• Artist Editions: Jim 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. 

    Philadelphia artist Jim Houser blends visual poetry and personal iconography into colorful works that serve to catalogue his own thinking. We talked to Jim about his body of work and his contribution to our Artist Editions series. 
    Photos by CJ Harvey

    Who is Jim Houser?
    A 44 year-year-old husband, father and painter from Philadelphia . 

    What’s the first thing you can ever remember making in your whole life?

    Your work combines bold colors with personal and narrative iconography. What kinds of things did you create when you first started making art? How did your practice evolve to where you are now? 
    When I was young, I drew a lot of spaceship battles and boat battles where two boats would be shooting at each other, and there would be sharks under the boats eating anyone that fell in the water. How I got from there to where I am now, I have no clue. I just drew and drew and drew, every day, for forever. 

    Are there any particular artists or designers that you’ve looked up to throughout your career ? 
    Adam Wallacavage. Adam and I went to high school together and have been friends for 30 years. I’ve always looked up to him for his work ethic and his ability to apply his particular aesthetic to anything he takes on. 

    How has living in Philadelphia influenced your art? What do you think of the art scene here? 
    I was close to the heart at the beginnings of Space 1026, that definitely had an effect on my understanding of what I was capable of and not capable of as an artist. I worked closely with a lot of really talented people through that place. Ss far as the art scene in philadelphia now goes, I feel kind of removed from it. I don’t follow things very closely. 

    Do you ever get stuck? How do you work around any creative blocks? 
    Yep, I’m pretty blocked right now, actually. It feels shitty and horrible. I just trudge my way through it, making things I hate that frustrate me until i accidentally make something I like again. It can last months and usually coincides with depression. I just have to remind myself that it eventually fades, even if it doesn’t feel like it will. 

    Can you tell us about your work for Artist Editions? Where did the ideas come from? 
    Both shirts are ideas taken from paintings I made in the last year. 

    Do you have any favorite t-shirt designs? 
    Not really, I usually wear blank t shirts.

    What makes a t-shirt design great? 
    The proper amount of sleeves. It should ideally have more than one, but less than three. 

    What’s next for you? 
    I’m going to go in the other room and sign a pile of prints. 

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