Teens On Acid | Skillshare Projects



Teens On Acid

My name is Josh Thorsen and this is Teens On Acid.

In 2007 I found myself at a point where I was ready to persue a career in art. I had been selling my art under the moniker KID9 (a play on Radiohead's KIDA) for a few years and I felt my style had finally developed enough that I could begin to show work on a regular basis. Curating group shows as a platform to present my work was getting a little stale so the idea to create an platform on which solo work, groups shows and work of close artist friends formed.

So there I am, sitting in a bar after work waiting for one of my closest friends, sketching, looking back to our much younger years, trying to come up with a name that would describe our collective, the friends I had grown up with, the artists we had all become and it just popped. Pivitol moments in our young lives, launghing, being exactly who we wanted to be at that time. We were teens. And we dropped alot of acid. I knew as soon as i write those 3 words in my book that i had it, the name for our collective.


It described us perfectly, even though we were far removed from our teen years, our spirit was still there. None of us had ever lost the passion for comics, art, toys, cartoons or music we grew up with. The plan didn't quite work out, I curated a few shows under the TOA banner, had a few tees printed, but nothing really came of it. I was dedicated to the name but had no idea what i was going to do with it, i knew what it meant to me, it summed up my life and the people i love. dedicated artists who live and love their craft.

I had almost put it to bed.

Let's move on to 2009. I finally had some shirts screen printed using the brand name Oh!9. The number 9 pops up alot in my life. It's just always there. I wear it when i play ball, my fav player, Nick Van Exel wore it. I find certain dates in my life have 9's in them. It just turns up. So I decide to launch a line working with hentai imagery. It pretty much failed. I didn't sell enough to cover costs and ended up giving the rest of the stock away.

So I kept moving on with the focus on an art career as well as working a full time graphic design job, using Teens On Acid here and there, more as an anecdote or a "Teens On Acid Presents" than anything else.

Let's move forward to 2011....2 childbirths and a few mortgages later I'm still graphic designing, still producing art under the moniker KID9 and still not fulfilling the potential Teens On Acid has. I was showing my artwork less and less through galleries and more at sneaker swap meets. I was trading work as opposed to selling it. Interest in what I create was still high but the general public for the most part are frugal and as much interest as they show in your work, parting with the $$ is hard for them. So as much love and passion I had for creating a brand based on my artwork , it was disheartening to only be able to move my artwork through trade. I'd pretty much given up on owning a clothing label.

In to my life came Lawson Rhys Taylor. An amazing beautiful man, eager to have me art direct his label Strategy. He knew what he wanted an I knew how to deliver. I jumped at the opportunity, who wouldn't. We got close, we were almost there. Looking back our only hurdle was financial. We both shared the same vision for the brand, it was perfect. Circumstances derailed us....for the time being.

Working with Lawson had reignited the fire I have always had for creating my own label. A key moment was a few hours spent with Greg Rivera the night before his Carbon 2011 panel, which inspired me to rebrand and start focusing on Teens On Acid again. Taking it back to what I grew up with, horror movies, death metal, hip hop,skateboarding, porn and comics. 

Pink has always been the primary color when it came to T.O.A. I've been attracted to pink and magenta garments for as long as i can remember. My peers first off found it strang that a guy listening to death metal, listening to hiphop, skating and paint would WEAR pink And not only just wear it but have it as a primary part of life. In 1995, living in a small town like Mackay, QLD Australia (pop. 50,000), pink was far from an option. It was either local football colours or die. i don't really know WHY the pink work for me and TOA, it just does. The powder blue/navy blue offset was a natural choice. Pink and blue work.

Up until 2011 TOA really only served as a platform to project myself and my close friends forward as artists, to which it really wasn't doing a very good job. So i made the decision to instead turn Teens On Acid into a blog, an archive of all the fucked up and inspirational images i'd saved from the internet since the late 1990's. What started as a part time batch upload became a daily ritual.

As interest grew in the site I decided it was time to release a few products and see if there would be any brand loyalty.

I started with a sweater which sold out the limited run of 50 units, which I have used as a limit to any product I release under Teens On Acid. The sweater featred the TOA chainsaw logo, which pays homage to The Texs Chainsaw Massacre with a hardcore live show influence...cross em up....

My tumblr obsession was growing and my image archive was in no danger of shrinking, so it came time for another release, my first snap back. This was an EXPENSIVE and time consuming product.

I have ALWAYS wanted to reproduce snaps with the original Sports Specialties typeface. I spent hours upon hours searching for it. It just. does. not. exist.  So I made do, for my first snapback i decided to throwback a little and pay homage to 2 of the most influencial brands of my life. Sports Specialties and MISHKA. Mishkas Tentacle Assault New Era ( for me ) is the pinacle of hats. Black and Pink. Perfect. The tentacle embroidery, amazing....but it wasn't a snap.

So here I am using pink is TOA's primary color, how do i mix how i felt about MISHKAS hat the and NBA Sports Specialties from the '90's....

It is by no means anywhere near to close to the sport brands typre, but i'm very happy with the flow. It gives the best of both worlds, skate and major league.

Fortunately it was a dope product, the quality is amazing BUT it turns out not many people like their snapbacks with a deep crown. For the most part the product has been a success. 

Teens On Acid x Lana looksee preview.
The snapbacks are moving fast, just under half left. If you haven’t hit the preorder you best hurry, they’re likely gone by the end of the weekend.
Preorder yours here
Model : LanaPhotography : Bonnie Cee

So with the success of the first sweater and the so-so response for the snapback I wasn't sure where to go next, I had no mentor, nobody to really guide me or anyone I could look to and ask "hey, why the fuck isn't ths working" I'm still trying to figure it out. At the time, my kneejerk reaction was "offensive"

i was on tumblr, I was on instagram, i felt, it's time to let people know about Teens On Acid.

In a very explicit way.

Using the script logo I began posting these appropriated photos to promote the blog.

I had a feeling that the people following my tumblr and instagram feeds would respond positively, and they did, my follow number increased, as did the enquiries about product. So naturally, up next was another limited run sweater, this time using the script logo, bright pink on navy cotton.

3 product releases under the TOA name has now brought me to this point, I'm in need of guidance and mentorship, I don't have a 2014 line ready to go. i certainly don't have the finace to back  this label. I'm here to learn and to share my failures.

A key goal with Teens On Acid as a brand is to engage the sneaker community with limited release collaborations that compliment the range.

The TOA target market is really quite broad even though it seems like a very niche product. An age bracket of 18-45 male and female with interests in skateboarding, heavy metal, hiphop, comics and cartoons - especially anime & manga, graffiti and horror films. 

UPDATE: Thought I'd add some examples of the artwork and prints that have been, and will be, available in the Teens On Acid store.

Digital Prints

Hand painted Skateboard

Laser Etched Skateboard Detail


Screen Prints

anime, art, death metal, graphic design, hip hop, alcohol, sneakers, spray paint, girls, skateboards, illustration, mountains, sharks, drugs, milkshakes and the number 9.

TeensOnAcid.com / @teensonacid


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