Jimiyo the The T Shirt Legend
Jimi Benedict aka Jimiyo is a designer you should all know well. He has Rockstar status here and ranks amongst our top designers. He has enjoyed clients like Sullen, Computer Arts and Arbor. He is the Art Director of Teefury and has the face of an angel. Jimiyo let me into his world for long enough to ask some questions. The results are below. Stop by his site and follow him on twitter, the man has skills.
The Detailed Montage World of Jimiyo
Q: For the few people who do not know what your role at www.Teefury.com is let’s have a quick update on what you have been up to. How life is treating you?
I transferred from being art director of Designbyhumans to being the AD for Teefury back in December 09. I had been working for both companies simultaneously, but Teefury had grown into needing more of a full time caretaker. Although DBH offered a more prestigious position in sunny California, there was a girl up in Washington I fancied.
Teefury afforded me the option of working remotely, and the ability to move to be with the girl. So here I am, in Washington, living with my girlfriend, and our two kitties. It’s not as sunny as California, but the kitties and girlfriend make it a nice warm place to call home.
Teefury is doing great. We break records every few months, and we’ve quickly claimed our place with the top shirt sites on the web.
Q: You are one of the most printed designers at DBH and have achieved Rockstar status for your design ‘Revelations’. Tell us how you consistently produce well executed designs? What is your motivation and what keeps you fresh in a seemingly oversaturated market?
A: I look back and sometimes I wonder how I did it all myself.
I was tired of working as a designer for a company that didn’t pay me much, and after winning my first contest ever at DBH, I was highly motivated by the fact that I probably didn’t need to work for anyone and take art direction to earn money.
As far as motivations, although it’s not inspiring, the need to pay rent? Financial obligations can be quite the motivator when you don’t have a job. I spent about a whole year pursuing contest sites as my main source of income. Those were stressful times. Competing can take a lot of out you.
Q: I heard that recently you did a tutorial for Computer Arts magazine, how was that? Do you enjoy sharing your process and educating other aspiring designers? Are you ready to break out the teacher’s jacket with elbow patches?
A: Truthfully, they asked me to do a horror-ish book illustration, which I didn’t feel was conducive to showing off my design abilities so I’m not that proud or excited to have been published except for the fact I can cross “be published” off my to do list.
I do enjoy sharing knowledge to other artists. I try to create tutorial on occasions, but they are an art in themselves. You have to be artful in explanation, never being too difficult to understand, but never glaze over the details either.
I have considered starting a forum or community of sorts to mentor worthy artists, but I am not ready yet I suppose, I am close.
Q: Out of the eleven DBH designs you have had printed which is the one that you personally like and why?
A: Gather Ye Rosebuds. It was back when they used to have 100% cotton so the discharge inks really pop off and they printed it at an epic large size. Of all the prints, the quality of print, separations, ink hand, shirt, etc, I would say is one of the best representations of a top quality shirt.
Q: Could you sum up your work in one word?
A: Busy. Or detailed. It depends on how one feels about my type of art.
Q: Let’s talk about your art a little. Your style is instantly recognizable and stands alone while still being appealing. Was this intentional or was it more through the process/tools you use in your work?
A: It’s not intentional. I just seem to have a penchant for creating really detailed work. It’s also significantly based on workflow and tools.
I also like to continue pissing off those people on the internet that keep telling me less is more. It’s my art, I’ll do whatever I want. Thanks. Go watch tv or whatever non-creative thing you do.
Q: Animals seem to be a feature in a lot of your T-shirt designs, is that a subject you feel you have a connection with?
A: Notsomuch. I am fond of using symbolism, and it seems animals have been most easily identified with some sort of larger meaning than their representative selves.
Q: Cats. You like them right? What’s the story with that?
A: When I was a toddler child, I escaped the notice of my parents and dashed out into the streets. As a 18 wheeler thundered towards me, a cat jumped shoved me out of the way right before impact.
He saved me that day. I went to him as he lay near death against the guard rails, he pulled me close and whispered… “Earn this.” And to this day, I have pledged my allegiance to working to earn the life that he saved.
Naw… I mean, they are cute. Who doesn’t love cats? This morning my cat meowed and gave me tap on my shoulder with his paw. I didn’t respond because I was still asleep, so he gave me one more tap. I didn’t move. He was like… A’ight, we can play later, I’ll let you sleep.
Q: You see a lot of art on a daily basis and introduce many new artists through your work. Is there one particular artist who really stands out, someone who maybe inspires you?
A: Frankly, it’s rare that I see anything that stands out. I’ve seen so much of it, I’ve become somewhat desensitized to even awesome work. Unfortunately, the wonderful accessibility to art that internet offers will do that to you.
Through my work, everything now is evaluated for it’s commercial value. I can see awesome art, but I know that even awesome art won’t be a commercial success if it doesn’t play on certain sensibilities of a buying market.
In consolation, I can still appreciate beautiful art. I recently found this thread with beautiful art. ApeDogs.com
Q: Finally let’s hear about a project you have in the works or maybe a story/shout out before we part.
Shout outs. Thanks to all my fans, and the community of t-shirt art enthusiasts who make it possible for me to maintain a livelihood.
Interview by wotto
See more of Jimiyo’s work here: www.jimiyo.com
Follow Jimiyo here: www.twitter.com/jimiyo