Artist Interview: Qetza

Spirit OwlQetza aka Jorge Garza has been around the t-shirt design arena for quite some time and has had several wins at many sites. His most successful being Design By Humans with not only 4 shirt of the day wins but also a very successful DBH Collective store. His whimsical and highly detailed work has captured the hearts of many and as his following grows so does the quality of each tee design. Browse his store and see how this artist is climbing the ranks and making a humble yet impressive ripple in the T-shirt design pond. Let's jump in!

The Sailor & the Syren Treasures of the Deep Gaia

Jorge Garza Digital-Based Illustration and T-Shirt Design Q: Hello Qetza, tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from? My name is Jorge Garza, I hail all the way from Indiana and love drawing and creating art for t-shirts. I'm a Gemini who hates to fly and autumn is my favorite season. Before the Internet took off, my commercial pursuits as an artist were more stop than go and almost halted completely. Then in 2008 I discovered a bunch of places to share art online as well as the designer tee world and was excited to give it a try. DBH really stood out to me and I've subbed regularly ever since.

Q: Is the place you reside a source of inspiration, if so why? Maybe it was in the sense that growing up there wasn't a heck of a whole lot to do, just usual kid stuff. It's not incredibly scenic, I come from a big family so there was always a ruckus, plus winters are Chicago-style brutal over here. Whatever it was, I read a lot as a kid. I think most of my creativity was rooted there in all those books and comics.

Q: You were offered a DBH Collective store early on in the launch, how is that working out for you? It's been really great! I've dabbled in the POD arenas here and there and the DBH Collective has been the best experience for me so far. I've been working steadily to build up my selection and design shirts exclusively for my DBH Collective store. To be included alongside such amazing international artistic talent is an honor and I'm very thankful to DBH for giving me this opportunity.

Q: You have a style that seems to be influenced by Native American culture quite a bit, a passion of yours? Most definitely. Initially it began as researching my family background. My parents both have roots in Mexico and then finding out about cultures like the Aztecs, Maya and Olmecs sparked an interest in ancient cultural art. Living in the US and learning about Native American cultures just broadened that appreciation. I still have a lot to learn and try to be respectful. Some of the most beautiful achievements of any civilization are in their art.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your process, how do you go about making such cool art?

Battleaxe Work In Progress
Wow, thanks and very nice of you to say. The actual process can vary from starting with a concept sketch to working off of a main design element and building on it. With the latter, it's like word association except with images; Just like a traditional graphic designer might do with type and images except I draw every element. That's probably the usual way for me. Also I think sometimes, somehow the subconscious plays a role. There are those drawings that happen quickly; I'll start a sketch, be done in a day or so and it feels like it just flowed from beginning to end. "Owl Dream"is one design that came together that way. Gotta like it when that happens.

Q: You have also mastered the use of one color in your art, a tricky thing to do. How do you take a single color and make it work with such depth and detail? Any tips for other designers? Part of it is practice and pushing what a given piece can handle before it becomes too muddy or cluttered. I'm all for trial and error. Also having worked in screen print graphics production has helped. Learning about dot gain, screen mesh and seeing the results of different prints on the press helps in the preparation. But even without any screen print knowledge, pushing yourself to make each piece better is huge because it starts with the art. I also like to revisit old multi color designs and rework them down to one color and sometimes I end up liking them more that way.

Q: If you could only draw one thing for the rest of your life while listening to one song on loop what would it be and why?

Just one thing and just one song? Wow, is that one of Dante's levels or something? Because you just described hell to me. I repent! I repent!

Let's see, right now I would draw owls forever and the song would be "Hotel California" by The Eagles. I started drawing owls on a whim and ended up really enjoying them. "Hotel California" is a tune I'm ok with. I've listened to it what feels like a billion times because everywhere I've worked they seem to like the same classic rock station. I'm guessing whatever the song, you would either have to learn to tune it out or go mad trying anyway, so it doesn't really matter. On the plus side the lyrics do have a haunting mystical quality'€¦then when it gets to the 2 guitars in the second half of the song; becomes this monumental achievement to the rock and roll guitar solo. "Sweet Child O' Mine" has a great one too.
Art Deco Owl (Nocturnal)

Q: When you are not designing, what do you do? What I should do is take advantage of the nice weather before we get one of those el niño winters. I made the freelance switch this year so I've really concentrated on being available and using my time to be productive. I've done some bike riding but pretty much been around here all summer. I'm planning a couple of trips and hopefully will get to at least one this year.

Q: What's the next project(s) you are working on? Anything cool in the pipeline?" For right now it's all t-shirt designs and freelance. I just finished a couple of far out t-shirt designs for bands. One was also made into a black light poster. It was a blast working on that stuff. I have a personal project I sneak work on, an anthology horror comic. When and if it gets completed will be released as a digital comic.

Q: Finally, you seem to like bears so out of all the famous cartoon bears who is your favorite and why? Actually give us your top three. Yogi, Boo Boo and Bobo from the Simpsons.Yogi because he's the first I thought of and Boo Boo because you can't have Yogi without him. Bobo, because he represents the optimistic dreamer in us all. Losing Bobo was a catalyst to Mr Burns becoming a cold heartless tycoon. If you let Bobo go you lose a little bit of your soul. Hold on to Bobo for as long as you can.

Qetza Designs

Dreams of a Feather Art Deco Owl (Diurnal) Owl Dream

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