When Silent Pandas Attack Rob Pruitt

Some of you might remember that about two weeks ago I posted a story about New York based artist Rob Pruitt ripping off the popular Threadless T-Shirt, When Pandas Attack. The tee was designed AJ Dimarucot and Jimmy Benedict (aka jimiyo), despite this, neither artists received attribution for the design nor did either provide Pruitt with permission to use the design.

Since then, the close knit T-Shirt community has been discussing this hot topic, with one forum thread on the popular T-Shirt site Emptees receiving 300+ posts regarding the topic.

Threadless, a popular Internet based T-Shirt company with a tight knit and vocal community decided to take things into their own hands. A handful of Threadless faithful made their way to Pruitt’s “Pattern and Degradation” gallery in West Village for a silent protest of sorts, with each member decked out in the original When Pandas Attack T-Shirt. Oh, and they also had a huge panda accompanying them. Threadless posted a few photos from the event and promises to share video. And guess what, Pruitt was at the gallery.

“Yesterday in NYC at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Threadless fans and staffers staged a silent attack against the use of a Threadless design, “When Pandas Attack” (which was originally a collab by Jimiyo and AJ Dimarucot). Rob Pruitt, the artist who allegedly misappropriated the design (to put it kindly) was actually in the gallery at the time, and was completely baffled. We’re sure the guy sneaking around in a panda suit helped our silent yet powerful cause too! Talk about art creating art creating one very confused “artist.”

Now you’re wondering why Threadless doesn’t just sue Pruitt for copyright infringement. It turns out that since Threadless is crowdsourced, they only keep the rights to the apparel, while the original artists hold the rights to the actual design. So therein lies the problem. AJ Dimarucot, one of the co-designers is based in the Philippines, which makes things quite complicated. he wants to take action, but because he lives so far away, it is difficult for him to do so. And Jimiyo has gone on record as being quite apathetic to the whole situation.

So what to do? Well, first off, we can start by showing Pruitt that he is wrong. If you live in New York:

  1. Show up to the gallery wearing you When Pandas Attack T-Shirt and ask Pruitt why he ripped off two artists without giving attribution or getting permission.
  2. If you don’t have a When Pandas Attack T-Shirt, then show up anyway, and question him and/or bug the staff or curators about the situation. Let people know that he ripped off this piece.
  3. Post about this story on your blog, or better yet, RT this post or link to it on your Facebook page so that when people Google Pruitts name, this and the other posts linked will also show up.

Stealing art is bad, even pandas know that.

When Pandas Attack

When Pandas Attack

When Pandas Attack

When Pandas Attack

When Pandas Attack

When Pandas Attack

Photos via Threadless’ Official Facebook Page.

A Little Story About Kevin Garnett

I’ve featured A.J. Dimarucot aka Collision Theory on this blog many times before (read interview) and was excited when I read this post that he made over at Emptees regarding a Kevin Garnett design that he did a year ago. This story should be pretty inspiring for you would be and hopeful designer types.

I had a friend who worked in Adidas in my country and I emailed him the graphic, asking him to send it over to his US contacts. I was hoping they would pick it up and use it on t-shirts.

A year passed and nothing came of it. Until June of this year.

I got an email.

From Adidas.

They wanted to buy the graphic.


I didn’t wait long enough….I had sold the graphic to a clothing line who liked the zombie quality of the design. And they didn’t really care that it was actually KG. I never expected Adidas to come back to me after so long. So I sold the damn design to someone else!

So I told the Adidas contact it was not available anymore expecting I would probably miss the only chance I could work with a client like Adidas. But good thing they wanted me to do graphics for Dwight Howard (fuck you SWH haha) and Derrick Rose. So I did! They’re not in stores yet and probably won’t be available until 2010 (if at all they print it).

So I was stoked. Thinking I was lucky enough to have worked for them. Damn good pieces for the folio.

I thought it would end there.

Come November of this year. Nike US emails me and asks if I could do some t-shirt graphics for them. Telling me how much they like my work. They actually showed me a design of mine they really liked.

