Garfield sophomore Ava Fimmano has turned her interest in graphic design into a t-shirt printing business. She sells pre-printed t-shirts with her art for $7 and sells them at a discounted rate ($5) if you bring your own shirt. Fimmano sells shirts through her instagram account @avafimmano.
Fimmano came up with the idea to start printing and selling t-shirts in September.
“For a while me and my friends have been like, ‘okay we can draw, we can do art, how are we gonna profit off of this?’” Fimmano said.
Fimmano started making prints of images she was familiar with drawing. The first print she created was a Garfield the cat head with the word “lasagna” written in block letters underneath it. The Garfield the cat design has become the most popular of Fimmano’s prints.
“Garfield [the cat] is kinda my thing, like, I have a Garfield phone, Garfield sweatshirt, Garfield stuffed animals,” Fimmano said.
Fimmano sells other unique designs. She sells a print with the phrase “is that so…” written in Japanese below an image of eyes. Her latest print is the word “nasty” written in block letters which was inspired by the rapper Rico Nasty. Fimmano is even planning a design for Halloween.
The process of making the shirts starts with her sketching the image digitally where she is able to reverse the image for printing. She sketches designs based off of what she would wear on a shirt.
“If I wouldn’t want it on a shirt then I’m probably not gonna make it,” Fimmano said.
Fimmano would describe her art style as messy but authentic.
“It’s constantly changing and in flux based on just how I feel” Fimmano said.
Fimmano’s original art style is reflected in her prints.
“My shirts are kinda like a piece of me. Every time I print a shirt I’m putting a piece of me onto this shirt that other people can wear,” Fimmano said.
She then carves her designs out of printing blocks and hand-prints them onto the shirts. Fimmano decided to do block printing as a faster alternative to embroidering shirts. The paint then needs to be cured before being washed. The entire process of making the shirts takes four to seven days.
While the business is currently exclusive to Garfield, Fimmano hopes to expand it to other schools and possibly have other students work with her on the business.
“My goal is to be like a popular business, and like an iconic thing,” Fimmano said. “I want it to be like, ‘oh that’s Ava’s shirt,’ like, that’s my design.”
She says that the business is taking off and wants to get more exposure for her shirts. Her main customers are currently sophomores but she hopes to reach a broader audience with her art.
“I just want it to be something that everyone can enjoy, cause I just think it’s like a cool idea and you know, other people might like it,” Fimmano said.
Art by Wynsome Burke