• Artist Editions: Joe Flores 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. 

    Joe Flores is a Chicago-style graphic designer with a BFA in art and design. Through his illustration imprint, Pizza Press, Joe slings pins, patches, pennants, and other collectable goods inspired by pop culture, skate, and bootleg design. 
    Photos by Ryan Lowry 
    Photos by Anthony Pappalardo 

    What was the creative spark that got you hooked on visual art? 
    I definitely feel like skating sparked my interest in art. This all derived from going to the skate shops (Board Dogs in Lombard and Skate Shack in Wheaton) with my dad and figuring out what board I should get next. I always drooled over Sean Clivers’ graphics he did for Hook-Ups and dug any of Jim Phillips’ work. I tried not to board slide to avoid ruining the graphic and often tried to mimic the artwork in my school notebooks. 

    What’s so special about that feeling of wearing a great t-shirt? 
    T-shirt designs were a talking point because I had a shy personality growing up. I would obsess over these designs, often wearing them consecutive days. To me, a t-shirt design is a walking canvas someone can spend the day in doing what they love while feeling great rocking something that defines them. It’s the ultimate statement that you choose for yourself. 

    What types of shirts do you like to collect? 
    I’m always drawn to bootleg shirt designs and nostalgic shirts. Some of the heaviest ones are the vintage Beavis and Butthead tees, any Bootleg Bart tees, as well as the classic NBA Champ tees (specifically the ’96–’98 Chicago Bulls’). 

    What is it about logo design that challenges you and speaks to you about the medium? 
    I love taking an idea someone has and translating it in my own way that stays true to both parties. It often forces one or the other (or both) to venture outside their comfort zone to learn more about the other. I find my most successful projects are for businesses that are polar opposite of me, because I start with an open mind and clean slate which allows me to explore more possibilities. 

    What influenced your work for this project? 
    My contributions for this edition consisted of taking your everyday cliché pieces—skulls, flames, 8-balls, and fine art—and applying a new spin on them. I’m not necessarily into re-inventing the wheel as much as I am into creating something that just translates well. These were all things I was into growing up and drawing. I didn’t set out to pave the way for some new trend, but just wanted to fulfill the ideas I had in my head onto paper. 

    Shop Artist Editions 
    Shop UO Journal Issue 2
    Head to UO’s Space 15 Twenty at 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd in Los Angeles, CA on February 25th to celebrate the launch of UO Journal issue 2 and the second release of our ongoing Artist Editions series.