Photographer Derek Wuenschirs contacted me last month to ask, “Why am I seeing your paintings in a liquor store across from The Alamo?” Derek, who was in Austin to cover SXSW for the music blog Panic Manual, had spotted four large paintings that looked a lot like my work, right down to the “R!” signature.
I assured him that I hadn’t been ripped off, and that the paintings were a commission done in 2008 for Pay-Less Liquors. Proprietor Eric Eidelbach was a long-time patron of my work, and asked me to create four paintings that would tie in with his store’s San Antonio location. The final commission included a coonskin-hat wearing armadillo, a dexterous roadrunner, and some rather sozzled anthropomorphic bottles. Having never seen the work hung in its final destination, I asked Derek to snap a quick picture for me.
After posting the picture on Facebook, I ended up chatting with Eric a bit about how the paintings had been received. Lots of sad children, he said, who mistook the store for some sort of fun ice cream parlour when they saw the colourful paintings. After talking about a potential t-shirt design for the store, I mocked up a one-colour design with an analog roughness to it. In celebration of the store’s location across from The Alamo, the back features the legend, “I remember NOTHING!”
But the overhead of even a short run of posters or t-shirts is just too pricey. So when a colleague told me about Threadless, a website where you post designs, and the ones that garner the most votes get printed, I decided to give it a try. “Kaiser Chick”, the cover image for my 2008 Primerexhibit catalogue has always garnered a good reaction from people, so I retooled that drawing as a t-shirt design. I’ve made the stroppy little fowl life size (three inches tall), and put him dead centre on a battle grey tee.
(February 11 update: The design didn’t survive the Threadless voting. I might print it myself sometime when I have the time. I like the little dude.)