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What are Handpainted T-shirts – Perspectives from Dharya GambhirNeeraj
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” ― Leonardo da Vinci
There are abundant methodologies for adding a great design to your T-shirt. These are achieved through dye, color spray, paint or print to make your own unique and innovative work of art. But the most adorable and exclusive are the ones which are Handpainted. Work of art has always been a fascination, so I caught up with talented Artist and friend Dharya Gambhir to shed some light on Handpainted T-shirts, Artwork and the work he has been doing.
So Dharya, What are Handpainted T-shirts and designs?
Hand Painted Designs are work of art painted by hand on canvas. For an artist canvas could be anything be it fabric, wood, metal, plastic, ruptured walls etc. So yes T-shirts are just one of the surfaces or I must say canvas.
What is the Process to Make a final product?
The first and most important step in the process is to identify the concept that would manifest into a design. What are we trying to convey through the design? In case of a T-shirt, would the person donning the t-shirt, feel a connection with it? why would he buy it in the first place? Hand painted T-shirts themselves are not mass-produced, although the designs can be unique but replicated. Therefore having a good concept is a must to appeal to the buyer, plus it’s also a creative outlet for the artist’s imagination.
The next step in the process is to identify the surface to be used. For T-Shirt – 100% cotton gives optimum and fabulous results, avoid lycra based fabrics for painting.
The third Step is to identify the medium to be used. The medium could be numerous like acrylic, oil, enamel, wood paints and metal paints. For example Acrylic are generally water and oil based. Oil Paints are mixed with turpentine. So yes it’s a little tricky here on choosing the right medium for the right surface. With some research and infact mostly by experience one would get to know what medium to choose.
The final step is the execution where the design is transferred on to the surface via a medium I would say. In case of a T-shirt, one would also need few accessories like:
- Thick piece of cardboard
- Paint brushes
- Hair Dryer
- Paper Towels
- Piece of scrap fabric – for ironing
Place your shirt on a flat surface, with the cardboard placed inside the shirt to allow you to paint on (without paint going through to the other side). Select your colors you wish to paint with. And then as they Say Art == Poetry, go ahead with the design. Post this there is a drying Period post which the product is ready.
Would also like to add three things which are absolutely essential for the handpainted work to sustain the washing and wear and tear:
- High quality paint (Medium)
- Proper fabric painting techniques (Execution)
- Usage of Quality fabric (Surface)
Usage of Quality fabric : Sweater knits, Spandex, Nylons, and other kinds of stretch fabrics are not good choices for hand painted clothing. Even high quality fabric paint can crack as these materials stretch with wear and washing. Cottons, Cotton blends, Sweatshirt Fleece and denims are good high quality fabrics for this kind of work. Silks are also a good fabric for painting.Having said that, even quality fabrics should never be chemically treated. The detergents used in prewashing should be carefully selected, to be sure there are no additives like bleach, fabric softener, or oxi-clean. The prewash process should also include extra rinsing to be sure that all detergent is out of the garment.
High quality paint: Using the wrong paint can cause stiffness, fading, and cracking, therefore it’s important to research and experiment.
Proper fabric painting techniques: Too much dry time between coats or layers can cause fading and cracking. Therefore Artists use some techniques called Wet-on-Wet which can help avoid some common problems one faces.
We have seen that handpainted T-shirts are Usually a little pricey, please shed some light on that..
They are pricey because every art piece is unique in itself, no two artwork can be replicated exactly by hand. It requires time and effort to paint an art piece. Consider the T-shirt business itself, the cost of T-shirts comes down because they are mass-produced in a factory plus the manufacturer always has bigger profit margins due to higher volumes. Handpainted designer T-shirts on the other hand are crafted and curated with great care by the artist and usually is a lengthy process.. Drawing a parallel from the Royal Enfield Bullet.. It’s pricey you know why? because for a long time a major part of the manufacturing and assembling was done by hands and not industrial robots.
What are some useful resources to learn and practice, whats your recommendation for people willing to take this up?
Useful resources are all available on the internet these days, it is just you have to experiment and experience how a surface and medium work together. And for those who can’t access internet for them observation is the key, observing things around them and experimentation is always important. With experimentation people will get to know how to play with colors.
Tell us Something About ‘The Artender’ and the kind of work you have been doing?
For me Art is proportional to experimentation. Our Mission at The Artender is to be “Makers of things Never Made before”
Our love for art has inspired us to be more creative, innovative and make things that set us apart. With this passion we bring innovative products that are masterpiece of art in itself. Hand Painted T-shirts is just one part of the work. We also design handcrafted Jewellery products and other artifacts.
If you are interested in purchasing handpainted products or want to learn more about them, you can reach out to Dharya Gambhir @ the Artender:
Artender on Facebook
Phone: +91-9999195139 , +91-9971832008
Speaking of Art, We decided to put a small little gallery to showcase some of the Work, The Artender has been doing
“You might as well ask an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem. It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear thorough the search.” ― Rick Riordan