Guess what graphic it was..


So I did two Nike Air Max graphics for them for their Europe accounts. They paid me a damn huge amount and they may or may not print the design.

So there. I officially love Kevin Garnett.

Moral of the story. Do things you love. One day someone will pay you for it.

Kevin Garnett

Interview with DBH 10K Winner Christian San Jose

Fresh off his big $10,000 Design By Humans win, Christian San Jose (aka csj89) sat down to talk with me about his winning design Mecha-Labaw, the stress of competition and the power of social networking and good old hustle.

Mecha-Labaw by Christian San Jose aka csj89

1. Congratulations on winning the Design By Humans $10,000 contest!It’s been about a 2 month wait since the start of the contest – what has your anxiety level been like during the last couple of weeks?

Thanks Coty! It was really a roller-coaster experience, from the joy I got because of all the support by friends and people that liked the design, to all the stress that came from thinking of new ways of promoting it, even the anxiety that each new round (and the consequent vote reset) brings. I barely slept in August, because if you stopped promoting, there’s a big chance somebody will get ahead.

2. What was your reaction when you found out you won?

My initial reaction was a huge sigh of relief that it was all over. But that didn’t take long, I jumped around and screamed a lot too. I was at my day job with all my officemates awaiting the countdown, and everybody cheered loudly when it was finally announced. I think I high-fived about 30 people, even the CEO who didn’t know what was happening.

3. What was your inspiration for Mecha-Labaw? What did you try and accomplish with this design?

I came up with Mecha-Labaw because I wanted to do an illustration that had something to do with my country. I came across a large water buffalo photo, and I always wanted to draw something intricate and robotic or mechanical which I haven’t done before. So it all came together with the artwork. It became an artwork in honor of a national symbol in the Philippines.

4. The final two in the DBH 10K came down to you and AJ Dimarucot aka collisiontheory, the reigning 10K champion. Did you feel like you had a good chance at upsetting AJ and winning it all?

Honestly when the contest was nearing its end, I already had my mind set that there’s no chance I’d win over AJ. Since the votes were hidden, I based my thought on the comment count and at the time, I had over 400 comments, and AJ’s sub was close to around 700. During the most part though, I never stopped asking for votes despite the little chance. AJ and I are good friends and colleagues outside of DBH, we’re even neighbors, and I closely followed his win last year – how he continuously promoted his design and got votes from everywhere. I followed his plans from last year (newspaper and web ads, giving away design resources), and added schemes of my own. Last August, I did 4 seminars discussing graphic design and t-shirt culture in schools and organizations, and after each talk, I had a chance to promote Mecha-Labaw and ask for help. I also included Mecha-Labaw in two group exhibits I was apart of during the voting process. I also work full-time as a web designer in an Internet Marketing company, so that experience helped me in brainstorming and coming up with the landing page for voters – www.mechalabaw.com, and the placement of promotional blog entries in high traffic websites.

5. You really pushed hard at promoting Mecha-Labaw. At what point in the contest did you think, “geee, wouldn’t be great if I actually set up a website just to promote Mecha-Labaw?” Was the website something you knew you wanted to do from the start?

It was a plan since the very start of the contest, the site was done right after I submitted Mecha-Labaw to DBH, and it was made public just after the announcement of the Top 20. I planned and scheduled all my promotions days ahead of the submission, and at first it was supposed to be hosted at www.csj89.com/10k/ so I could easily spread the link around, but that link was already hard to remember. The direct DBH link was also long and hard to remember, and previous DBH experience dictates that some new DBH visitors get lost when presented with the direct vote link. They didn’t know if they had to register first, where the vote button was and whatnot. I made a landing page with a memorable domain name to make the vote process as easy and smooth as possible. I also included a shirt give-away raffle promo for anyone who re-blogs, for incentive. The site was hosted on the same server as my portfolio (www.csj89.com), and the new domain name was just $9. Not a bad price considering all the help it provided. I wish I could show you the old piece of paper I drafted all my initial promotional ideas on but I can’t seem to find it now.

