Eugene D. Hetzel started his company as a labor of love.
Growing up in the popular resort city of Palm Springs, California where the weather was always warm and the activities outside, he became an ardent tee shirt collector – one of those guys boasting dozens of designs in his personal collection sporting art ranging from the graphics of his favorite bands to artistic street creations to the comedic. Like for many people in Southern California, tee shirts became his way to express his appreciation for personal, cultural and societal aesthetics. For Eugene, tee shirts have always served as badges of personality.This love of the attire coupled with the fact that he saw many of his artist friends continually trying to find an outlet to make a dollar inspired him to create his own custom clothing brand. But he wanted to elevate the tee shirt as a piece of fine art, giving artists a chance to enhance their resume by being part of something special.The idea of Eugene D. Hetzel Clothing was born – a company that would create a yearly theme and then curate one artist per month to wax poetic on that concept which would inevitably become a tee shirt as part of an annual limited edition 12-piece exclusive line.
The tee shirts become the art. Each design is printed in the USA in a quantity of 1976 in honor of the year of Eugene’s birth as well as the American Bicentennial. Each shirt’s color and design is hand-picked to further accentuate the fine art quality in the same way an artist would select a canvas or a specific frame. Each shirt sells until it runs out and buyers, just like those of fine art, can find satisfaction in the knowledge that they’ve invested not only in a high-class item of apparel, but also in a continuing effort to help hardworking artists achieve success.
ABOUT THE FIRST SHIRT
In March 2013, the company launched its premiere collection that captures the artists’ take on FREEDOM. This shirt was designed by fine artist Christopher Van Redman and features a little girl shooting a gun off that is filled with stars, heats, butterflies and colors representing the choice we all have to create our own freedom in America.