kelli Ali.
The combination between Chris Corner's soundscape and Kelli's vocals are killer. 6 Underground is probably my all time favorite song period. Too bad, Chris pulled the carpet from under Kelli's feeet and kicked her out of the band after the first album. Chris's vocals are very good, but nowhere near Kelli's.

4. Blur- 13

Other than the track Coffee & TV, this album flew under most listener's radars. Coming from some suburban Brits, the decision to make an album themed on cowboys is definitely a curveball. This being said, the boys completely pulled it off and made the album into a 13 track masterpiece. Starting off with the gospel love ballad Tender and then switching right into the staticy rock song Bugman the listener gets pulled every which way and is never sure of what to expect in terms of musical genre and sheer velocity. Definitely a trippy album to your hands on.

5. NIN- The Fragile

If you didn't already know this, my Honda Fit runs on NIN. I have every single Halo album and the entire collection takes up a solid 10% of my iPhone's music space. I have yet to miss death-gripping my car wheel and rocking out to this 2 disk masterpiece on any one of my many road trips.

You see, locking yourself up in a house in New Orleans for five years to write an album can lead to a number of things (insanity, madness, confusion, anger, fear...). In this case, Trent's destination happens to be all of the above!
This album bleeds emotional distress, but with such a solid vocalist and steadily grinding industrial instruments, you can't help but feel that you can relate to where Trent's coming from. If I had to chose the best track to rep the album, I'd go with

Into The Void

To make things more awe-inspiring, the entire NIN ensemble consists of....well...just Trent Reznor. He's a one man band in the studio, and when on tour he brings instrumentalists along with the criteria that he is able to physically push them around (this was something he said in an interview during the Downward Spiral tour).

I developed a late stage Trent Reznor man crush at the end of high school, and I still find myself trolling youtube many a late night to track down unreleased NIN footage and the like. I sure hope Trent puts together something half-way decent with his new band and wife-team Mariqueen How To Destroy Angels...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Haymaker t-shirt is now a trademark definition?

  • I was just stumbling around on the internet and ran into an entire definition about the Haymaker t-shirt:

The Bear Punch Shirt (tm). broadly speaking, it’s a type of t-shirt displaying subject matter that for some reason or another attracts men like a bug zapper on a louisiana swamp. it’s typically showcases a graphic that is somewhat polarizing in that there are people that “get it” and “don’t get it,” which makes it easy to weed out uninteresting, unfunny, and unlikely candidates. it’s a t-shirt that makes friends, turns heads, and ellicits an upward facing thumb from strangers. it’s your new go-to, going-out, outfit. it should be a staple of any female’s wardrobe - regarded with the same reverence as the little black dress. in fact, i will venture to say that it could be the most important article of clothing you ever own. why search endlessly for the perfect, monotone frock and bear the blisters of a pair of slingback pumps when all you really need is a man punching a bear to pique the interest of the opposite sex?

It’s important to establish some ground rules to purchasing The Bear Punch Shirt (tm). if you go too far down the path of irony, you could risk being taken seriously. the wrong subject matter could put you in danger of attracting boys with eyeliner or men with grey matter that rivals the size of their belt buckle. it takes a few tries to get it right, but once you do, you too can be high fived by whole foods’ employees, receive flirtacious custom latte-art and approached by painfully shy cashiers of independent bookstores.


  • it should not contain rainbows, unless they are being vomitted by a wild animal.
  • anything with a beard or elaborate mustache will receive high marks.
  • bands should generally be avoided.
  • metallica and guns and roses are exceptionally poor choices.
  • choose bears over polar bears. wolves over coyotes. technics over atari.

  • there should not be any danger of running into another woman wearing your same Bear Punch Shirt (tm) on the street, let alone in a bar.
  • it should not boast a city.
  • it needs to be a plain, no bullshit tee.
  • it should be a t-shirt that your target wishes he owned.
  • upon first wear, if you don’t receive three comments, you’ve failed to purchase an adequateBear Punch Shirt (tm).

if the pressure of finding a Bear Punch Shirt (tm) of your own is simply overwhelming, i suggest just buying The Bear Punch Shirt (tm) that’s linked above. just don’t let me see you walking down my street with it on.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hot Air Bubbles- A or B?

Having a tough time deciding how to print this new design and would love some input!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Haymaker Obsession!

I bumped into an awesome fan last week named Voltaire Casino (that's his real name!) and he was like "You're the guy with the bear punch shirt?" I said "Yup" and then he pulled out his iPhone and showed me 104 photos of people that he had met wearing my hoodie.

That made my week!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Artscape 2010

Check us out! We upgraded to an in-house dj!

Friday, January 1, 2010

How Should I print this??

Mathiole just finished a new design for us. I'm trying to figure out if we should just print it as a men's tee or do men's & women's. Here's a mockup: