I was lucky to catch up with artist behind East Van Tees this past week. Alicia and Sebastian are the brother, sister team behind the Canadian t-shirt startup. Alicia has taken the reigns as the primary artist and sketch-to-print designer responsible for their growing list of original designs. Designs inspired by “Everyday life experiences and encounters.” East Van Tees was born as a response to the positive feedback to Alicia’s art. Friends and family who were familiar with her work often inquired about how to get a print or design of their own. Thus East Van Tees was born. We enjoyed getting a little more insight on who Alicia is and what drives her and Sebastian to work so hard. You can find more about East Van Tees here. Here is our interview with Alicia:
Who is Alicia of East Van Tees ?
I am an artist based in Canada.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Montreal, Québec.
How old are you?
31 years old
Where can we find you and East Van Tees online?
You can find us at www.eastvantees.com
and on several social media platforms such as
How did you first get into design?
My artistic style lead itself nicely to t-shirt graphic design.
What ticked you to become a designer?
While exploring possibilities of exposing my artwork, my brother approached me with this business venture.
How you started drawing/sketching?
I have been drawing from a very young age. It started as a pass time which flourished into a more serious endeavor.
Educated or self-taught?
A little bit of both. I have a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) but a lot of what I do and create is self taught.
Anything memorable from the very early days?
One of my studio arts drawing professors stood quietly behind me as I was drawing then approached me slowly and simply told me “open the door.” It allowed me to push away from the technical rigidity of my work, to find my own style.
If you could sum up your style in a one or just a few words, what would it be?
High Contrast Illustration
What do you want your art to be known for?
The transformation of natural images into high contrast abstracted illustration.
What inspires the artwork on your T-Shirts?
Everyday life experiences and encounters.
Do you remember the first time you sold a piece of your art?
Yes I do, very clearly. It was a very flattering and humbling experience. It was from that moment that I knew I had to keep pursuing this type of work.
Who bought it or where it got sold?
One of my brothers friends liked a canvas he had displayed in his apartment. He asked where he could get something like that and let him know I would be able to draw something for him.
Tell us a bit about your process when you’re designing a new t-shirt?
I design everything by hand drawing. I start of by sketching out a general form in pencil then finish the image in black markers of different calibers. I then create a digital copy of my image which is manipulated in photoshop to create a higher contrast and inverse coloring.
Favourite place to sell your work?
Favorite piece of design you made?
Pieces Horoscope Image
Favorite design style?
Detailed hand sketches / high contrast illustration
Retro, low poly, etc?
Where can a new designer start learning online?
I believe that you can find your inspiration anywhere. It’s different for everyone.
Equipment you currently work on?