The 1st KMR Shirt Ever Made
Here's a little bit of an interesting factoid. The story behind this character goes deep, and then again it doesn't really. But it is because of this little fella that Kings Must Rise Apparel might even exist at all.
I first created DIY shirts due to the fact that I wanted to fit in with peers that were able to afford high end clothes that was just out of my budget. The next best thing for a starving artist to do was to first be creative enough but also to be resourceful enough. What many artist's know, and quite possibly most disciplined business men, is that when you are given very little to no resources to solve a problem, then your brain solving efforts take a step up and the ball gets rolling on a creative way around the problem ten fold. In some situations the more dire the more the push. In this case, I used jealousy as a positive motivation for communal inclusiveness. I bought pack of blank white t-shirts at my local department stores like H&M, Zara and even Walmart $10 (CAD), went a few aisles over to the "crafts" section and picked up a set of heat transfers for $20. This was all I needed to create the next step of my vision. When you create anything at all, YOU CREATE IT TWICE. Once is the finished product that everybody sees, but the first time you created it was in your head where only YOU saw it before anyone else did.
I printed unique designs that referred to some of the brands that I saw in my high school. Except my shirts were more than %80 less in cost. No one batted an eye, other than to look in wonderment as to where I got my limited edition "versions" of my apparel. But as one thing led to another, or should I say a knowledge that led to the next idea years later, I was rushed to create art for a particular midterm. Now you know you should never rush art, but I had no choice. And I say this again with experience, but when you are limited as a person, you begin to create a sort of defense mechanism that combats counter productivity. This is why many people leave things last minute, but end up getting it done none-the-less. In one morning before an art review midterm of my sketchbook, I drew pages worth of sketches. 1 of those sketches was this character who I have come to name "Rodot" (The 'd' is a 'b' backwards. I know, so creative). Anyways. You may be able to see some pop-culture references in this guy, but I look at it now as a small representation of my work at that moment in time. Mechanic, structured, semi-futuristic and political with a bit of play. Now the crowns were just because I was heavily into Kingdom Hearts at that time. Little did I know the company I have come to build lightly treads on the same ideas of royalty. And these characteristics (both the physical and mental) have been a growing part of my skill set. I threw the designs on the transfer paper and then made my first shirt. The rest as they say is...
The "graphic tee" or "printed" t-shirt is a staple among culture driven people aiming to fit with the simplest of statements. Sometimes to get the idea of the brand itself across with the play of semiotics. A picture says a thousand words, and a t-shirt is enough to get a message across. Let this first design be a symbol to our never ending creativity and search of inspiration from the most unprecedented of situations.