Originally trained as an architect, London-based designer Alexander Khabbazi turned to print making in the beginning of lockdown, interested in pursuing a more dynamic and less restrained kind of art. With a signature style that’s interested in capturing textures and distortion mid-work, Alexander often works by getting artwork onto sheets of fabric, then re-scanning those textiles to capture the effect. Drawn to Everpress after his online community suggested it would work well as a T-shirt, Alexander’s Nine Lives tee fast became one of our bestsellers. We asked him about his experience making the transition from architecture to art, the creative freedom of working with a more nimble medium, and what he thinks makes for a hit T-shirt design.
You started out in architecture – how did you make the pivot to design? And what made you want to try experimenting with T-shirts?
I started out my creative career in architecture. At the beginning of lockdown I quit my job, I really wanted to pursue a less restrained kind of art. In architecture it can take years and years for anything you designed to be out in the world and enjoyed, and that’s really what drew me to Everpress. The speed and efficiency at which you get things out there in the world really allowed me to be more freeform and nimble designer.
What are your signature techniques when creating artworks?
A big part of my work is the materiality and texture of each piece, and getting that materiality represented in primarily 2D digital work, in my process at least, requires a lot of printing and re-scanning. Recently I’ve been getting some of my artwork knitted into sheets of fabric, and then re-scanning those textiles captures all the effects and distortion of knit work.
What do you think makes a strong t-shirt design?
What makes a good, popular T-shirt design? I don’t know. Don’t ask me (laughs). There’s no one cookie cutter approach to anything in design, especially what’s gonna hit. But if you make sure you’re legitimately interested in making what you’re making, then, as cheesy as it sounds, I think people are gonna really see that in the work you produce and will respond to it better. It’s very hit and miss too, so keep trying.
The Nine Lives tee has been one of our most popular designs – what do you think is behind its success?
I made the Nine Lives piece originally as an art print, not to go on a T-shirt. I hadn’t thought about slapping it on a tee until I posted the artwork online and had quite a few suggestions to do so. So I thought, why not, I’ll give it a go, and it really quickly became my first big success on Everpress. So it really goes to show, you never know until you try it.