• Artist Editions: TTK x UO

    Designed exclusively for Urban Outfitters, Artist Editions is an ongoing series of limited edition graphic t-shirts created by a rotating roster of artists from around the globe.

    Our latest UO Artist Editions collaboration comes from artist TTK, a graphic artist whose creativity and appealing, nostalgia-heavy references have allowed him to work on a breadth of projects that range from t-shirt design to music video creation. Below, we get a little background on TTK from TTK himself and find out more about how his collab with UO came to life.
    Photo by Keef Louda

    Above: UO Artist Editions TTK Collage Tee

    For those who don’t know you, can you give us a quick rundown of your artistic background?
    I first started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Fell in love with comic books and album cover art at an early age. I was trained as a fine artist in high school and I painted on canvas for many years. As years went on, I wanted to change with the times so I went back to college to study communication design. I've worked with Mass Appeal Records since 2015, and I've done everything from art direction, album art, package production, to full-length lyric (music) videos.

    You seem to draw a lot of inspiration from pop culture + music icons – heavy on nostalgia. What is it that speaks to you personally about this subject matter?
    As a kid, I fell in love with music and art as well. I'm a fan of the jazz, funk, house and Hip-Hop that came before me – so I try to pay homage to past creatives. I don't think there's anything new under the sun, but I do think it's about how you put your personal spin on your art. From the music to the nostalgic references, it's about telling the story of what influenced me at different stages in my life.

    Above: UO Artist Editions TTK Sleeping Reaper Tee

    How have you felt compelled to artistically challenge yourself recently?
    I try to challenge myself by not saying what I can't do, and just go for the shot. Last year, I designed 2 full-length lyric videos. One was for DJ Shadow featuring Nas; the other was for N.O.R.E. featuring Pharrell Williams. Prior to that, I'd never created a music video! It was a challenge because I wasn't trained to do motion graphics, but I taught myself as I went along. Even when I have time to go back to painting canvases (which is rare these days) I try to apply new techniques that show my growth as a visual artist.

    Who are some other artists that you’ve been drawing inspiration from?
    I'm a big Alex Ross fan. I love Fahamu Pecou & Tim Okamura's work. Those guys are amazing! Broken Fingaz, FAILE, Fuse Green, ESPO and the crew, Grotesk... there are too many for me to name. I'm inspired by anyone who's making dope shit!

    Above: UO Artist Editions TTK ATM Tee

    Tell us a little bit about your final pieces for UO Artist Editions – why this collection?
    The Collage Tee
    is a collection of different graphics I've used over the years. It's a collection of mixed puzzle pieces that somehow connect to make something new. The Sleeping Reaper Tee originated as a funny idea in my sketchbook. I thought, if death took a nap, how would it look? The ATM graphic was inspired by my love for making fake advertisements that look real.

    Finally, what’s your favorite t-shirt you own? What makes it the best?!
    My favorite tee is a tee I designed last year called "The Beaches." It was inspired by Polo Ralph Lauren's Snow Beach pullover and all the fake clothing you can find on and around Canal Street in New York City. It's the best because the shirt started as joke to myself but turned into a cool design that people like. I also love my Haile Selassie I tee that I've had for nearly 20 years. Bleach got on it, but I still wear it!

    See more from TTK on his Instagram and Website