Archive for March, 2009

So I have finished printing the WWII girls from matchbook labels. These designs are taken right from the originals. Don’t worry they aren’t copyrighted. They are not going to be available on a commercial basis because they were a bitch to register the colors correctly. But here they are for you to see.



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Queens Tribune article by Lisa Fogarty, March 19, 2009

Anyone who questions Queens’ cultural potential has yet to meet Ciara Elend. Each week, the 30-year-old graphic artist teaches aspiring Queens artists how to block print T-shirts, create collages and capture their own images in a self-portrait. She blogs about life in the borough, where she also trumpets the merits of Queens Council on the Arts, Sunnyside Gardens and The Secret Theatre in LIC, and has found a way to – literally – inspire fashion followers to flash Queens across their chests.

Elend is the founder and force behind Queensbound by Ciara, a local fashion label that specializes in one-of-a-kind graphic T-shirts for women, men and children, many of which feature the logo “I Heart Queens.” Her tees, tank tops, hooded sweatshirts and even maternity t-shirts are custom ordered so residents can select their favorite color and Queens catchphrase. If “I Heart Queens” is not your thing, you can opt to showcase your neighborhood pride with a “Woodside,” “Flushing” or “Astoria” pullover. Welcoming a new addition to your family? Elend’s pint-sized “Made in Queens” tee will give baby a head start in his civic career.

“There are no cool Queens T-shirts. People still don’t think of Queens as hip and cool even though I think of it as up-and-coming,” Elend said. “At first, I just made shirts for my friends and they loved them.”

Elend first got the idea to block print Queens-inspired T-shirts after she and her husband migrated to Sunnyside from Southern California in 2004. She immediately fell in love with her adopted borough, drawing inspiration from landmarks such as Silvercup Studios, the Towers from the New York State Pavilion of the 1964-65 World’s Fair and – her favorite – the Sunnyside Arch. She arrived in New York with a bachelor’s degree in film and television and was accepted to Parsons, the New School for Design, where she began melding art, fashion and borough appreciation.

“The greatest thing about Queens is the diversity,” she said. “It’s amazing how many cultures you run into every day. When we first decided to move here we looked into Brooklyn, but it was too homogenous. Queens was also much more affordable. But, more than anything, the people here inspire me the most because they are themselves – they don’t change to fit in.”

Elend currently designs, creates and handles sales for two fashion lines: Queensbound and Ciara Couture, her more experimental line of handbags, accessories and hand-printed T-shirts. A portion of the proceeds from her sales go towards community art class, Queens organizations that support the arts and artists working in Queens. And if you aren’t entirely convinced that Elend is an artist’s artist, take note: Not only does she frequently volunteer for local art organizations; she also teaches classes at her Long Island City studio. She recently launched an art class scholarship program, which aims to combat the effects of the economic downturn by promoting creativity in Queens communities.

“People who have been laid off can take my classes for free. They just have to fill out a scholarship form and send in a resume,” she said. “When people are looking for jobs, it can be a depressing process. It can only be better for the community when you give people a chance to express themselves creatively.”

To order your own Queens T-shirt, visit ciaraelend.com. Find out more about Elend’s art classes at Queensartclasses.com or follow her blog at ciaraelendblog.com.

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I collaged this design from a few vintage matchbooks advertising girly entertainment. I support legal adult entertainment.

This Tshirt is no longer available. Ciara ran her clothing company brands Ciara Couture and Queensbound from January 2007 to December 2010. She has ceased all clothing brand operations as of January 1, 2011.

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I got this design from a vintage match book advertising Lone Ranger ice cream. It makes the perfect graphic tshirt design.

(This Tshirt is no longer available. Ciara ran her clothing company brands Ciara Couture and Queensbound from January 2007 to December 2010. She has ceased all clothing brand operations as of January 1, 2011.

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