6. Are you satisfied with final colorway that Design By Humans decided to go with for the Mecha-Labaw print?

Very satisfied on my part, I love the colorway they chose. Some of the buyers want lighter choices though, it’s all up to DBH if they decide to print it again.

Mecha-Labaw Original Mock Up

Mcha-Labaw Final Print

7. Finally, I think most people are interested to know how you’re going to spend/use the cash prize?

I’ll give $1000 to charity, buy a Macbook, and keep the rest of the money in the bank for future savings.

Thank you very much Coty for this interview, and again I’d also like to thank everyone who supported Mecha-Labaw in the contest :)

Design by Humans Announces 10K Winner

Congratulations to csj89 for winning the Annual Design By Humans $10,000 Contest with his entry, Mecha-Labaw! He edged out some pretty tough competition,including last years winner, AJ Dimarucot aka collisiontheory. It seems that my 10K predictions were not too far off! Both shirts are now available for sale at Design By Humans.

How many of you are already preparing for next years 10K contests? Better get those creative caps on soon because I am sure that the year will fly right on by!

Mecha-Labaw by csj89

Twilight Rain by collisiontheory

DBH 10K: The Final Four

I’ve been tracking the Design By Humans 10K contest since it was first announced and I am excited that they released the final four designs that are up for voting! As some of you might know, I chose 5 designs that I thought could win the 10K contest and now just one of those has survived the final round. Twilight Rain by collisiontheory is the lone design left amongst the ones I had predicted to win. Also still left in the competition is Mecha-Labaw by csj89 whom we ran a special post about (written by Blake from YouDesignIt.com) discussing how he had taken a different approach to promote his DBH 10K entry.

So, here are the final four contestants. Be sure to get your vote in before August 23rd. Who do you think will win?

Mecha-Labaw by csj89

Twilight Rain by collisiontheory

SOS strawberry flavour by gloopz

Journey to the City of No Horizon by TangYauHoong

Coty Loves Threadless #23 – A Flock of Gulls!

So this is weird. I filmed this episode last week but I forgot to post it! This is Coty Loves Threadless for last weeks crop of tees! I think I’m losing it, LOL! Anyhow, I love my Threadless Pick of the (last)Week because it’s just so damn witty! Flock of Seagulls anyone? How about Flock of Gulls! Episode #25 or this weeks crop of Threadless tees should be up tomorrow morning!

Coty Loves Threadless #23 on YouTube. Also, I’ll give you a hug if you subscribe to me on YouTube!

Flock of Gulls by Andrew John Mohacsy is my Threadless Pick of the Week!

Flock of Gulls by Andrew John Mohacsy

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Win $10,000 from Design By Humans

It’s that time of the year again! Time for the big $10,000 Design By Humans contest. Remember last years winner, AJ Dimarucot (aka CollisionTheory)? Well, he took home the $10,000 cash prize for his design, Black Hole Sun, and started his own line of children clothes called googoo&gaga. What will you do with the cash if you win? 

Design By Humans just announced the newest 10K contest at Design By Humans, in celebration of the site’s 2nd birthday. The only requirement for entry is to be original! Over-sized prints, mixed media, and up to 14 ink colors are allowed so create something truly unique and you could take home the big prize. Get your submission in by July 26, 2009 and you could win one of these prizes:

Grand Prize: $10,000 USD
First Runner-Up: $1,000 USD
Second Runner-Up: $1,000 USD
Third Runner-Up: $1,000 USD
Fourth Runner-Up: $1,000 USD

Design By Humans

Design By Humans

Official Rules:

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Coty Loves Threadless #12 – She Says LOL

I adore Threadless so much that it’s time for another episode of Coty Loves Threadless! It’s episode #12 and this week I will bombard you all with Coty winks! If you’re wondering, my Threadless Pick of the Week is that stunning design down below simply titled LOL by Amy Midkiff and Eric Fan aka Kookaberry. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out and vote for my TypeTees slogan submissions – I’m submitting one every day until I get printed! Every vote counts so vote for a slogan and help me get printed.

