Nerdlocker Artist Interview: Jimiyo!


We’re back with another artist interview, and this one just happens to also be the Creative Director of and an amazing designer too! I have bought tees from Teefury for a couple years now, not thinking much when the shirt arrived other than, “Hot damn, I have another badass T-shirt!” Eventually I realized my closet contained more of one designer’s work than any other, Jimiyo. What was a responsible Nerd to do? Learn more about my favorite designer, of course. Having the means, I forced him to answer my extremely hard-hitting questions.

Nerdlocker (NL): Tell us about yourself.

Jimiyo (J): IAMA Lucky dood.

NL: Short but sweet. Nice. Why Jimiyo? What does it mean?

J: My gov’ment name is Jimi.
Jimi was already taken on the World Wide Web.
I used to listen to hip-hop/rap/BET.
I used to say “yo” often.
I think it kinda’ makes it sound like I’m Asian, which I am. Half Japanese.
I’m glad I wasn’t stuck with “weez” which was my first internet “handle” when I was telneting into chat rooms. That originated from a shortened form of Weezer.

NL: We were born in the same year, 1977. Do you feel being a kid in the ’80s gave you an amazing advantage in Nerd culture? Did you watch Nerdy cartoons as a kid? If so, which ones?

J: It does seem like ’77 was a good year to be born. Apple Computer. Star Wars. Commodore PET. Atari 2600.

The ’80s did seem like the Golden Age or rather the Birth of Nerd Culture, although kids these days might consider our cartoons trite and lackluster in comparison to some of the amazing eye candy they are used to today.

I grew up watching:

  • The Littles
  • Gummi Bears
  • Mr. Rogers
  • Tom & Jerry
  • Punky Brewster
  • ALF
  • Out of this World
  • Silver Spoon

NL: Where do you find inspiration and what are some of your influences? Who are some of your favorite artists?

J: Inspiration is everywhere these days. It’s so easy to find great art online. DeviantArt has been a constant for several years. I know it used to be the hangout of noobs, furries, and anime freaks, and they are still there, but there are thousands of amazing artists on there.

As far as my own personal favorite artists,

As far as my work, it’s mostly influenced by Horkey and traditional metal engraving artists because I love baroque-y detailed work. My art is all over the place though. Mostly my affinity for creating art has been because I like to figure out how to render things as if creating art was some weird organic mathematical problem. The Horkey/metal engraving style is particularly interesting to me because I enjoy figuring out how to build forms/shapes with minimal colors. Forming shapes with just black and white lines/marks is a tedious but fun exercise.

NL: So you’re the art director at TeeFury? Have you ever taken a whole bunch of TeeFury shirts and put them on at one time? If so what’s your record for total T-shirts at once?

J: I’ve never tried that. I actually work about 2000 miles from head quarters. I want to tangent here. Many people think Teefury is huge, but we’re actually a pretty small, bootstrapped business with a very non-traditional work environment. Excluding the shipping/customer service/accounting, the general day-to-day workings of the site are maintained via the internet. We communicate via Skype, and work in a virtual office. Until recently I hadn’t seen my bosses’ face to face for about 1.5 years. LOL. Neither my bosses nor I have ever seen MJ. We think she is a construct or rogue entity in the Matrix. It was great that the bosses were brave enough to let us work virtually. I’m more productive in my own environment, unshaven, in a ratty shirt and sweat pants. So unfortunately, warehouse shenanigans don’t occur.

I think our dream is to eventually have a headquarters like Threadless or Google or any other progressive artsy work environment where it feels kinda like a skate park/art gallery/wonderland. We’re still just less than four years old so… Maybe one day.

NL: What posters/art do you have on display in your house?

J: I actually have all my PRECIOUS tucked away safe! I have art from Godmachine, Joshua Budich, Sol Amstutz, Shana K. Fessel, Missmonster, Jasmin Darnell, and a handful of other artists.

NL: When you’re walking around in public, what T-shirt designs (of your own) and other designers do you wear?

J: Truthfully, I wear all black American Apparel T-shirts. It’s a paranoia thing. I don’t want to be distinguishable. I don’t want Jason Bourne to be like… There are two exits. The guy over at the bar is about 196 lbs. He’s wearing a Hello Kitty shirt.

A couple years ago, my favorite shirt used to be Oil Monster from Missmonster, but it got bleach on it. DOH! And it’s an uber old DBH design. I doubt they will reprint it.

NL: Is your wardrobe all T-shirts or do you have a suit or two in there?

J: I hate dressing up.

After I quit my first corporate job, I promised never to wear dress pants/shirts ever again. Unfortunately, I still have to conform to social norms for celebratory functions so yeah, there’s a shirt/tie/slack combo in my closet. I rarely have to go, so every few years, I try to put on the slacks and I find that I’ve gotten fatter. I buy new shirt/tie/slack combos every couple years.

NL: Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?

J: ST:NG. I used to think Deanna Troi was hot. Those wide hips make my evolutionary brain go wild. Star Trek was interesting because it explored morals/ethics in a sci-fi environment while still being entertaining. It would be interesting to raise a kid totally isolated from religion, but exposed to Leave it to Beaver, Andy Griffith, Cosby Show, ST:NG, and some other mild television shows that are sprinkled with morality.

NL: What do you do in your free time?

J: Hang out with my girlfriend.
Go out to eat at different restaurants and yelp.
Play some classic arcade games on MAME emu or Nintendo DS emulators.

NL: Give us a Nerdy secret that most people don’t know about you.

J: I like cats, but my mom thinks I uber-love them, so she gets me these cat trinkets and things that a man would usually not have. Tom & Jerry plush dolls, cat keychain, cat coffee mug, assortment of cat figurines like those you would find in an antique shop, etc. BUT, I have no real live cats.

NL: What is your favorite movie?

J: That’s a tough question.
I love the Aliens, Matrix, Mad Max & Predator series.
I also enjoy classics like The Great Escape, Cool Hand Luke, and Lawrence of Arabia.
If anything, the movies that have characters that suffer through some challenge and overcome are my favorite…oh wait…that’s all of them.

NL: What is your favorite video game?

J: No doubt, if I were stranded on an island and I was stuck playing the same game forever – Diablo II.

I feel like Diablo II achieved groundbreaking next-level psychological game mechanics of that time. Everything you did was rewarding and addictive. The graphics and music were top notch too. The creatures and quests were epic, except those rat dudes in the forest. They were annoying.

Can you hear the “uuunngggghhh” of those corpses?

Makes me wanna’ install it. The original box with install CD is currently a door stop to my office. Hrmmm…

NL: What is your favorite comic book or comic book character?

J: I’m not sure if I have one. I was so averse to reading that although I tried to start collecting comics, I never got into it. I do have a small stack from the early ’90s that includes the B&W Eastman and Laird’s #1 of TMNT, but woe, it’s a second printing. I always just enjoyed the drawings more than the content.

Thank you Jimiyo! We love what you do! To see more of his designs, check out his website. And of course check frequently for Jimiyo’s latest tees. Don’t forget to sign up for their mailing list to make things even easier!

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I'm a true child of the 80s from a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. My all time favorite topics are Star Wars, slasher films and Cleveland sports (despite the misery it causes). I narrowly avoided law school, instead choosing film school. I have been accused of being a walking IMDB, but I take it as a compliment!