We interview Steve Wilson a.k.a SteveOramA, graphic designer from Honolulu, Hawaii.
TM: How did you decide on the name ‘SteveOramA’ for your personal brand?
SW: Well, my name is Steven for the Steve part and then the OramA part comes from when an ex-girlfriend and I were watching a Saturday Night Live skit. She started calling me SteveOramA as a joke every day and then I said “you know what, I’m going to start using that for my artist name” and it stuck ever since.
TM: Are you a full-time designer who makes a living off of your work or is designing just a part time hobby that you make some money from?
SW: Currently I’m doing it as a side job/part-time hobby. I’ve done some projects that have taken up all of my free time which made me think that I was doing it full-time but I had to step back a little to realize it. I would like for this hobby to slowly transition into a full-time job though. Maybe in the near future it will.
TM: How did you go about doing the 50-artist collaboration on the ‘Pizza Party’ shirt? How was the whole design organized?
SW: A few collaboration ideas were being thrown around in the Threadless blogs due to the success of the Monster Mash design being printed. So, Spacesick and Alexmdc were messing around with the idea of a shirt showing individual pizza toppings on it and the community thought it would be a great idea to go with. Alexmdc took the entire project on strong, organizing and preparing all the pieces, and creating the Atlas-like chef character. The end result turned out to be amazing.
TM: For both the ‘Pizza Party’ design and the ‘Monster Mash’ design you collaborated with several artists. How do all of the artists collaborating get paid? Or do you do it for free, and just gain exposure from doing the collabo?
SW: I can’t speak for everyone involved but I’m sure most of us didn’t do it for the money. It’s just fun to do something as a “t-shirt community” and watch everything come together for one complete design. We did receive a nice gift card to use on Threadless but the recognition part was more rewarding.
TM: In the design, ‘Feast’, is that a pig eating pork? It reminds me of that commercial where those pigs are eating ham. What’s the idea behind that t-shirt design?
SW: Basically, I just love to eat pig products. If you eat a lot of something people tend to call you a pig because pigs eat a lot. Pork, ham, hot dogs, bacon, etc. are so good that you just can’t help but to eat a lot of them. The design is a pig eating pig and being a pig. Make sense?
TM: I see you created some cool skateboard deck designs. Why did you decide to go into designing skateboards?
SW: Although I do like designing mostly shirts I don’t want to get stuck designing only shirts. It’s fun to try and place my designs on other objects and I want to get my designs out there as much as I can. I’m also designing for shoes, posters, toys, and household products.
TM: What did you think of the Pecha Kucha Night event at the Academy of Arts in Honolulu? Were you nervous or do you always do such presentations?
SW: Pecha Kucha Night was a great experience to be a part of something that is gaining a huge following on a global scale. I showcased 20 slides of my work for 20 seconds each. Kind of a long time once I was standing up there actually doing it. I used to do presentations once a week at a previous job so I wasn’t nervous at all but it was the first one that I’ve done in the last 2 years. The hard part is just getting up there.
TM: I always wanted to go to Hawaii; I plan on going there sometime next year. I interviewed t-shirt blogger Coty Gonzales asking him about Hawaii, but how’s your experience of Hawaii? What do you like best about living in the Aloha State?
SW: Yeah, I read your interview with Coty and that’s when I first found out that he lives out here too. I’m sure he can agree that Hawaii is simply great. Every day you meet new people and share experiences with them like places you’ve been, things you’ve seen. Of course there’s the whole paradise thing too and I never forget that it is one. Sometimes I wake up and think I’m lucky to live out here. What I like best is that the sun is always shining and it just puts me in a good mood thinking today is going to be a good day. I believe everyone out here thinks that way so there are all these people walking around being nice to each other.
TM: What tips can you give to other t-shirt designers who want to get more people to see their work?
SW: It’s easier than you’d think to get more people to recognize your work. Create a simple blog or website showing all of your designs. Sign-up to some of the social networking sites and t-shirt contest sites. Make sure there is a link to your website/blog on all of your profiles and then submit designs to these sites. Let your designs speak for themselves, do some promoting appropriately in blogs or forums, and then watch the visitors come running to your site. That’s about it.