Peter Zelchenko

Portfolio > Flat Work > T-Shirts

T-Shirts. Actually, my first T-shirt work was when I was 13 years old and asked to develop one of the first "instant T-shirt" printing systems, using a videocamera, an IMSAI 8080 microcomputer (which I still have), and a black-and-white dot-matrix printer. But in later years I got more serious about T-shirts. As a founding partner, and the original art director, of Propaganda Screen Printing, my job was to consult with clients on their art, manage the art and design department, and execute a lot of art. Parking Ticket Geek and I go back decades. One of the first T-shirts I designed, which was printed by Propaganda in about 1988, was the Geek's concept of a giant parking ticket on a T-shirt. It was one of our bestsellers.

Propaganda pioneered the "T-shirt as poster" concept and we developed many innovative ways to exploit the T-shirt medium, to take it out of its flat form. We developed Propaganda to cater to creative professionals. It is still running strong today as one of the foremost T-shirt companies. (NOTE: Better images to come.)

Just a few of my favorites from the hundreds of designs I did while at Propaganda. Clockwise: My "Windy City Map" design, a good seller for years at Attitudes on Michigan Avenue. "Dribblers" (logo for a soccer team). Black PLATO 1997 commemorative T-shirt, using Propaganda's wraparound printing innovation. White PLATO 1997 commemorative T-shirt, using the entire front of the shirt as a canvas. The arm print was also something I think we did first.

My original drawing for Steve Dahl's Teenage Radiation T-shirt, one of our first designs using the entire front of the tee as a canvas. This was a top seller at Dahl concerts as well as at his Lake Effect stores. One of many collaborative designs by Mike Timble and myself.

Steve Dahl and Garry Meier were among our top customers. They had such a following in Chicago that I think we must have printed close to a thousand of these to be sold at their concerts. Another great design that I will have to get up here is my design for Kevin Matthews' "Man From New York" design for WLUP, complete with giant pink band-aid in puff ink on the back. That was another great seller at Lake Effect, but a lot of work printing.