We’re back with another artist interview, and at that another T-shirt designer! I must admit, this artist found me. I bought a T-shirt from Ript Apparel for my son. He’s six and loves Angry Birds. I’m thirty four and love Batman. How perfect that a design mashup of the two came along. Easy decision, instant purchase! Once the shirt arrived, my son James literally would not take it off. I posted as much on Facebook. Because I have no clue how Facebook works, I only recently found an email in my “other” folder from the artist who designed this wonderful shirt, WeRsNs, saying he saw my post and inquired if I could post a picture of my son wearing the shirt. He’d sent it back in June of 2011 and here it is now February 2012. As he said in my extremely tardy email, “better late than never.” Luckily, I could do more than just post a picture. I forced him to answer my extremely hard-hitting questions!
Nerdlocker (NL): Tell us about yourself and please tell us where the name WeRsNs comes from.
WeRsNs (W): Hi, I’m Elias from Athens, Greece, and I love designing T-shirts. When I first started designing tees, I had a partner in crime, his nickname was Seth, and he was a graphic designer, my nickname was SpiR and I had no clue what I was doing. Before starting to design, we had to choose a name, and without giving it much thought, we chose WeRsNs (We Are Spir & Seth). Our journey began full of wonderful adventures, until Seth took an arrow to the knee, errr no, what actually happened is that he lost interest in T-shirts and designing in general, and I continued to design shirts by myself and kept the name.
NL: I find it truly amazing that you create some of the coolest nerd-related art in Athens, Greece – a city renowned for its culture, mythology, enlightenment and of course classic art. Have you experienced any limitations or negative local feedback being that you are creating art in a relatively new form and style, but are surrounded by such history?
W: Here in Greece when I tell people I design and sell T-shirts they always find it interesting, as it is not something common, but I have never been laughed at or received negative feedback (yet at least). One thing I noticed is that some shows that are really popular in other countries are unknown here. For instance, when I show my “Who Let the Dogs Out” shirt, everybody asks me what the blue phone box is, and nobody understands it’s bigger in the inside, and can also travel in time!
NL: How did you get your professional start in the art world? And how did you find your niche in nerd art?
W: Art is just a hobby for me, I’m still pretty new at doing digital works, and I’m learning every day. I started doing t-shirts about a year ago, and one of my first goals was to get printed on websites such as Teefury and RiptApparel. Seeing that these sites were printing a lot of pop culture and nerd T-shirts. I decided to take my inner geek out into the open. One of the great aspects of this hobby for me is that if I run out of ideas, I can always do “research” which consists of watching new shows/movies or playing video games. In other words I really enjoy the challenge of trying to find a good idea for a geeky shirt.
NL: Where do you find inspiration and what are some of your influences?
W: I find inspiration watching/playing a lot of TV shows/video games, but also by talking to other artists, who happen to be my biggest influences. I am a part of two groups on Facebook, the RBA and the RBC, basically we are artists that all design T-shirts among other things, and we discuss and comment on each others’ work all the time. I can’t describe how much these two groups have helped me excel as an artist (and are still helping me because I still have a long way to go).
NL: Who are some of your favorite artists?
W: Most of my favorite artists, are in the two groups I mentioned above, the RBA and the RBC, it would be too long to name them all, so I am going to choose just five, who have, in my opinion a very different style from one another:
- Kari Fry (http://www.redbubble.com/people/misskari)
- Megan Lara (http://www.redbubble.com/explore/megan+lara)
- WinterArtwork (http://www.redbubble.com/people/winterartwork)
- Billy Allison AKA Bleee (http://www.redbubble.com/people/bleee)
- Teo Zirinis (http://www.redbubble.com/people/theodorezirinis)
NL: What posters/art do you have on display in your house?
W: I don’t have much art hanged yet, I’ve been wanting to buy a few prints for a while now, one of my favorite though is “Grimlock vs Munkzilla” by fellow artist Matt Parsons aka fanboy30 (http://society6.com/Fanboy30/Grimlock-vs-Munkzilla_Framed-Print#12=52).
NL: When you go out on the town, what T-shirt designs and designers do you wear?
W: Basically, most of my shirts are from all the various tee sites, and from all the artists I admire. One of my favorite is “Lion-o’s Cereal” by Bamboota! http://www.redbubble.com/people/bamboota/works/7061512-lion-os-cereal
NL: Star Wars of Star Trek? Why?
W: I never was a big fan of Star Trek, so it’s an easy win for Star Wars!
NL: What do you do in your free time?
W: In my free time I design T-shirts, talk about T-shirts, or watch series in order to create more T-shirts. Also, I spend time with my girlfriend and friends who often get tired of me talking about geek ideas for T-shirts.
NL: Completely unfair question, which of your designs is your favorite?
W: I keep on changing my favorite design, lately, the one I like the most is “Inspector Spacetime” a design inspired by TV show Community!
NL: Give us a Nerdy secret that most people don’t know about you.
W: I used to play World of Warcraft for a couple of years, and I used to leave early on Saturday nights (when I was out with friends) just to go play more WoW.
NL: What is your favorite movie?
W: Wow…I have no idea, really hard question. Let me give you one of my favorite TV series instead, Dexter! The show is just fantastic, I mean, it’s easy to like a superhero that punishes evil, but with Dexter we sympathize with a freakin’ serial killer! Let’s give the creators of the show some credit for that!
NL: What is your favorite video game and why?
W: My favorite video game is Assassin’s Creed. Why? Why you ask? Have you played the game? If you do, you will understand why!
NL: What is your favorite comic book or comic book character and why?
W: Wolverine is my favorite comic book character because he looks so cool. He does not have the clean-shaved face other superheroes have like Superman. He is mean and dirty looking, has style and great lines. The dude is simply badass!
NL: Any last words or shout-outs?
W: I Really want to thank Jim and Nerdlocker for this opportunity, I feel honored, especially coming after another T-shirt designer I admire, Zerobriant! Also I’d like to thank all RBA/RBC members for their help, the teegazette.com and shirtoid.com !!