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This Australian Artist is Putting a Morbidly Funny Spin on 70s Nostalgia

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Lets Summon Demonss - This Australian Artist is Putting a Morbidly Funny Spin on 70s Nostalgia

Meet Brisbane-based artist Steven Rhodes, who’s mixing old school and nods to the occult in a collection aptly called Sinister 70s. Many in the Sinister 70s line will no doubt evoke childhood memories of paperbacks from a bygone era, and for good reason: Rhodes was inspired by old children’s books, computer games, toy packaging, and VHS covers. “There’s definitely a very personal connection to memories from my childhood. Book covers were so important when you’re a kid–I remember studying every detail in them to really get lost in the story. And spending ages choosing movies in the video store was such a strange pleasure that the new generations won’t get,” he says.

I think a lot of children’s design from the late 70s and early 80s had a similar feel with the thick, curved borders and swash-heavy fonts and particular color combinations,” says Rhodes, whose first design that kicked off the series, “Science!”–featuring a boy smiling against a mushroom cloud in the distance–was released in 2016.

The vintage vibes of Rhodes’ Sinister 70s are also juxtaposed with dark, tongue-in cheek humor: Shirts like “Let’s Summon Demons!” and “Necromancy for Beginners” certainly put a new twist on playtime. “When we look at those retro children’s book covers there’s an instant feeling of nostalgia and innocence,” he explains. “I thought it would be funny to infuse that familiar design aesthetic with subversive humor and horror themes. I like the idea that no matter how messed up the subject matter is, the kids are always happy and smiling like everything is fine.”

Horror fans will recognize his distinct Sinister 70s art style in apparel he’s made for brands like Creepy Company and Wicked Clothing, but his designs are also available in Hot Topic and Spencer’s. Online, his work is found at Threadless,  8Ball T-Shirts in the U.K., Teepublic, and Society6. “The clients usually come up with concepts in a similar vein to mine and let me go and do my thing,” he says. “It works well because I have a clear idea of what the client is looking for and they know what they’re gonna get.

 

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