Friday, November 11, 2011

Sexy Shirts for Sexy Gays

Let's face it: I'm a t-shirt guy. I LOVE them! Fuck buttons and zippers and sweaters. Give me a good, cute tee and I'm set to go.

Imagine my excitement when I discovered designer Ben Hart's new t-shirt company oopsy daisy, inc.

The designs are SEXY, EDGY, and definitely EYE-CATCHING. Plus, the process Ben undergoes to make each shirt makes them 100% unique. No two shirts are the same.

I was lucky enough to grab Gorgeous Gay Ben for a few quick seconds to talk about his new company, and got you some info.

Check it out, and GRAB A TEE TODAY!

Okay, Ben... there are SO many t-shirt companies that are out there... tell me what makes oopsy daisy, inc different.

What sets oopsy daisy, inc apart is the designs themselves, all of which are originally cut out of paper (construction or card stock, usually), and then copied, cut into a stencil, and screen printed by hand on American Apparel shirts..  One thing I dislike about many t-shirts is that while many of them have beautiful/cool/funky/etc/etc images, I find them to be too...  t-shirty.  And often over designed. 

My initial aim wasn't to make cool t-shirts,  it was just to make art, and t-shirts happen to be a great vehicle (and frankly, probably the best way for the most people to see it).  I guess at the end of day, whether I intended to be or not, I'm in "fashion" now...  but really I consider myself an outsider, and I hope that translates into a fresh perspective.

And where did the name oopsy daisy come from?
I actually had no idea what my company name was going to be at first, and then I happened to make the original "oopsy daisy" design (that silly little flower...  how'd that pot get on his head??).  It quickly became one of my favorites, and the title seemed to somehow fit my design method, in which random scraps and accidental cuts somehow come together into a cohesive design.  And who can resist that daisy?  What a silly, unexpected predicament he seems to have gotten himself into! Whoops!!

For those who haven't seen them, how would you describe the look and style of your designs?

I usually describe them as contemporary cut-out art often infused with humor.  Whimsical pop art!  I often find myself playing with empty space, and the letting the eye do the work to create an image or impression.  I like images that make my brain hurt.  But a Japanese fan once told me "Every tee is so pop and cute!" which I think about sums them up!

What inspires your designs? For instance - what's up with Le Franch? And Second Star?

Well, besides some... *ahem* herbal stimulation... anything and everything inspires me! Sometimes it's just a word or a phrase, and sometimes I have no idea and I just shift around some scraps of paper until I see something.  Le Franch was created after a friend of mine put up a facebook status about a trip he was taking, I think it was along the lines of "Vespas, impressionists, cigarettes dangling precariously on lower lips... Paris, here we come!!!" I liked the image of the cigarette, and added the tag "le franch"...  that sounds french, right? I didn't pay attention in class. 

The second star to the right tee was born out of a new musical I recently did off-broadway called "Peter and I."  I was playing J.M Barrie (the guy who wrote Peter Pan) and one of my lines was a Barrie quote: "Stars are beautiful, but they must not take an active part in anything.  They must just look on forever.  It is a punishment put on them for something they did so long ago that no star now knows what it was."  In the show it was referencing a gay character who committed suicide, and the image of a "star" (in this case a young, brilliant gay man) who has everything to offer but feels he can't continue on in the world struck me.  But I also just love Peter Pan, and wanted to create something that was both sweet and a little ominous (with it's 'hook moon'... symbolism or something).  One thing I learned while doing the show is that Peter Pan is actually a MUCH darker story than I ever realized.

What kind of guy should be wearing oopsy daisy? And why?

The first thing I realized when I started wearing my own shirts out is that they are eye catchers.  If you want to suddenly find everyone checking you out on a subway car...  I highly recommend oopsy daisy.

What sort of designs are you working on right now that aren't yet on sale?

Oh, I have piles.  There's a little bit of a waiting list... probably next up are some of my more skeletal designs.  But to get more of an idea, just check out the "designs" section of the oopsy daisy, inc site.  I'd love for people to let me know what they like!  I also do custom designs, so if any readers have an idea that they think would mesh with my aesthetic, just let me know and I'll see what I can do!

Can we expect more than shirts from oopsy daisy, inc. in the future?

Absolutely.  If it can be printed on...  I will do it.  Totes? Totes. I'll be adding products soon, but again, let me know what the public wants!  I also have a line of decidedly dark greeting cards that I'll be selling soon.

Do you have any design heroes? If so, who and why?
Nope.  I know of artists that have done similar work or have similar methods (Matisse of course, BĂ©atrice Coron, to name a few) but paper cutting is something that I stumbled onto completely by accident while trying to design a logo for another business.  I've created the process as I've gone along, and at the end of the day, I've just been trying to make images that I like.  Luckily for me, other people seem to enjoy them too!

The million dollar question: How can WE get our hands on Oopsy Daisy shirts?!

I would recommended first checking out my original paper designs, and then click on "buy" to get a closer look at the shirts themselves.  And please, spread the word!  oopsy daisy, inc has been nothing if not a labor of love for me, and if I can share some of that love with just a couple of your readers, it will all be worth it!

So do it, boys. You'll be seeing me modeling off these tees in the coming weeks. They're just too sexy to leave on the shelf!

xo Justin Luke

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