Clippers, L.A. artist Mister Cartoon release limited-edition gear for coronavirus relief
In the past, Los Angeles artist Mister Cartoon designed his work in the hopes it would be shown in public.
First known for his graffiti writing in the early 1990s, Cartoon has created brightly colored lowriders that have been displayed at art festivals. Celebrities covet his tattoos. A uniform worn this season by the Clippers was inspired by his work.
Now, with much of California staying at home amid the coronavirus outbreak, he’s not sure when he’ll see his newest design on the streets. And that’s fine by him.
The artist and the Clippers on Wednesday released a limited-edition collection of two T-shirts and a hooded sweatshirt featuring Cartoon’s distinctive Old English font and black-and-white color palette, with all proceeds benefiting the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles for coronavirus relief, the team said. Cartoon said he hopes customers will show off his work like usual — just on social media for the time being. He supports Mayor Eric Garcetti’s recommendations to stay at home as much as possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“On a Friday night, iron it, throw on some kicks, walk around your living room,” Cartoon said.
Earlier this month, the Clippers joined other local franchises including the Lakers, Kings, Galaxy and Sparks in selling team merchandise to benefit the Mayor’s Fund. Money raised from Cartoon’s T-shirts and sweatshirt will support child care, meals, counseling for healthcare workers, healthcare equipment and services for the city’s homeless community, the team said.
Since arriving in 2017, assistant GM Mark Hughes has risen in the Clippers’ ranks, filling many roles suited to his personality and skills.
“It’s such a sad time with people’s families affected and people’s finances affected,” Cartoon said. “This is our way of being able to give back and make some cool collectible stuff instead of hey, just send us money. It’s like, let’s make something and let people be part of it.”
The pandemic disrupted Cartoon’s plans for this spring. He was supposed to attend Art Basel in Hong Kong in March, where a car featuring his design was to be displayed, until the spread of the coronavirus canceled the event. A documentary featuring Cartoon, “LA Originals,” had been accepted at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. That, too, was canceled.
He has stayed busy nonetheless by promoting the documentary, which was directed by one of Cartoon’s longtime collaborators, Estevan Oriol, and has since debuted on Netflix.
Cartoon hopes the reception for the documentary and the apparel benefiting the Mayor’s Fund comes close to that of his first collaboration with the Clippers. The uniform, which debuted in November during a Clippers game against Houston, was part of the team’s “City Edition” collection.
“It actually did better than we thought,” he said. “Sports fans are like no other fans, man. They are religious with it. I wanted to do something that definitely represented the core of L.A. and I wanted it to be clean but I still wanted that edge on there, that tattooed edge, that lowrider edge.”
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