SBCC student uses second-hand clothing as canvases for his prints

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Sydney Hammer

Maurice Green finishes his most recent print design in the humanities building at Santa Barbara City College on March 18. Green hand prints custom art designs onto second hand clothing found in thrift stores or by donations from friends.

Sydney Hammer, Staff Writer

City College student Maurice Green combines clothing, creativity, and a passion for printmaking to present wearable pieces of social commentary.

Green began printmaking in October of 2020, and has been sharing his art with others ever since. 

“I was in a 2D art class and one of the projects was stamps. For the first time after learning something in school, I was like I could actually make some money off this,” Green said. 

He came up with the idea with a friend, who encouraged him to get his art out into the world and benefit from the process. 

“I was really enjoying it, the carving process, the product, the creativity,” he said. “Putting my emotions, my frustrations and my all into something and being able to share it in a lasting way.” 

The artist says it’s important to him that his art actually means something, so he focuses his style on a variety of different themes. 

He explores issues such as consumerism, environment, mental health, substance abuse, and masculine beauty & fragility, in hope to change conceptions on these matters. 

“My thoughts about these themes are my inspiration,” Green said. 

Green acquires his canvases and articles of clothing from thrift stores or by donations from friends. He then sets up his space with ink, hangers, and a brayer, a small hand roller used in printing. Once organized, he rolls out the ink, places the article of clothing on a block, and presses the fabric down until it sticks to the ink. 

“I can [print on] about 10 shirts in half a day while doing it for fun,” he said. “Right now it’s a side hustle.”

While the artist only started printmaking in 2020, he doesn’t see himself stopping anytime soon. 

“I want to take this to the next level. Fashion forecasts are saying [the market] is going to completely flip flop and fast fashion is going to die out,” Green said. “There are social pressures to not wear fast fashion, the market for secondhand clothes is going to skyrocket… especially if you’re doing something to them.” 

Green prints a design onto a t-shirt in October of 2021 in Isla Vista, Calif. Courtesy of Maurice Green.
Green prints a design onto a t-shirt in October of 2021 in Isla Vista, Calif. Courtesy of Maurice Green.

Green describes his artistic changes to ordinary clothes as “an area of intrigue”. When people see new details added to a regular t-shirt or jacket, it stands out to them and they’re interested since it’s not something they see everyday. 

With the success foreseen in the future, he hopes to start his own clothing line and sell in stores. 

“I don’t want it to be business in the sense where I’m in charge, I don’t want to be a boss,” he said. “I want to start a community.” 

The printmaker would like to start a co-op rather than a traditional business. He believes this manner of business would work better for his ideal community since everyone would be working in a sustainable way and have freedom to do their own thing, while helping each other out. 

Green said he previously lived in a co-op in Berkeley, which inspired this idea. 

“I want to go full circle and make it what I do and what I’ve brought into the world,” the printmaker said.

He currently sells his pieces at pop-up shops around town, along with similar vendors in the area. Every third Sunday at EOS Lounge in downtown Santa Barbara, vendors come together and sell recycled, vintage and reworked clothes. Green also sells his original pieces at the Isla Vista Trading Post. 

“The fashion club [at UCSB] is starting a biweekly or monthly sale, which will start a community and draw people in,” he said. “They will learn what’s important to us [sellers], and really see what we do.” 

If you would like to see this community in action and purchase pieces for yourself, Green will be selling at Acorn Park in Isla Vista on Saturday, April 9 as part of UCSB’s fashion club event. 

To check out more of his art, visit his Instagram @Evemeralcustom.