Tee Maniacs Winner: Alex Vandenberg

Websites often have contests (and of course have contest winners), but most of them (if any) never interview the winners of the contests. So for T-Shirt Magazine #64, I decide to interview Alex Vandenberg, winner of T-Shirt Magazine’s second Tee Maniacs contest, sponsored by Threadless.

Tee Maniacs

MC: Did you submit an entry to the Tee Maniacs contest knowing that you would become a finalist and then go on the win the grand prize?

AV: I thought my image was pretty cool but I had no idea that I’d be winning a contest. For how many shirts I own anything is possible.

MC: From wearing all of the shirts to creating and finishing the animation, how long was the process for creating your contest entry?

AV: Creating the image took a little bit of preparation. I wanted to use the intervalometer on my camera and thought this would be a perfect time to accomplish this task all in one take. I set the camera to take a picture once every 15 seconds. After starting the process I soon realized that it was going too fast, but I kept on going. By the end my arms felt like they were going to fall off. Add in learning how to make an animated GIF in Photoshop I think the process took an hour or two.

MC: Have you ever won, or at least submitted to, any other online contests in the past? How did that go?

AV: I don’t think I’ve ever won an online contest before as most have been along the lines of, “send an email to register for the contest”. I think it’s a numbers game at that point and me vs tens of thousands doesn’t usually play out well from a statistics point of view. Threadless was giving out gift cards via twitter a few months ago and I snagged up ten shirts from that deal, but it wasn’t so much a contest.

MC: So you currently have a collection of 36 Threadless t-shirts, and the 15 Threadless tees you’ll be getting soon will make your result in a 51 Threadless t-shirt collection. Why did you decide to start a Threadless t-shirt collection? Are you gonna collect all of the Threadless tees, or stop collecting at a certain point?

AV: Actually, the 36 that I have listed on my profile was last updated in 2006. Since then I’ve added 56 more shirts. So when you add the 15 new Threadless shirts I’ll be pushing past 100+ shirts. Awesome! I came across Threadless back in December of ’05 when I really wanted to get my wife the Nice Boobies shirt. I thought that shirt was hilarious. From there it escalated to full blown obsession with people at work seeing a new shirt on me every Friday. I’ve since slowed down my buying as I need a larger closet. I don’t think I have any plans to collect them all but mainly the ones that I enjoy, either for humorous or design values. Right now in my closet all the shirts are arranged to look like a rainbow. I should be taking a photo of that.

MC: What do you think are the top 3 coolest Threadless t-shirts ever created?

For me my favorite has been:

I Heart Color
i heart color t-shirt
Because it inspired me to attempt to make my own in [Adobe] Illustrator. I thought I did a good job copying the design but the place I attempted to get the shirt made just didn’t feel right. I was quite happy when Threadless had a reprint of that shirt.

Follow It
Follow It T-Shirt
This one always fascinated me with the MTA subway design overlaid with the cardiac system. The idea of a city being alive has been a theme I’ve explored.

We Are Made of Carbon
made of carbon t-shirt
I’m a science geek, so this one is cool.

MC: Aside from t-shirt collecting, what are your other hobbies? What does Alex like to do for fun?

Photography, computer stuff, film, video games

MC: Do you plan on entering the t-shirt industry and owning a t-shirt business or website anytime soon? As far as t-shirts go, what are your future plans?

No plans to get into the business. I foresee more shirts in my future…

MC: So, what do you plan on doing with all the money ($150) that you won?

AV: That’s being allocated towards the new iPhone 3Gs. I’m tech geek.

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