Coty Loves Threadless #12 on YouTube. Also, I’ll give you a hug if you subscribe to me on YouTube!

LOL by Amy Midkiff and Eric Fan aka Kookaberry is my Threadless Pick of the Week!

LOL by Amy Midkiff and Eric Fan

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Interview with Threadless Bestee Winner Kneil Melicano

I had the opportunity to chat a bit with Kneil Melicano, who this week won the Threadless Bestees Award for Design of the Year. Of course, he was quite excited about his win and I was very excited to get to chat with him. 


Coty: What was it like waiting to see if your design would make the top 20 for the Design of the Year category? Were you confident that you would win Design of the Year once you saw that RED made the top 20?

Kneil: It was amazing. I’m still floored. I was not that confident looking at all the finalists, seeing most that made it are some of the best concepts for a t-shirt printed out there. The amount of talent Threadless produces and prints is absurd. From Frank Barbara, Aled Lewis, AJ Dimarucot + Jimiyo, Oliver Moss, Enkel Dika, Joshua Kemble, etc etc, you can’t help but feel intimidated by these heavyweights. I did an uppercut-hadouken combo after I refreshed the page and saw my name in the top 20.

Coty: You’ve mentioned that you’re friends with AJ Dimarucot, aka CollisionTheory, who also had a design that made the top 20. What was it like to go up against a friend whose design, When Pandas Attack, was much talked about this year and very popular? Would you like to maybe collaborate with AJ in the future?

Kneil: Haha! AJ is a scary scary person to go against with. I had the opportunity of meeting him when he had his victory party from his win over at DBH. And that dude knows how to throw [a party] on a side note.

He’s a very talented person for someone who admits he can’t draw. That Panda shirt is one of my favorite designs from the site. Battling it out with Pandas Attack made for the most stressful week of my life looking at how well it was received over at other sites like Emptees. But I think RED had a following of it’s own. You tend to look at it in a different perspective. Sometimes what works as standard for a great score at a printable range over at Threadless doesn’t necessarily work at other sites specifically like DBH (famed for huge prints). I think if RED made it over at DBH for a head-to-head with the Panda, it would suffer a heavy concussion with a blurred vision. I like the idea that the crowd chose a more traditional basic print. Not to pertain or target the Panda’s huge all-over placement because I think it’s very appropriate for the subject matter, but I think it separates these two sites  in terms of their crowd following. And the contrast of these two designs and some others nominated (e.g. “Fail” by Budi Kwan, “Snow Angel” by Ian Leon, “Foam Monster” by Aled Lewis) making it over to the Top 20 makes Threadless a more diverse site catering to different crowds.

We do have some projects in the works at the moment together with other Pinoys in the field like Dexter Fernandez (Krayolaeater) and Loy Valera. Hopefully, it should materialize sooner than expected.

Coty: Design of the Year was selected by the Threadless community. Did you do anything special to publicize Red, or did you just cross your fingers and hope that you got the most votes?

Kneil: Like some others, I whored away. That’s it. It’s funny because throughout the whole week of voting, sometimes we would accidentally send each other our pimp emails and myspace promotions and realize we just sent it to the competition. I got some from the other top finalists.

Coty: What is next for Kneil Melicano? How do you follow up something like Red? Do you have ideas for future Threadless designs brewing in your head?

Kneil: There’s no pressure following up RED with a hit. In fact, I think this is the moment where I can experiment more and not play safe with the standards of printability playing in my head every time I try and churn a design. I got other designs in the works but I think there is no better opportunity to focus more on my personal illustrations than right now. I got stuff that I’m dying to finish.

Coty: And of course, the big question is, how do you plan to spend your big $20,000 winnings?

Kneil: Travel! Hit up the best beaches that 20 grand could afford.