Cheech and Chong; the ultimate counter-culture dynamic duo. I have a childhood friend named Jessy to thank for introducing me to Cheech and Chong movies as a child, via his uncle Rocky. I remember spending the night at Jessy’s grandmother’s place, staying up until the late hours of the night drinking Pepsi® from the glass bottles, eating Doritos®, and watching his uncle Rocky’s Cheech and Chong video collection. I had no idea what I was watching, but I knew it was funny as sh*t.
Fast-forward about thirty years, and I find myself working on some Cheech and Chong designs for American Mills International, a company licensed to create an assortment of food products and garments for a variety of celebrities and pop-culture icons, like Larry the Cable Guy, Marilyn Monroe, and Einstein, just to name diverse a few.
The initial goal of this project was to sell these tees in specific markets, geared mainly towards the local sports enthusiasts by way of team color association. They wanted “goof” images of Cheech and Chong, somehow displaying a form of local pride (e.g., for Minnesota, Cheech was originally wearing a Viking’s horned helmet, and for Wisconsin, Chong was wearing a Cheese Head). The downfall was, we got a little too close for comfort in regards to licensing infringement in the respective areas. So modifications were made, as shown in the designs to follow.
This first one is for Lite ‘Em Up Minnesota. Instead of showing it as a tee, I decided to turn it into a poster, because, frankly, that’s more fun.
Layered over the state outline of Minnesota and painted with a semblence of the team colors of the Minnesota Vikings, I added the skyline of Minneapolis at the base of Cheech and Chong, gave Chong a purple tie and camouflage bandana, and dressed Cheech in a beanie resembling a Helga Hat. This design, as well as those to follow, were well-received by the client, though ultimately they decided for a far simpler concept: a neutral design consisting of a basic name-drop combined with a single splash of color to accomodate the various locations. The t-shirt shown below is the final approved design.
I had a great deal of fun working on this. I was given considerbale freedom on the designs and the client seemed to eat them up–even though they did end up using the simplified versions. I’ll post a few more in the days to come, most of which are officially in the slush pile (since, as stated above, they were far too location-specific to mass-produce as “name drop” designs).
So stay tuned, be good, and toke ’em if you got ’em. (Don’t forget to check back often, as my “big vampire reveal” is just around the corner!)
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