Some say he was originally cast as the Hulk in the new Avengers movie and that his superhero persona was the inspiration for the Pixar character Mr. Incredible. Others say his happiness and close-knit family is the result of a childhood watching The Brady Bunch and Family Ties. And yet others say the fact he can quote Rocky IV is downright disturbing. All we know is he’s called Warbucks360.
This week Tshirt Roundup caught up with talented designer and self-proclaimed geek Warbucks360, otherwise known as Steve O’Blenis.
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Steve O’Blenis, better known as Warbucks360, and I live in Plainville, MA. I’m a graphic designer who has been in the business for over 15 years and it wasn’t until last summer that I was turned onto t-shirt designing. A friend of mine showed me a few t-shirt sites and I loved what I saw so I decided to dip my foot into the water and give it a go. There’s no arguing that I’m a geek at heart. Actually I’m a big geek. No, seriously, I’m a very big geek. I’m 6’4″, 270lbs, love weight lifting, sports, movies and video games. Settle down ladies, I’m already taken. Sorry, I guess you could say that I don’t look like typical graphic designer or geek for that matter but I love Star Wars, superheroes or anything you might find at a comic show. I sit at a computer over eight hours a day for work so it’s nice to actually come home and design something that I find fun or interesting. It breaks up my everyday design work and has now become an addicting hobby.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m in between designs but I already have some ideas for my next one. I just finished up a fun little idea I thought of the other day which is a mashup between Super Mario Brothers and everyone’s cute blue creatures… the Smurfs. It really turned out nice and was exactly what I was imagining. The great thing about designing is that you can dream up so many different ideas and express yourself in so many different ways. It doesn’t always mean others are going to like your concepts but I look at it as a good thing. As long as I have a nice piece for my portfolio, I’m a happy guy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great coming up with ideas that others will love but it’s a challenge. There are so many tremendous artists out there that it’s tough to stand out from the crowd but it’s sure a great time trying. Without a doubt, the best thing about t-shirt designing is the fantastic feedback that you receive from fans. People are awesome. They’re so nice and its an beautiful feeling to receive a positive email or note telling you how much someone enjoys your work. It’s the biggest comment anyone can give you in this business and the reason I keep designing. Thanks everyone!
What inspired you to become a designer?
Well I’ve always drawn my whole life ever since I was a young boy. You could find me in my room playing video games or sitting on my bed sketching. I loved drawing. It was great to sit and teach myself how to drawn specific cartoon characters that I would take to school and amaze my friends. I told you I was a geek, but my friends thought it was cool and would ask me to draw more sketches for them. It really wasn’t until college that I started drawing on the computer. It was a whole new world from my pencil and paper but I was amazed at what you could do. It seemed so high tech. It made me look like a professional. So what did I do? I practiced my computer programs – Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. Looking back at it now, the stuff I did wasn’t very good but it looked amazing to me and that’s all that mattered. Luckily I loved it and stuck with it and continued to learn new things. Even to this day I’m always learning new tips and techniques because the programs are constantly changing. You have to stay up to date otherwise you’ll find yourself left in the dust and the stuff you can create can be mind-blowing.
How would you achieve world peace?
I’d force everyone in a room and make them watch Rocky IV. “If I can change, then you can change, we all can change.” Honestly, having the opportunity to come home to a beautiful and loving family is the most amazing feeling in the world. Playing with my kids and seeing them grow everyday; I’d want everyone to experience that if they haven’t already. That’s how you achieve world peace.
Books, movies or games? What are your favorites?
Books? Do they still make those? Yeah, I get a lot of grief for not readiing from my wife but I’m a huge movie lover and video game player. I’m a blu ray snob and I wish everything was in hi definition. I love my home theater. The bigger the better; the louder the better. Here’s where you’ll find me watching my favorite movies like Star Wars (the ordinal are the best), Indiana Jones, Jaws, basically all the classic. Although I have to say my most recent favorite movie is The Avengers. Amazing.
