• Artist Editions: Dylan Houser 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. 

    Dylan Houser, also known as PinkSinks, was born in the ‘80s and raised in the ‘90s in sunny California. Drawing from his playfully self-deprecating esthetic, you’ll find his art often inspired by strikeouts and home runs, head banging and sappy sing-alongs, puppy dogs and scary monsters.
    Photos by Melissa Tilley 

    Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I was born and raised in Seaside, California and went to college in Phoenix, AZ. My first job after graduating was as an intern in the art department for Paul Frank and it was easily the most fun work environment I’ve ever been in. After Paul Frank got bought out and I got laid off, I moved to Philly and worked as the designer for UBIQ for a few years. I did a really silly Phillies themed shirt that said “ILL” and things haven’t been the same for me since. I now run the ecommerce team for Inked Magazine and it doesn’t suck at all! 

    What’s your earliest memory of creating art? 
    My earliest memory of creating art was entering a competition for a Ringling Brothers circus. I remember drawing a clown and somehow winning the thing. I won a crappy switchblade comb for my work and was pretty pumped on it. 

    What were your early influences once you started creating? 
    My early influences for creating art were event fliers at local venues. My ma was the event coordinator at the county fairgrounds and I got to look at all the submissions for any artwork that came across her desk. I remember some of the pieces really vividly and wanted to one day create a flier for the county fair. That was my earliest dream in life! Sadly, it never happened.

    You grew up on the West Coast but are now based in Philadelphia, what inspired the move? How have the west and east coast influenced your work? 
    Oh man. Typical sob story about moving for a girl, her promising me the world and her leaving me homeless the day I arrived. Out of spite, I stuck around. I was homeless for my 22nd birthday, sleeping in parks and abandoned buildings until I got a lucky break and met a great dude named Mike Rios who helped me out unlike anyone ever could imagine. The east coast is infinitely more sports crazy than I was ready for when moving here; and I mean that in the best way. I was part of a really cool zine that was entirely based to show off people’s collections. My collection happened to be sports fonts. 

Your workspace in Philly is in a garage, can you tell us about the space? 
     My workspace is in a rad motorcycle shop in Philadelphia called Yorick and Sons Moto, owned by Dave Hans and Babatunde Alli. It’s an awesome shop that is super accepting of any and all motorcycles. There is a weird click in a lot of motorcycle culture that your bike defines who you are and who you ride with; those dudes don’t care, they just want to ride. Working on a motorcycle shop is an adventure to say the least. There are times I’m sitting at my desk and have sparks from a grinding wheel spraying the back of my head or I might have someone ask me to lend a hand while removing a front suspension. Needless to say, I have the greasiest keyboard in the world.

    What do you currently ride? 
    Right now I ride a 2014 Harley Davidson Iron 883. The dudes at Yorick and Sons have helped me do a TON of work on my bike and it is very much becoming a tracker bike. I grew up sitting on the back of my dad’s 1984 Harley FXR and remember wanting so badly to one day own my own bike. Riding in Philadelphia is a constant obstacle course of potholes, horses, cobblestone roads and debris.

    When you’re not working on art, how do you spend your time? 
    When I’m not working on art, I like tinkering on my motorcycle (usually doing a poor job of it). I also watch way too much wrestling. The east coast has an awesome indie wrestling scene and I try to see as many events as possible. 

    You’re an avid fan of professional wrestling, what draws you to the sport? Does wrestling ever manage to make it into your work? 

    Professional wrestling is funny, in that, people always want to tell me it’s fake. I know it’s fake! So is Game of Thrones and people seem to love that, too. I love that you don’t have to know anything about a wrestler or their gimmick, but you always know to boo the heel and cheer the baby face. I think my dream job would be to design wrestling merch! If anyone at WWE is reading this, look me up! I’m willing to relocate. I can’t say wrestling has ever made it’s way into my artwork consciously. 

    Can you tell us a bit about your designs for artist editions? What inspired the work? 
    The “Today Sucks” piece I created for the Artist Editions was inspirited by an art project I spent a year working on. I’ve never been really good at drawing (with the exception of winning a switchblade comb as a child), so I decided to draw something new every day for an entire year and put it out on social media for everyone to see (so I couldn’t half ass it or cut corners). The theme was “today sucks.” I wanted to make light of the most sucky part of my day and put it into a fun little drawing incorporating that phrase into the piece. It was fun to see my skills progress as the year went on. It was also nice to sometimes really have to rack my brain to find any part of my day that was bad and get to make fun of it. After my year was up, I removed the entire project from my instagram page and sent out the originals to people that had any sort of connection with any of them. The “Sports” graphic was loosely of based on a joke between some friends. We are all crazy about sports but we don’t seem the type. We get called out and teased for talking about sports way too much and our typical reply is “sports!” Now we can wear a shirt and point to our chest. 

    What makes a t-shirt design special? 
    I think the beauty of a t-shirt design is, there isn't anything that really makes it special universally. Like most art, something I like isn't going to be something everyone else likes and that's what makes it rad. I can sometimes create an instant distain (generally New York based teams) or affinity (generally vintage wrestling references) to someone depending solely on their t-shirt. 

    What are your all time favorite t-shirts? 
    Oh man, growing up I LOVED No Fear shirts but could never afford them. I also loved the entire Nike athlete collection with Ken Griffey Jr., Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson. I always wanted them, but could only ever get them reasonably priced at the Outlets a year after there were cool or even remotely relevant. I also loved WWF and WCW wrestling shirts at the time, but they never, ever made them in my scrawny size. Now that I’m not a runt, I get to spend way too much money on all those same shirts on eBay as they finally fit!

    What’s next for you? 
    I don’t know what’s next for me; I guess I’m waiting on that call from WWE to be their next designer. I’ve been at Inked Magazine/Inkedshop.com for three years now and I don’t have any plans other than doing fun freelance jobs.  

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