Houston celebrity Alex Roman Jr. has always been many things: an artist, a self-described “remixer of pop culture,” and even an entrepreneur.
But did you know fashion designer is also on that list?
The Houston native and prolific local muralist, who paints under the name Donkeeboy, is one of five creatives from across the country to partner with optimism-centric lifestyle and apparel brand Life Is Good, as part of the company’s new Artist Series Collection. Each of the artists created a unique T-Shirt design embodying their own vision of positivity.
And if you needed even more to smile about, the apparel company is donating 10 percent of the collection’s net profits to the Life is Good Kids Foundation, whose signature Playmaker Program works with organizations and childcare professionals to help kids heal from trauma connected to poverty, violence, and neglect.
Here’s 4 things you should know about this Roman-Life Is Good collab.
1. Roman’s design is all about coming together.
Between mural unveilings, art shows, and other events, Roman usually spends much of his time surrounded by people. It was something he found a bit draining, he admits— right up until a pandemic stopped everything in its tracks. So, when Life Is Good asked him to create his own visual representation of optimism, he decided to channel that feeling of coming together.
“When I used to have events and art shows, I used to shake people's hands, give fist bombs, all that kind of stuff,” he says. “How do you come together? How do you start a conversation? By saying hello.”
2. This wasn’t his first time designing a T-shirt, but that doesn’t make it any less special.
Roman’s is a bit of an old hat when it comes to wearable art, having previously designed clothes for 8th Wonder Brewery and Eight One, as well as his own brand. Still, he says, getting to create for Life Is Good was pretty special because he’s been a fan of the company for over a decade. “In the early 2000s, I started noticing a lot of people wearing it. One of my buddies in Miami would always wear the shirts when we went fishing.”
3. The design process was super quick.
In fact, he’d had the first inkling of the design for a while. “Like two years ago I was like, if I ever get to design for Life Is Good, it would be something like this,” he says. Brainstorming, sketching, and figuring out the placement for all those hands took a few days, but it only took about four hours to finalize the design once he started. “I just feel like I hit something. The message is super, super clear.”
4. There’s more to those hands than meets the eye.
Roman’s design might seem simple at first, but there’s more packed into those hands than meets the eye. “I’ve had people ask me if they’re all adult hands, and they’re not. They’re not meant to be, nor are they meant to be gender specific.” There’re also six different skin tones represented as well. What each viewer sees is up to them, says Roman. And in true Donkeeboy fashion, there’s an extra layer of meaning, if you care to look for it. “Some of the hands, too, it could be seen as somebody lending a helping hand.”
Purchase Roman's design for $28 at www.lifeisgood.com.