Tees and Tanks – the face of modern art?

Art is best found in the living, breathing world around us. A lazy definition of art might be still life paintings of fruit or the Mona Lisa, but now mixing art and modern culture is moving forward. The blog Tees and Tanks States in their bio:

We think “photoshopping images onto tank tops” is the new “painting oil colors onto stretched canvases”. This is our art form and we love it.

This is just what they do. Images are photoshopped onto t-shirts and vests, some so quirky and funny you wish they were buy-able.


With the graphic t-shirt being the ultimate political statement for the everyman, Tees and Tanks unwittingly insert art into one of the most intrinsic aspects of our society – casual daywear.


Parody is, of course, the most essential aspect of both Tees and Tanks and the world of graphic tees. By taking several aspects of high culture – art and fashion – and creating something which emulates the culture of the internet (memes, Tumblr, Reddit), youth and pop this is art that is keyed into our brains without a second thought.
I had the chance to ask the runners of Tees and Tanks a few questions about their blog:

So when and how did Tees and Tanks begin?

Tees&Tanks: We launched in June 2012, so two  years ago. My friend Marissa and I started it as a lark. We had seen some other Tumblr blogs doing something similar (sexy-sweaters was an early one, I think) and we wanted to give it a try. So we took some photos of four different flowy tops, started collecting images we liked, and then photoshopped them together.

Would you define yourselves as artists?

T&T: Yeah! We use the term “art” liberally. If you like doing something, if you have at least a little bit of passion, and you make something happen, that is art. Maybe you’re a mechanic fixing a car. You work hard, you do a great job, and you use a little bit of creative problem solving… then you are an artist. At least in that moment of creativity, you are an artist and your solution to your problem is art. Anything can be art.

Where do these images come from?

T&T: All over the place. Tumblr. Imgur. If we see something that tickles us in just the right way, and we think it will make a cool shirt, we collect it. 

When we first started, we credited every photographer, illustrator, and artist that we could find. And this sounds really lame (because it is really lame), but we eventually stopped doing that. It seemed like no one really cared and it took a surprisingly long time to find the original source. We explain this on our About page and we tell people to message us whenever they want to see a source referenced. We’re happy to add a reference.

Would you describe these tees as central and mainstream, or more offbeat and counter-culture?

T&T: Both, for sure. Some are mainstream and some counter-culture. That’s the beauty of art though, right? Each post can be categorized one way by one person, and a different way by someone else. We’re not really thinking in those terms when we’re creating these images. Mostly we just want to make something fun.

Finally, would you ever consider actually making these tees and selling?

T&T: Yeah! We do sell some of them! You can see all the “for sale” tops here:

Again, you can see more details on our about page



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