Today I received the following email. I thought this question and my response would be worth sharing.
I bought this shirt from you at last year's comic-con, San Diego. I
have gotten questions and compliments on it where ever I've been.
It's my favorite shirt. What's the story with this guy?
My buddy's wedding in NY
Thank You Dean!
I think Winchester's bicycle has become a lot of people's favorite shirt; myself included. Somehow I happened upon a mysterious and iconic image.
So what is the story with this guy? Well this image is called Winchester's Bicycle. It started out as part of my first gallery show in late 2006. All of my pieces were an homage to the dedication and ingenuity of the men who built flying machines in the early days of the race for flight. Every painting depicted people successfully flying in their machines. My flying machines were directly influenced by real (failed) attempts. I used a lot of artistic license with the design of these machines, especially with Winchester's.
Just for the record, this was nearly two years before I had ever heard the word "steampunk".
A lot of the pieces from this series seem to resonate with people. I think it's because I was trying to say something about our hopes and dreams, and our love of freedom. The paintings are set in the past but they all show optimism for the future.
So back to the T-shirt. I'm glad you enjoy it so much! It's cool to see Mr. Winchester sort of fly around the world. I don't know if you were hoping to hear a more fleshed out story about Mr. Winchester and his bicycle, but that's what I love about my T-shirt designs; They aren't an ad for a movie or a comic book or mixed martial arts. They are just fun and open to interpretation.
Thanks again for your interest!
Before I sign off, here are a couple more guys who love Winchester.
Artist and friend, Matt 136 modeling a Winchester
I will be printing more Winchester shirts for Comic-con 2010. This week I will have to decide whether to reprint in "classic black and white" or do a new color combination for him. If you have a suggestion or preference by all means let me know!
Thanks for reading.