People & Places

Artist profile: Glenn Jones creates contemporary Kiwiana prints

Kiwiana with a contemporary, clever twist and just a hint of nostalgia – Glenn hits the nail on the head with his quirky designs

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Glenn, tell us about your journey with Glenn Jones Art…

The business is just over two years old. After my wife Julia and I had our second child, we wanted to create a business that would allow us both to work from home. I was already working from home and Julia was on leave from her project management role.

I’d recently started working on some Kiwiana art print ideas so creating a business where I got to do the art, and Julia could apply her skills running the business (all the stuff I hate doing), seemed like a good direction. We now have a four, two and one-year-old, so although this was just supposed to be a part-time project, its grown much bigger than expected. Lots of long, busy days!

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Tell us about your US-based T-shirt business Glennz Tees…

In 2004 I found out about a T-shirt competition website called Threadless.com, based in the US. I liked the idea of having a creative outlet outside of my design day job, so I started submitting designs. By 2007 I was the highest selling designer on that site and a year later I was flown to Texas by my now-business partners, who were totally set up for production, shipping and customer service, so I decided to quit my day job and see what happened.

What’s happening with it now?

Eight years later, we’ve sold hundreds of thousands of tees and had some incredible experiences along the way. One of those was when the character Sheldon on Big Bang Theory wore one our tees just for a few seconds at the start of a show. People instantly started googling it which caused a chain reaction of thousands of sales in hours. And the crazy thing was that because the show is hugely popular and is syndicated in the States, it appeared hundreds of times over a week and the sales just kept going. The business has also created amazing freelance experiences working with brands like Google and job offers from companies like Facebook. And this all came from just drawing, which is what I’ve always loved doing.

So I’m glad I decided to quit my day job and give it a go.

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Describe your style…

Clean and simple with a twist.

Why do you think your designs strike a chord with your customers?

Generally, I think they evoke memories from childhood and I often try to do it with a unique funny spin, so they make people happy. We get great feedback telling us this, which is always nice to hear.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everyday life. I like taking the familiar and putting my own spin on it. My kids are definitely contributors too – my four-year-old has plenty to say and she’s great for talking with about ideas!

glennjonesart.com

Words by: Kristina Rapley. Photography by: Larnie Nicolson.

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