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Story of: Smiling Sunflower

  • by Infinity Lab

The BBC Astronaut. The Hundreds' Adam Bomb. Hebru Brantley's Flyboy. Heck, even Virgil's "air quotes". There's something special about recurring characters in brands, art and culture. It's what makes the story of the brand, artist or designer so intriguing. When I started Stella Ultra, I wanted to have a character like that for myself.

illustrated astronaut   


My biggest inspiration for that was Steven Harrington. He has this really cool recurring palm tree (to rep that he's from LA) and this cool dog with sunglasses. His work has probably had the biggest impact on me while working on Stella Ultra, and it was the launchpad to find my own character.

Collection of works from Steven Harrington


I began doodling, and trying out different ideas and thoughts until I landed on something I felt was meaningful. At this point, Tyler, The Creator's Flower Boy album had just come out and it was the soundtrack to my life at that time. I felt really connected to that album, especially the cover with all the sunflowers surrounding Tyler and that's where I got the idea of making my character a sunflower.

As you can see above, I grabbed my mixed media pad and my ultra fine point marker and got to work. I figured out the petals and now needed to work on the face. That face above is ugly but, it's part of the process to getting to something good.

I figured out the face, and gave it a unique smile just to make it a bit wonky and a different. The thing about all of the characters mentioned at the beginning of this is that they're unique - idiosyncratic to it's creator. So starry eyes and wonky smiles became how I made my art mine, and I ended up with this design that would live on a super-comfy 1/4 sweater.




Shop the sweater by clicking HERE.


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