Allan Davis Interview: Created Waffles Ink In The Process Of Collaboration

Most designs at RIPT Apparel are created by an individual. This is usually a single artist or designer that made the work themselves. Every so often, two or more artists combine forces to create a design that is greater than the sum of it’s parts: a collaboration. This is typically when two different artists share specific duties between them. Perhaps one does the line work, the other the color.  The possibilities are numerous and there are other exceptions as well. Take artist Allan Davis who has made it his business to hire the talents of some of his peers to bring his imaginative creations to life in visual form. Often an artist may struggle with getting the images stuck in their head to translate exactly as intended to the digital page. Instead of banging one’s head against the wall for days, it is sometimes a better goal to split the profits and and the glory with others that may be struggling with a great concept.  Join us on our journey into the realm of collaborations and prepare to bask in the sunshine, and evade the dangers along the way.

So Allan, you head up something called Waffles Ink. which might be a little unfamiliar with most artists in this space.  Can you describe it for us?

Unfortunately no one can be told what Waffles Ink. is…. just kidding.  Waffles Ink. is an artist collaboration collective currently consisting of myself, Huf2Much, Fuacka, Stuart Down, David Johnston and Bob Mosquito (but I’m always on the hunt for good talent to bring into the fold) whose goal is to bring the daily t-shirt scene high caliber artistry, matched with fresh and funny premises.  Oh and total t-shirt world domination.


What gave you the idea to participate in the daily design world in this manner, since most designs are commonly submitted by individual artists?

Well to be honest, it started because I became really tired of passing up on a lot of the ideas I had for shirts because I knew my skill level as an artist would not do the design justice.  I had seen a lot great artists also did collaborations that had seen a lot of success so I went on the hunt for an artist whose style would fit an idea I had been dying to do for a long time.  That artist was the insanely talented Huf2Much.  After a bit, the thought occurred to me that we could build on this.  Bring in more great artists and great ideas that aren’t being done, bring the idea men and the artists together to make something more.  A brand that utilizes the strengths of its members to promote not only the brand but us as individual artists.


Does the per-item sales revenue affect how you operate, versus how an individual artist might?

Not at all, as of right now we’ve been working on a two artist basis much like a regular collaboration where any earning are split equally between the two artists who did the work. We promote all of our designs under the Waffles Ink. Banner as well as using it for our own solo projects to get our designs a little more exposure than it might not otherwise



What are the benefits and pitfalls of operating like this versus being the sole creator of your work?

Some of the benefits is sharing the creative process with another person. To toss ideas at each other, share each others progress and forge a better design than when you do something alone.  As artists I think we all have that nagging question if what we’re doing works or we fuss over it where nothing we see looks right.  All of us don’t have massive fan bases like more established artists so it’s also a benefit to have a network of artists getting your print dates promoted to people who might not otherwise get reached. As for pitfalls I would have to say coordinating and working on each others time tables. We all work at different paces, we all have day jobs and lives so working around that can get frustrating at times.  Also the fact that they can’t read my mind… that sucks some times.

Back and forth process images sent between two collaborators

What is a common miss-conception that you feel people that haven’t tried a collaboration or creating solicited artwork might have?

To be honest I’ve never really heard a great deal of negative standpoints to collaborations other than the money. Personally I would much rather have half a loaf of bread than none at all, as my favorite book character Kvothe would say.


So who owns the artwork then?  What happens if a design gets you in legal trouble?  Who is responsible?

Whoever worked on the design itself own it and would decide jointly on where it gets submitted.  As for legal issues all I have to say on that is…… HE DID IT! *exit stage left!*


When you set out to create a new piece, how do you do it?  Do you look for inspiration?  Does something just “pop in there” like Ray from Ghostbusters?  Do you try to find a conceptual hole in the market that you can fill?

I drive on I-75 through the middle of Atlanta lol.  For my day job I drive around picking up car parts for a dealership, so I have a good bit of time with my thoughts.  Most times an idea will just pop in my head for a totally random reason and I will spend hours after than hammering out the details so yes, very much a Ray moment!  When it comes to my collaborations I will bring it up to the artist whose drawing style will best suit the design. Feed him all the details I have floating in my head and send him off to do up a sketch.  After some back and forth *though not much because all of these guys are insanely talented and can interpret my ideas better than even I can imagine* I will Ink and clean up the sketch.  We both will work on color usually though I won’t lie.. when it comes to Bob mosquito, I don’t even DARE touch that thing with color, the man is a mad genius!

The finished collaboration

If there was one style or motif of a design that is currently overdone, which one would you eradicate from all existence?

None…. I know its a weird answer right!?

The way I see it is that if people didn’t like it then they wouldn’t get printed or bought.  I mean there are some things I don’t care for like Poke’mon or Schrodinger’s cat but that’s me. A lot of people complain about Hello Kitty and Doctor Who get over played but it’s what people like so why not sell what people like?  I’d never be caught dead wearing one but I actually think the Hello Kitty shirts are funny for the most part!


What would you like to see more of in the industry as a whole, and why aren’t you just making more it in that case?

Grim Fandango and Wing Commander!! I want to make a Grim Fandango shirt so bad and one day I will but when it happens it’s got to be nothing short of epic.

Coming to a t-shirt site near you??


Is there common mistake that you have overcome but seen others make repeatedly in this industry?  What did you do to overcome this?

Worrying about what other artists think.  It’s a very small community behind the veil of daily t-shirt artists and sometimes it can get a little highschool’ish.  NEVER refuse constructive criticism because there is a vast river of knowledge to be had from others who have been doing this longer than yourself but don’t let it turn you away from the things you want to do.  I really do have to thank Jimiyo for bringing a lot of perspective to this industry and where I want to go in it.


For RIPT Apparel in general, what is one change you would like to see at the company that you feel would have a strong positive sweeping effect?

Printing all of my designs? 😀

Seriously though, Ript gave me my first break and helped me realize what I wanted to do professionally with my life.  To be honest nothing comes to mind that they aren’t already doing well and I always look forward to seeing how they raise the bar.


Got anything cool in the pipes you can hint to us about?

There are so many things floating in my head just WAITING to get slapped onto a shirt.  Let’s just say we’re gonna have some old gods causing some mayhem, a little old school RPG mixed with some blood of the north and the one I’m most excited about is the doctor and his crew in ways you have NEVER seen them before!

Coming soon from Waffles Ink.?

Any shout outs you’d like to send to the internet? *hits Kanye with a bat before he gets to the mic*

First I would like to thank my lovely wife for putting up with me constanty asking her “come look at this, does it look good?”.  My amazing waffles artists for ALSO for putting up with me constantly nit picking and hitting them up all the time “are you done yet!?!” I swear guys I only crack the whip because I care. Lastly all the people who like our little doodles enough to both spend their hard earned money and wear it on their bodies!


Pancakes or waffles?

Steak and eggs with hash browns.  I don’t like sweet and savory food.


I can’t believe you didn’t say waffles!

Apple or Samsung?

Apple.. I would be lost without my Iphone to read books while I should be working.


Facebook or Google +?

People actually use Google +?

…and after!

RIPT would like to thank Allan for taking the time to discuss his venture with us.  Check out more from him and Waffles Ink. by following the Waffles Ink. facebook page.

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