Can you start by giving some background about yourself? Where you are from? What is your background? How did you get into design?
My name is Steve, I was born and raised in New Jersey. I was always into sports, video games and drawing. Not the best mix but I made do. I always had two sets of friends. Ones that liked to play outside and the ones who liked to play inside.
I've always been a geek in one way or another. If I wasn't geeked out on a video game at the moment I would probably be geeked out over lifting weights. I know what your thinking… how can you consider lifting weights a thing to geek out over. It's simple, like everything I love in my life I made sure to go all out.
I would stay up all hours researching work out methods on top of my obsession with movies, skateboarding, baseball, video games and so on. I read comics a lot, but I think it wasn't until I discovered Manga in the late 90s that I really progressed as an artist. I started out with fan drawings and as I got through art school and fashion school is when I evolved into the artist you see today.
I worked for a bunch of huge fashion brands and currently work at a rather large fashion company as a graphic designer. This tee design interest has become sort of my ultimate freelance hobby. Also I go to conventions every year and I am happy to say this next NYC con coming up I will be entering as an artist and not just a fan!
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
The bathroom usually haha… I do my best work when I'm not thinking about anything. An idea just pops into my head and then I make sure to write it down or find references immediately.
I am well versed with a library of useless information. It's a vast library too that I keep overstocking everyday with more info I learned on the internet and from watching tv. If I ever lose sight of inspiration I go to the comic shop or this awesome Korean book store in NYC.
First step for me is the idea. I usually have the shirt title in my head before I take the next step. Then I plan out the compesition with this notebook filled with mini shirt sketches. Once my thumbnail is done I start to research references, styles, fonts and color palettes. Once I'm happy with what I have I start penciling.
If I suffer from bad pencil hand I would ink over my pencils with a sharpie. I scan my sharpie or pencil into the computer and begin vectorizing in Illustrator. Depending on where I'm subbing and how many colors I can use I tend to keep all work in Illustrator.
An example of this would be my new work in progress titled "Punks Not Dead" (A Collab with Adam Tyler)
Recently I have been submitting to Design By Humans where I have been getting into photoshop paint techniques and massive layering. Examples of this type of work would be my 2 newest submits: and "Moonlight" (Collab with Adam Tyler)
This interview came to me at the perfect time because here are the Tees themselves and links to where you can vote on them… if you like them of course 🙂
Eye of the Tiger: Click Here to Vote
Moonlight: Click Here To Vote
Punks Not Dead: Click Here To Vote
Looking at your own portfolio what is your favourite design and why?
I think the obvious choice would be Doctorama because it was so well received and the reach that shirt had was immense. I never imagined I would make a t-shirt in my first month that had reached over a couple million eyes. Also the fact that I have been an avid Simpsons fan since 1989 and have been drawing everyone I know into Simpson characters says a lot about my connection to the art itself.
I also have to give credit where it's due. My friend Randy (RtoFirefly) came up with that idea and gave me the blessing to work on it. However my favorite tee that I worked on so far was Plumbers of the Carribean (A Collab with Brando). I love drawing Nintendo characters. I find this one was one of my biggest challenges as far as drawing a cool perspective with flat character models. I love the way Brando shaded it with his crisp lines, only he can achieve with his Corel program.
What current projects are you working on now? And can we get a exclusive peek?
1st thing I'm trying to finish is this design for charity and no I'm sorry I cannot reveal that just yet 🙂 I always update my fan page with breaking news, WIPs and other fun things I'm working on so as long as you follow my page I will never keep secrets from you.
Second piece I'm working on is in Teegs masterful hands. Let's just say we are giving the fans what they want and adding Vegeta to our Nouveau collection. I can only show Goku for now, but if you liked this one and if you are a fan of Vegeta than I think you will love the new one.
Finally, I have something I can actually show you… Who-llywood Squares I think this WIP is self-explanatory. I'm currently fleshing out the characters to go in their individual squares and keep the piece as comical as possible. This is another great idea bestowed to me by my buddy, Randy.
Do you try to convey any message in your designs?
My message has always been CoD. I'm trying to develop a brand around the name – Create or Destroy. I am called Create or Destroy Designs for now as I am acting as a studio where I pump out funny designs based on what the fans and myself enjoy. When I became more recognizable I will then focus my attention on the intricacies of the actual brand becoming it's own line of apparel.
