Justin White aka Jublin

You probably already know of Justin White from the many t-shirts bearing his designs that are floating all around the Internet. He usually goes by the nickname Jublin and his quirky but polished style has helped get his designs printed on all the major t-shirt contest websites. His first print was on Threadless and he hasn’t looked back since.  As of this interview, he has had16 designs printed by Threadless, 7 by Design by Humans, and 7 by TeeFury. He has also had designs printed by Uneetee , Tilteed and Shirt.Woot among others. Lets just say he gets around.

He’s not just about t-shirts though and uses his design talents and weird imagination in various ways. Just check out the above video to see what he was thinking about while watching Lost (and Lost was already bizarre). Jublin is also well known for his mistreatment of Pikachu and while he says he “likes cute little characters” we at the Shirt List suspect that he has a deep-rooted hatred of all things Pokemon. He may be a very very sick man.

Pokemon designs by Jublin
Horrifying Scenes of Pokemon Pain from the mind of Justin White

While I had seen many of Jublin’s t-shirts before Modern Cartoon was released on Design by Humans it was that tee that really made me want to know more about this artist and I was very happy that he agreed to do this interview which also happens to be the very first (hopefully of many) on the Shirt List. Read on to learn more about the man (despises Foghorn Leghorn) and the artist (fueled by pizza). This is not a simple story of someone growing up in suburbia though. Jublin’s life could be compared to that of 50 Cent with stories of gang violence and total indifference to Charlie Sheen. Let me tell you in advance though, just like Modern Cartoon, he is one cool cat.


Your name is Justin White but in the t-shirt world you are Jublin. How did this moniker come about?
Actually a friend made that up. During high school he scribbled out my name on a test I was handing in and changed it to Jublin. I thought it was funny so I went with it.

What is keeping you busy at the moment?
The usual art-related stuff. Mostly freelance, a few fun pieces for some upcoming gallery shows, random doodling, and eating. A man’s gotta eat! I’m also trying to work on some new projects for fun that involve audio and video. I want to get back into a bit of the fun little animation projects I remember messing around with back in the day.


We know you for your t-shirt designs on various sites such as Design by Humans, Threadless and more recently TeeFury but you have your fingers in a few non-cotton pies too. What proportion of your design energies go into t-shirts?
Most of my work is of t-shirts simply because it’s a niche I’ve somehow gotten myself into. I enjoy it, but I’d love to work on other things too. I’m just lucky enough that people like to wear crazy shirts.

Mario Bros by Jublin
Mario family portraits by Jublin displayed at the Homework Show in San Diego, September of 2008

What do you enjoy most about being a designer?
Getting paid to do things I would normally do for free.

Is there anything that makes you think, even for a second, that you would like to throw it all out the window for a regular nine to five?
Maybe. If I found a job that I really enjoyed and could still create art, then sure why not? As long as I’m happy. Just have to find the right 9-5 I guess.

Where do you usually get your inspiration?
I have no idea. Still trying to figure that out.

Could you describe your typical design process from concept to completion?
It’s pretty simple. Start out with sketches on scraps of paper and a lot of garbage. Then I take it to the computer and use a tablet to start drawing digitally. Then I eat some pizza, come back and redo the whole piece because I’m not happy with it. And repeat!


Do you remember your first t-shirt contest win? If so, what was it and how did you feel?
My first win was from threadless and it felt fantastic. I bought a tee for all of my friends. We wore them all at the same time and started a gang, beating up kids that didn’t show us respect. Then we won them over and they would join our gang. This continued until the entire city was one big gang. Life was crazy back then.

Jublin's gang
Nobody f*cked with the Jublin gang!

For me, Modern Cartoon on Design by Humans is my favorite of your tees. How about you, which is your favorite?
I couldn’t pick a favorite. That’s too tough. I love all of them in their own special way.

Do you wear the t-shirts that you have designed?
Not usually.

Have you seen somebody wearing your tee in the real world?
Yeah and that’s a great feeling too. I usually have them join my gang.


Do you have any role models?
Lots of role models. Don’t make me name them please. Instead I’ll name who ISN’T a role model for me.
1. Foghorn Leghorn
2. Hitler

Bugs Bunny as a Modern Cartoon
Bugs Bunny as a Modern Cartoon

Recently I came across a Bugs Bunny design on Zazzle that I was sure was created by you because the style was just like Modern Cartoon but it turned out to be a rip. How angry do you get about this type of thing?
They don’t usually bother me too much. People will try to make a quick buck anyway that can. I know in the end it will come back to hurt them, but there’s not really much you can do to prevent it. Also, add the guy that ripped me off to my list of non role models.

Is Charlie Sheen really winning?


Which tee designer do you admire the most?
Hmm… I’m really inspired by people like Glenn Jones, Lim Heng Swee, Aled Lewis, and Alex Solis who are able to pump out design after design and put so much time and energy into unleashing an unlimited amount of designs. How do they do it?

Who would you like to see featured on the Shirt List next?
With that being said, I’d like to see some more obscure designs featured. Haha someone I’m not familiar with.


What design trends have made you go WTF?
Probably all of the Dr Who shirts. I’ve never seen the show, but hasn’t it been around forever? Suddenly it’s come out of nowhere and consumed all of the t-shirt blogs and sites. I don’t mind pop culture related tees, but I try to stick with what I know and what I enjoy. Seems like there are too many out there that will do whatever it takes to make a quick buck which is a shame.

Any advice for other designers?
Don’t stop BELIEVING!

Jublin on the Web: Website | Twitter

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