My t-shirts went on sale at Amon Tobin’s website today.
I was given a blank slate with the design of this shirt, but there were natural restrictions. The design would have to reflect Amon’s music in some way, and to make a good screenprint I would need to be aware of the limitations of the medium with regard to thickness of lines.
Previous designers have created a wide range of artwork for Amon, but there are certain themes which have been used repeatedly. Amon’s got quite a range to his sound: he’s most well known for his darker, more menacing work but his music is often very light and melodic. It’s not surprising that so many artists have used robotic themes for his artwork given that many of Amon’s tracks make you think of sinuous machinery, but another side to his sound is reminiscent of something ancient. I wanted to depict both of these aspects in my design. Also, although Amon was actually born in Brazil and identifies as Brazilian, he sounds like a well-spoken Englishman due to growing up in Britain.
I pooled all of these ideas, and decided to base my work on the Windsor Coat Of Arms. I considered creating my design digitally with Paths in Photoshop, but I realised that part of what makes the original work is that it’s not highly accurate so I decided to use pencil and pen instead. I was also concerned that too much accuracy might make certain details jump out as mirrored pairs – perfect layouts can create a kind of invisible grid. Luckily I’ve got a lightbox (well I say it’s a lightbox, although it does look a lot like a hospital x-ray viewer, and I suppose it does have the word “HOSPITAL” moulded into the plug… but really, the similarities end there). This meant I could simply tape paper over a printout of the Windsor coat of arms and get to work. My version trades various heraldic details for computer audio components, and I made his robots’ heads so that they can be seen to have the long shape of a horse/unicorn, but also contain an area with the shape of a bird’s beak (thus changing the lion into a griffon).
I also made the digital painting above for the desktop wallpaper versions:
4:3 aspect ratio
16:10 aspect ratio (widescreen)
16:9 aspect ratio (widescreen)