Many people appreciate hand painted items, especially T-shirts, but few really understand the process. It starts with an idea and the painter makes it alive drawn by his inspiration and talent. Easy said but hard to get. The process may take from half an hour to even days, depending on the drawing. However, some painters stop at some certain drawings, based on their own feelings. Elena Di Natale prefers to paint portraits on T-shirt. Not an easy job at all. I guess the passion she’s drawn with while painting made me love her T-shirts so much. That made me talk to her in order to understand how she became a T-shirt painter and…. more important …how is it that she is so good at what she’s doing?
“I started my project for a Creative Festival in Florence in October 2010. I participated to a creativity market where I presented and sold for the first time my hand painted T-shirt. I got so many nice compliments and requests from family, friends and people, that I started to make some for other people”.
When have you started drawing, painting?
“I started drawing when I was a child. I have always loved to draw but I realized I had a talent at the Art School when I started to make realistic portraits”.
She didn’t stick only to that. She went to the next level, by stundying painting at the Art high school in Florence and Visual Design at the University.
How do you make a T-shirt?
“When I make a T-shirt with a realistic Portrait, I usually need 3-5 hours. I use a T-shirt like a canvas. First I draw the portrait and then I paint with special fabrics colors. The next day, I fix the paint by ironing on the reverse side of the fabric with a hot iron. In this way the t-shirt can be washed at 30 degree”.
Making T-shirts is such a big passion, that Elena turned it into a second job.
“For 3 years I sold my T-shirts in craft markets before in Italy and for one year in Australia where I lived in 2011. In 2011, I also opened my shop in Etsy.com where I actually sell my T-shirts. Now I’m a Visual designer, I work in the center of Lucca in an amazing Graphic Studio. When I have free time I keep on painting because this is my passion. You can find everything in my Etsy shop: www.elenadinatale.etsy.com”
Entering in a new, relatively young domain is easy, but staying in it is hard, since hundreds of new artists start their business every month. Some stay in, some get out through back door. I asked Elena what makes her stand out from the crowd. Confidence in her talent is the key. “I’m a painter before a handmade T-shirt painter. If people love my drawing, they also love my T-shirts. My T-shirts are art to wear! My T-shirts are a sort of economic version of a framework. A framework that everyone can buy”.