new tshirt design…

last night a brass band saved my life

this has been a long time coming.

i came up with the slogan “last night a brass band saved my life” years ago, when making some art for a jazz fest themed art show i used to participate in every year at a friend’s house. (she lives over in the area of the fairgrounds and so used to have an art show in her home through both weekends of jazz fest every year.)

it’s based on one of my all time favorite club dance tracks, “last night a dj saved my life” by the group indeep (1982). here’s the video:

in my life as a dj, i can’t tell you how many times i saw that slogan used on tshirts and other such merch.

so when i was trying to brainstorm ideas for new orleans music-related slogans to use in my art for the jazz fest show, i was thinking about brass bands, as groups like rebirth, hot 8, soul rebels and the pinettes are the local music groups that really move me and make me wanna dance in that same way that club/house music used to when i was a dj all those years. their music gives me goosebumps, and reaches into my heart and soul. so it occurred to me that repurposing that song title might really capture how i feel nearly every time i go out to hear a brass band in a club or catch a second line on the streets.

i’ve been wanting to make tshirts out of the design for a long time, after making a handful of stencil art pieces using the phrase. but i wanted it to be a two-color design, so it wasn’t something i’d be able to print at home on my DIY printing set up, as it’s only capable of a one-color print. so i’d been stumped for a while. i’d considered sites like cafe press or zazzle, but i’ve never felt the print quality was very good on those sites, as they are mostly digital presses, and being someone who worked for an old school silkscreen printer for 10 years, i know what a well-printed shirt should look like and hate anything less.

trying to go to a local silkscreen printer with the design would require me to front a serious amount of money, for them to make screens, to order tshirts wholesale, to pay them the labor of printing them. i don’t have that kind of money at my disposal.

but then a few months ago i stumbled across this new site called Teespring. they use actual silkscreen print shops to print their designs, and they have an easy-to-use online design tool that makes it simple to translate your ideas. they also offer a wide range of tshirt brands, styles, colors, which was also a major consideration for me, as i am not a fan of cheap tshirt brands like hanes and gildan. i like american apparel, canvas, bella, etc. and they have all of those.

the twist with Teespring is that they are a crowd-funding site. it’s like a kickstarter for your tshirt design. you design it, pick a goal of how many shirts you hope to sell, and they give you a price per shirt based on your goal, so you can then decide what price you want to sell it for, and control how much profit per shirt you make. you are basically getting the shirts printed at wholesale prices and then marking them up for retail sale via the campaign. BUT then Teespring takes care of all the orders and shipping!!! which is soooo worth it, as someone who has dealt with selling my own tshirt designs and having to process paypal orders and ship out dozens of shirts. it’s a big pain in the ass!

so. i ended up teaching myself adobe illustrator (well, enough of it to make a vector graphic), working up the design, and i have now launched the campaign. it has about four more days left and is about a quarter of the way to my goal of 50 shirt sales. so hopefully more folks will buy in and we’ll get this shirt printed. i even ordered my own!!

here’s the link to the campaign to order:

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