Tee Hunter is a long time fan of Full Bleed, the man behind it Rob Dobi and his work! So with his 8th series officially launching tomorrow (Feb 16th 2009) it felt only right that we drop him a line and do an interview and swag a bunch of awesome images of his amazing new line!
I was at a show in Florida last year and I look over and someone had THREE tattoos on their arm based off of my designs. I couldn’t believe it, I have a hard enough of a time committing to getting them printed! – Rob Dobi
So read below to get a lot of insight into Rob’s world, check out series 8’s tshirt designs and enjoy an exclusive preview design or two as well!
TH: What prompted you to release your lines in a series?
RD: I figured it’d be a bit easier to work a few months on a bunch of designs and release em all together at once, take some rest, then do it again in a few months. I once tried doing a t-shirt of the month kinda thing and 4 months in kinda gave up.
TH: Are you excited about the launch on 16th February? do you have any hopes and expectations this time around?
RD: I’m always stoked, the worst part is just the work leading up to it. The t-shirt designs themselves have been done for awhile, but updating the website / store / myspace / facebook / flickr / photos / etc. is such a chore! I’m just ready to get it over with already and I’m already prepping for new stuff. I feel like I’ve been looking at the current line for a year!
TH: How does it feel to have reached your 8th series?
RD: Great! I had no idea when I started this almost 5 years ago how far i’d take it but things have been going really well.
TH: What have been the main highlights on the road to your 8th series?
RD: The biggest milestone would probably have to be a pro wrestler wearing one of my tees. either that or the normal sized kid on “little people big world” rocking one. All joking aside, some of the stuff has been absurd. every couple weeks someone sends me an image of a tattoo they have gotten based off of one of my designs. I was at a show in Florida last year and I look over and someone had THREE tattoos on their arm based off of my designs. I couldn’t believe it, I have a hard enough of a time committing to getting them printed! One of the best feelings is when my mom tells me someone at her school was wearing one of my tees, then she tells them she is my mom and their mind is blown.
TH: What was the inspiration behind this series, is there a main theme running through it or is it a collection of different fragments and why?
RD: I never really have a running theme, I’ve thought about doing that in the past, I had one idea to do an entire line based around various syndromes but that never came through. Another based off of an album, but then I gave up on that as well. If anything my ideas are just really concept based and just revolve around taking an idea and twisting it until it is something completely different but still makes sense.
TH: What do you think it is about your designs that allow them to transfer so well between tshirt and poster formats?
RD: I like big, bold, iconic, colorful images so I think they read well in print. I try to draw a line between my illustration work which is really detailed and heavily linework / shading based vs. My tees which are essentially silhouettes and flat colors.
TH: Will series 8 feature posters as well as tshirts?
RD: Yep! I’m having 2 older designs and 2 newer ones silkscreened by Andy @ www.dieselfuelprints.com
TH: Please can you tell me in your own words a little about some of the designs in series 8 and what they mean to you or are about?
RD: My designs never really have much “meaning” to me, I’ve never really done anything political or religious, I just like to make images that look cool, that being said, there isn’t much to be said!
- “Inked” is just a bunch of dudes having a raging time doing some sick cannonballs into an inkwell!
- “Rainbow road” it wouldn’t be a fullbleed line without someone painting to alter their environment.
- “Paper Trail” I never thought I’d print a tee with a skull but this idea came to me and I had to print it.
- “Right As Rain” was actually inspired by a necklace I saw at the MOMA store, I immediately pulled out a notepad and doodled it.
- “We All Fall Down” I was itching to make another design with a WW2 era type bomb but couldn’t figure out where to place it. I went to my local library and there was a sculpture outside of some kids playing ring around the rosie. Success!
TH: Can it be difficult to stand out in what is essentially a saturated market of tee shirt brands large and small, especially given the global reach of the internet, and how do you respond to this challenge?
RD: Sure it is difficult to stand out, but I’ve been doing the same thing for almost five years now so i now what works for my brand and what doesn’t. I never really give into any trends because i don’t want to release something that looks totally passée within a year. there won’t be any tees w/ gold foil 300 pt impact txt with words being chopped up to fit on a tee. there won’t be any drawings of hamburgers bungee jumping while wearing shutter shades and drinking slurpees.
TH: At what series did you begin to make a living from Full Bleed, or is this still a goal for you?
RD: It started to be the focus of my “living” about 3 years ago, it is still an ongoing goal to make it bigger and better with every release.
TH: What is the ONE piece of advice you would give new and budding tshirt brands?
RD: Don’t jump in head first and throw shit at the wall just to see what sticks. Do some research, figure out what you want your brand to represent and how you can represent it without looking like everybody else.
- Glamour Kills does 80’s inspired text based tees.
- Electric Zombie does zombies / horror.
- Pyknic does food.
So now that those three things are covered, don’t bother trying to imitate them, they are done! find your own niche and make it work for god’s sake.
TH: What is your favourite design from the new collection?
RD: Probably the “inked” design. I’ve had that idea in my head for awhile and i think kids will dig it because it is a massive print and (sorta?) clever.
TH: What tshirt brand or designer inspired this new series the most?
RD: I’m not really inspired by other t-shirt brands. sorry! i’m really more inspired by illustrators like Guy Billout, Dan Page, Josh Krause and design studios like the small stakes, heads of state, etc…
TH: What tshirt brand do you personally wear the most (other than your own)?
RD: Either American apparel or Gap, surprisingly enough I really don’t buy graphic tees all that often. I think I bought two in the past year, one I never wore.
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