The message of Create or Destroy stems from my roots as a happy, hyper, creative, and destructive kid. I'm full of energy and I love creating new things. I also love destroying things in the sense of the purist form of skateboarding. To destroy or shred and create that wow factor.
Skateboarding culture as well as many other cultures have influenced my branding and will continue to do so for as long as I can create. Oh and I will always fall back on the fun pop-culture mash-ups. I don't think I could ever abandon that. I hope one day I will have a strong enough brand to obtain licenses with these very special IPs and create magic.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I should at least have my first 2 kids and 2 dogs with my beautiful fiancee who will be my wife by then. We will live in a quiet town close to our families. I imagine I have my own office in the house filled with all of my friends designs, as well as a special collection of my own work.
I can see myself having a conference call with my buddies, who are scattered across the world, discussing our next seasons line of apparel and what kind of fresh ideas we can bring to the website. What brand or site am I working on… well that is for the future to hold 😉
Do you have any favorite shirts or t shirts designers: If so which ones and why?
Oh yeah I have a few Designers in mind. In my immediate group of artist friends I'm always collaborating with my buddies whose work I love and respect- Randy (GateKeeper and Idea Master), Brando (Fontologist), Carlos (Splatter Ace and current possesor of the Glow) and Teeg (Illustrationista).
Also I work with Adam Tyler and Eric Tran who have not yet broke into the tee game and if they did they would probably change it with their immense talent.
Outside of my crew I really like the small indie brands and I have been buying a load of shirts from Fright Rags, Johnny Cupcakes, Electric Zombie, Grave Taker and Paint the Stars.
Major brands for me, would have to be Obey, Alife, Supra, Stussy, Supreme, Bape, Nike 6.0 & Skate, Crooks and Castles, The Hundreds and Krew.
What other interests and hobbies do you have when you’re not designing?
For one, I try to skateboard every so often and I have been on and off for 15 years now. I snowboard as well and have done that since I was 12. I play baseball in 2 different leagues. One competitive and one for fun. I like to work out when I can find time. I watch at least 2 movies a week and keep up with all the best TV shows as humanly possible. Lastly I playing tons of video games, read comics and manga as well.
Where is the best place to find your designs and buy some of your shirts? And of course get in contact with you
You can find me at least once a month on a daily tee site where you can grab one of my tees for only 10 dollars! My home for all of my merch is at redbubble.
Also you can keep up to date with me on facebook, which I check daily. I try to entertain and give out free shirts as much as I can. I honestly don't care how you get a hold of my work right now as long as you wear it and are happy to do so! Without that joy I don't think I would continue to do this.
To contact me it's simple – Yell at me on my facebook fan page or if you are more of a private reserved person you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, where I will answer you as professionally and as timely as possible.
Websites that feature your designs
Printing this month at ShirtPunch.com – (For exact dates follow me on me Facebook and Twitter) Dudepool and Doctorama.
Can you tell me more about your DudePool Shirt?
After my series of Marvel pun/mash-ups hit the websites a couple fans started asking me if I had anything in mind for DeadPool. With so many requests coming in about DeadPool I had to come up with something. Not much later I was watching The Big Lebowski on my commute to work when the name struck me.
DudePool… It made so much sense. I found a way to completely mash the two together that it would seem as if it was only natural the two belonged together. Also this will be my first 9 color tee available at ShirtPunch. That's right 9 beautiful colors and still the same great price of 10 dollars!
Finally, you have anything exciting going on at your store?
I just added a ton of new stickers to my store and all stickers are 50% off after you purchase 6 or more. That makes them about 1.50 each! – Some of my favs
Extra special this month!! It's crazy May. I'm so close to 2k fans. I'm giving away a few free shirts at random to all new and old fans when I reach 2,000 fans. I'm giving away even more stuff if I reach 3K fans this month as well! The only way to enter is to just click "like" on my fan page.
(Facebook is not associated with this in any way). Also, along side the new Design By Human submits, if one of my shirts gets printed I will be giving away 3 copies of the winning printed tee to 3 lucky fans who voted and left a nice comment 🙂 So many awesome ways to get my art on your body!
New tees and new Tee Colors are available at Redbubble:
Wow, thank you again Steve! I love my job, I get to interview one of my favorite designers. Don't to vote on Steve's brand new designs at Design By Humans