Hateball 2061 Capsule Collection
Seven Styles. I made Seven Different Styles this time. I don’t…know what possessed me to do it, but I feel good. Sure: I’m a couple days into the preorder period (that I had to establish so that I could afford to make these things) and there really haven’t been many orders, but, well: I’m glad I did it. I want to wear these shirts.
I suppose this is the third proper year that I’ve made a ‘batch’ of tees. Initially there wasn’t very much unity between the styles…I was literally just printing some t-shirts that would fit me. I was huge. Last year had similar motivations: I had lost a bunch of weight and needed to re-center my wardrobe around some staples…and I figured why not design them? Those shirts (2051 capsule) were increasingly strange and laden with messaging, and, well, I didn’t really make them easy to get.
This year was maybe an opportunity to lean-in on concept and not be so bound to the practicalities of everything. After all: I’m not chasing clothes that fit…I have those. And I’m not stumbling into a capsule concept…this time I had my eyes open the whole time. But man…why wasn’t I able to edit down my ideas? Why so many different designs?
There’s no answer, really. I just wanted to. And I figured out a slightly better mechanism than last year for protecting me from sitting on droves of unsold t-shirts at the end of it.
What’s more, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how to define the Hateball aesthetic. The rules, as it were. My interest in this topic is broader than these t-shirts, but, while I was putting together the designs, I noticed some patterns and trends that are worth noting here, since, well, I think these phenomena would proof out in the larger setting of the brand at large. The formula as I see it:
- It helps if there’s grounding in some kind of pop-culture reference. There are frequently easy ones to spot (Donald Duck, Ghostbusters, etc.) but sometimes this rule gets stretched..for instance, an X-acto knife isn’t really indicative of some corner of culture, though we all know what it is.
- Pair this ‘easy to see’ side of the design with a hard-to-get sentiment that manifests in some degree or next. This is pretty clearly ‘one for them and one for me’…I like to bake all sorts of, let’s say, language into these things.
- There’s such a thing as too many ideas. A single design should have a single textual idea, and if there are multiple graphic notes involved, they should be integrated. Where t-shirts are concerned specifically, it’s OK to have an idea on the front and an idea on the back, though perfect harmony would be some sort of setup/punchline setup where a graphical front sets up a graphical+textual back. I’ve obviously broken this rule to some degree in #2061 but presumably not flagrantly. The relationship between the front and back graphics in “Suffer” is particularly nice, since there’s kind of a cautionary vibe to it.
- A created epithet is worth more than a found epithet. An epithet that I make that sounds convincingly found is worth the most.
- When you can, use a haiku. But don’t get hurt when nobody sees it for what it is.
- Adding a third eye to images is a way to make them weird, eye-catching, referential to the ‘becoming’ theme of Zinewolf, and in-line with the Therefore Nul brand. It’s not a have-to, but when it works, it’s a delight and shouldn’t be looked at as something that can be overdone if done well.
- In most instances, ‘Nothing’ and its ilk are not to be referred to as negatives. They are positive neutrals. You’re observing/calling attention to the fact that there is a thing—a state—that is best described by emptiness and, well, that’s a thing. Things/states/places that are ‘stuff less’ are not necessarily hopeless. Everyone will make this mistake, but be sure you don’t give them an opportunity to be correct.
- You can’t draw, but you can write. Steal graphics before you steal text. If you steal graphics, make sure someone else has stolen it before you have. If you can’t avoid stealing text, attribute it to a known source. If there is no known source, find some way to rewrite it and make it yours. If you can’t do that and you can’t credit it, be (very) sure you’re sure.
- If, after trying incredibly hard to talk yourself out of it, you have to perpetrate a straight-up bootleg, make sure you accompany it with some kind of explanation. You’re batting .500 on this front.
The bottom-bottomest line, I think, is still the same: I wanted some new t-shirts. I wanted to make t-shirts that make me feel as proud (yet stealth, frankly) as the ones I made last year do, but I’m feeling more confident about it (I guess) in some ill-defined way. It’s…an interesting feeling for sure.
The investment that comes with a project like this is not insubstantial…and in a certain light, attaching triple-zero number to the desire to have a couple new t-shirts is…indulgent. But! The hope is that at least a few of the folks who are familiar with my brand, or maybe they’re familiar with and passionate about the pop-culture hook that I’ve chosen for a style (etc.) will hop in and grab a shirt or two. Not for gain or profit…but purely for subsidization.
I’ve recently received criticism from known/loved/trusted sources that says I’m hedging against keeping this brand too personal. Too hobby. I’m really making it impossible for myself—and everybody else—to really become invested in this thing as a business. This particular advice was given to me in the context of the toys but, well, I see it ringing true for these shirts as well. For all of it. Not sure what I think.
I know that there have been a few instances where I’ve tried to make my work more accessible…to be something a bit more (in my mind, at least) likely to ‘blow up’ or open the aperture on what types of people would take interest. And I’ve been wrong. Like, really wrong. I think I’m even sort of happy about it. Relieved maybe. I’m glad that I don’t know how to make a hit. It seems I don’t even really know how to properly sell out.
And so I’ll keep making stuff that makes sense to me. I’ll keep doing stupid shit like baking dates into the designs and selling things at random. I’ll keep making stuff to lose money on because really, this is just my personal art hobby. And anybody choosing to pay attention, make a purchase, or follow along is incredibly appreciated as a fan moreso than a customer.
Note: I went on to decode each style to a more or less semi-complete degree but am unsure about whether or not that was for me, for you, or for both of us. Undecided.
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