Japanese basics giant UNIQLO recently teamed up with New York artist Jason Polan on a line of t-shirts. The collab is part of the UT range, an ongoing series which sees the brand partner with artist like Keith Harring on tees emblazoned with original artwork. Polan’s style is best described as energetic, frenzied and upbeat. His sketches have appeared in The New York Times, and the artist has been working on an ambitious project to draw every person in New York in his quick, cartoon-like style. Here’s what the artist had to say about the collaboration and saying “hey” to Beyoncé one time.
UNIQLO x Jason Polan
On seeing his art on T-shirts
“When you are wearing a T-shirt you’re not the one looking at it most of the time. It’s the people walking towards you who are seeing it. So I thought a lot about that and how clothes are something that represents you.”
On drawing “Every Person in New York”
“I started in 2008 and I wanted to get better at drawing and I wanted to do a project where I was interacting with a lot of people. I knew I was going to fail but it’s just the idea. I’ve drawn 50,000 people, it’s something that people can follow along while I’m doing it.”
On meeting (and almost drawing) Beyoncé
“A friend gave me a ticket to the first Yeezy show in New York. So I went in and it was all pitch black. Then the photographer’s flashes started going off and I realized I was so close to Rihanna and all the Kardashians. Then a security guy told me to go stand in a corner. It was right near the exit door and I looked at the other side of the door and Drake was standing there. Then North West started crying and I saw Kim walk her our out of the door. I was drawing everyone like crazy up until the moment I saw Beyoncé. I saw her walking towards me and I’m like ‘I’m gonna meet Beyoncé. She was wearing these sunglasses and she’s walking towards me and I said “hi Beyoncé” and she said “heeeey.” It literally changed my life.”
The UNIQLO x Jason Polan collection is available now.