Did I mention that I’m an avid video game player. If I’m not designing t-shirts you can find my behind my xbox. It’s my outlet after a long day or just an excuse to play online with my friends. I grew up with video games and I’m still playing. Who said video games will make you stupid? Wait?! That doesn’t go back to the book reading thing, does it?
Who would you most like to see in one of your designs?
I can honestly say that, right at this moment, no one. I’ve already put them in there. Give me a little more time. I’m sure I’ll come up with something new.
You’ve got 24 hours before the world is annihilated. What do youdo? (And does it differ depending on what the impending apocalypse is?)
Easy. I would use my super powers and save the world from certain doom. However, I cannot reveal my superhero identity at this time. Please don’t ask.
What would you be doing if you weren’t designing?
I would be a professional wrestler. Yup, I’d transform into Steve Envy (a heel/bad guy) and challenge the Rock to a main event match at Wrestlemania, drop him with the Ego Boost (my finishing maneuver) and become the next Heavyweight Champion of the world. What? Too much? A guy can dream.
Who are some of your favorite designers? Who should we feature next?
Wow. That’s a tough one. There are so many great artists out there and the competition is tough. That even goes for my friends. Sometimes they’re my biggest competition but we all support each other. Do yourself a favor and check out Furion007, MacMarlon or Ironwings. You can find them on Redbubble and some of the daily t-shirt sites. We all have such different styles so it’s exciting to see what each one is going to come up with next.
Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know
I get a lot of my inspiration from childhood, such as, movies or television but something a lot of people don’t know is that I get a lot of inspiration from my wife and kids. They’re my biggest fans and my toughest critics so I listen to what they have to say. My daughter has inspired a few of my designs. “Fairly Odd Potter” is a perfect example. We watched plenty of Fairly Odd Parents while she was younger so she gave me the idea to cross Timmy Turner with Harry Potter. I have to say that this has become one of my favorites. Designing for people of all ages gives me an opportunity to work on some projects with subject matter that I might not normally get a chance to work with.
My wife is also a big inspiration for my work. She actually came up with the idea for my “Puny God” design for the Avengers. We went to see the film together (no spoilers if you haven’t see it yet – shame on you) and she leaned over to me during a specific part of the movie and said “You should make a shirt like that”. She had a great idea and it was one of the best moments from the movie. We went home that night, sat together and she gave me direction on what she thought the shirt should look like. I loved that. Having the opportunity to work with my wife was a fantastic experience and in the end the design turn out to be a real cool piece. Thanks, honey.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Hopefully I haven’t bored you to the point of exhaustion but if you have anything you’d like to ask me, feel free. No, seriously, I love feedback so if you have anything you’d like to ask me whether it be about my works, graphic design or anything on your mind… drop me a line on my FaceBook Art Page or send me some Bubble Mail at Redbubble. I’d love to hear from you.
First off I would like to thank T-Shirt Round Up for having me. I was flattered to be able to do this and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk to all of you. I’ve received unbelievable support from fans and I would like to say thank you to all of them. Of course I want to thank my family for supporting my little hobby. You guys are the best. But one special shout out wool deb to my friend Ironwings. She was the one who turned me on to designing t-shirts last year and I love it. Thank you for that! It’s turned out to be something much bigger than I could have ever imagined.
Where can we find you?
That’s the million dollar question! You can find me many ways… please checkout my Facebook Art Page or if you really like my work you can do some shopping on Redbubble. Hope you’ll see me turn up on one of the daily t-shirt sites very soon. If you want to help me out, check out my work on www.qwertee.com and vote for your favorite design of mine. I’d appreciate it. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter to be the first to find out about my latest creations – you don’t want to be left out.
Thanks again, everyone. This has been a blast talking to you and working with T-Shirt Round Up. I hope to hear from you soon and keep an eye out for more designs coming your way.