Two Students Place Style into IAIA T-shirts


Seeing the need for more creativity in t-shirt designs at IAIA, two enterprising studio arts seniors have designed their own t-shirts, using spray paint and stencil.

Looking at IAIA’s school t-shirts from an artistic perspective, Amanda Beardsley and Justus Benally found them dreary.

“We see the generic college font that basically just says the school’s name and year of establishment,” Beardsley said. “It is kind of boring and there could be a lot more room for exploration that promotes IAIA.”


According to bookstore manager, Guillermo Tilley, the designs on IAIA’s apparel in the bookstore are based upon the design criteria established by the Design Guide.

Guillermo Tilley, bookstore manager
Guillermo Tilley, bookstore manager. Photo by Boderra Joe

The guide mainly states what can and what cannot be done as far as designing apparels for IAIA. “Anything I sell out of the bookstore, has to fit the criteria of the Design Guide,” Tilley said.

Tilley pointed out a t-shirt in the bookstore with a student’s design on it, which was designed by Benally.

“Students have more liberty to design more creative, fun things because the college gives more liberty to explore that, more so than me because I’m supposed to be an official representative for the college,” Tilley said.

Students do have the freedom to introduce a new logo but if it were going to represent IAIA, they would have to get approval from Eric Davis, the director of marketing, Tilley said.

Students Already Exploring

Stencil and spray paint shirt Photo by Boderra Joe

In spring of 2013, Benally came up with an idea of spray painting shirts with stencils that he designed and cut out. Beardsley suggested that they both spray paint on t-shirts just for fun. Both had no intention of where the idea would go. But it brought them positive feedbacks from other students, especially on Benally’s Apache man stencil.

Beardsley’s process involves making stencils using the laser printer to cut out her designs. “The next thing, we started spray painting on more and more shirts,” Beardsley said.

“We found a spray paint with a new formula that removes almost all of the hazardous chemicals from spray paint, Artistic Acrylic Spray Paint.”

Stencil and spray paint shirt. Photo by Boderra Joe

The two do consider pitching ideas to the school about different t-shirt designs or designing something of their own, but haven’t done so yet.

“Instead, we just make our own, but we don’t put IAIA on our design. But we let all our customers know that they are original, hand-painted shirts.” Their shirts range from $12-$15.


In the bookstore, prices for beanies, sweatshirts, t-shirts (long or short sleeves), zip-front hoodie sweaters, and hats range from $12.50-$40.

IAIA’s shirts and beanies. Photo by Boderra Joe

Tilley considered window stickers but the cost is outrageous: “You think the simplest thing in the world wouldn’t cost $12 to $14.”

According to Tilley, students can sell self-designed shirts in the bookstore or any other types of art work such as paintings, sculptures, and so on. The most prevalent is jewelry and paintings. The students’ works are paid primarily on a consignment”“ 70/30 split, although that will change in the spring semester.

It’s Up to Us

Beardsley and Benally have suggested that IAIA should put out more calls for t-shirt designs.

“IAIA should have different shirts for the different degree programs because who doesn’t love shirts/apparel?” Beardsley said. “I also think that the students should also be more involved by getting their work out there.”

“I’m sure there are people on campus willing to hear our ideas, but it’s up to us to make it happen,” Beardsley added.


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