The Crystal Cactus design was created in 2014 by me, Ian Browning aka Yeah Right! This was the start of my clothing line and so I am going to lay out how it came to life for you now that it is on its 5 year anniversary.
I had recently attended the annual worldwide Gem and Mineral Show and the Gem and Jam music and art festival here in Tucson, AZ. If you have attended you might also relate to the inspiration you feel after witnessing such a dense concentration of artists working on their masterpieces and they manifest right before your eyes over a short 3 day weekend.
The Gem Show is incredible and I wanted to encapsulate the colorful geometry I was seeing in the amazing and complex naturally formed crystals and meld them with what I think of when I think of the desert, saguaro cacti. I sketched out several drafts of the Crystal Saguaro and then drew out a black outlined version with marker. I had been screen printing for a few years but had zero experience painting, other than digitally in photoshop and illustrator. I inherited a big collection of watercolor paints and supplies from my father when he passed away and I decided to give them a try. I painted 2 watercolor layers for textures and scanned them into the digital realm. When I design its natural for me to consider the screens I will need to make so I usually do it all in independent layers. I wanted to make it as colorful as possible but restrict myself to 4 screens which are stencils that you can print any color of ink you choose through it on a printing press. The idea was to print a white base layer of ink, then two different color layers that have gradients that harmonize well on top of the white and then trap it all in with the black outline. My vision was to build a small tshirt wagon cover it in fur and lights, fill it with 100 tshirts that were all unique colorways and take it out to Gem and Jam in 2015. If you have any experience printing you know that this is an insane amount of work and its highly impractical to clean the screens out and mix custom variations on each shirt, but that's just what I did, plus I felt they needed to react to blacklight and GLOW IN THE DARK! I learned a lot about how colors interact in doing so and keep learning new techniques with each design venture.
I was humbled by the response I received by the festival goers and I have been back every year since, trying to go bigger every year with a bigger wagon, my Mantis costume, and new designs. If it returns you know where to find me!
Thanks for supporting my ever growing dream!