Collison Theory World of Space and Science Designs
CollisionTheory AKA AJ Dimarucot is not just a fantastic T-shirt designer he is a trend starter and a visual maestro. His work has been imitated and used to influence the apparel industry since back in 2008. He won our 10K contest, started his own label, got printed here 12 times and is now a force to be reckoned with in the freelance illustration world. AJ hails from The Philippines where he often speaks at colleges and universities. His client list includes the likes of Nike, Adidas, Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Zoo York and Google! He wasn’t easy to pin down nor was he too keen to talk to me but some duck tape, a chair and some rope made it happen. He needs no introduction (but I did one anyway).
Ladies and gentlemen please welcome, Mr. Collision Theory!
Q: First off I have to ask how is googoo&gaga going? I recall from your last interview your wife left her job and you set up the company after winning the DBH 10K prize back in 2008.
A: googoo&gaga is great man! We are targeting international distribution and we have literally just finished a shoot for a catalog today. A distributor is bringing us to a huge trade show for baby/kids clothes this year http://www.playtimeparis.com/ We are very excited and it hopefully means that a ton of retailers around the world will be carrying googoo&gaga
in their stores by the end of the year!
Q: You are currently in 2nd place in our Most Printed Designers list on DBH. Do you intend on staying there, are you going to be more active in submissions this year?
A: Yeah definitely! I need to get my ass on it again haha.
Q: Your style of T-shirt design has been copied and replicated across the industry. Are you flattered by that or annoyed?
A: I think it’s a mix of both. Flattered and surprised that my style has somewhat caught on somehow. Annoyed because people who bite your style start to win too and it’s like whoa maybe you could pay me some royalties haha. It’s even more annoying that they bite other successful artists too and also get rewarded for it. It’s pretty obvious in their portfolio when it seems like 5 different people do their designs. It’s a huge cop out and I think is worse than ripping someone off. At least when someone rips you off you can outright call them out on it. When someone bites your work you can’t really stop them from doing it. I just hope they end up doing their own thing eventually.
Q: Your design 1000 cranes is one of the most popular designs on DBH. When you designed it did you think such a simple idea would be such a good seller?
A: Never expected it to do so well to be honest. That was my 1st DBH win and really gave me some confidence to pursue t-shirt design. It also opened me up to the idea of using the t-shirt as a canvas for my art. I think it became popular because it was one of the first tees on DBH that used both sides of the shirt. There wasn’t a lot
of the crazy DBH printing back then.
Q: What projects are you working on currently, anything exciting in the pipeline?
A: Oh man I just got a brief from Nike to do some tees for Manny Pacquiao. He’s a boxer in case you don’t know. haha. He’s my countryman and is now considered
one of the best boxers in the world so I’m pretty stoked about it.
I also just ended a project for ESPN, doing some broadcast graphics. I can’t wait to see it because it’s the first time I’ll see my work animated for TV!
Q: I see you like to play around with Calligraphy, is that something you had formal training in or just a hobby?
A: No formal training at unless you consider 6th grade art class formal training hehe. I really wish I did though! I’m discovering the works of Julien Breton http://kaalam.free.fr/
and Luca Barcellona http://www.flickr.com/photos/luca-beanone-barcellona/ and they just blow me away. I’d give a liver to study calligraphy under those guys. Ok maybe not a liver haha
Q: You have worked with some huge labels and have designed on products ranging from snowboards to boxing rings, what was your favorite and why?A: I loved the Nike boxing ring. Manny Pacquiao is my hero. I mean the dude used to sell cigarettes in the street so he could feed himself and his mom. The guy used to travel by jeepney (local transport) from one fight to the next so he could earn $2. Dude’s amazing and a great inspiration to not only myself but to his millions of fans.
Q: I see you were a judge in a design contest last September, how was that and would you like the opportunity to do it again?A: Yeah I think that was the 1st Philippine Graphic Design Awards. Graphic Design is still a young industry here and I love the chance to be able to help inspire the younger designers. I’d love to do it again.
Q: It seems The Philippines is a hot spot for design right now, does it feel that way to you personally?
A: In terms of the t-shirt contest circle definitely! There’s a lot of talent here. We just don’t really get a lot of chances to shine internationally. DBH is great because it opens doors to guys like and the younger up-and-comers.
Q: You have a great eye for mixing elements together, sometimes natural and other times man made. Is this a conscious move, are you making statements in your art in a subtle way?
A: I am great at putting clipart together haha! I drew well as a kid. But it needed to be based off a photo/image. I guess I have learned the art of making things look good. Nothing is learned. It’s all intuitive. Scale, balance, contrast, etc. I really never discovered those things until after ‘designing’ for many years. Nothing is conscious. I go by what I feel if that makes any sense.
Q: Finally, If you looked in the mirror one day and saw no reflection would you call yourself Count AJ from that day forth?
A: Wait that would make me a vampire correct? haha No reflection = no soul —>>sold to DBH lol See more of AJ’s work here: CollisionTheory AKA AJ Dimarucot
AJ has already had success with the DBH Collective. His store includes lots of space, mathmatics and science designs. Check out his new collective store.