Saturday, March 2nd is Texas Independence Day (and, while we’re at it we should mention it’s also Texas Flag Day and Sam Houston Day).
It’s a holiday that celebrates our great state’s independence from Mexico in 1836. The defeat at the Alamo, the victory at San Jacinto, and the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence is a big deal for any die-hard Texan, but it’s also a source of inspiration for one history-loving Texas artist, Jeb Matulich.
Texas History at the Heart of It All
You can’t help but notice the essence of Tumbleweed TexStyles, founded by Matulich and Brian Wysong, is iconic Texas with a laid back “Drift and Explore” vibe.
Matulich taught Texas History before becoming Liberty High School’s art teacher. The deep interest of the historical aspects of Texas plus the love of the culture he grew up with shaped both of the two teachers’ inspiration from the beginning.
In fact, as they start the company, one of Wysong and Matulich‘s goals for Tumbleweed TexStyles was to incorporate Texas history into the designs. They also decided to support education by giving a percentage of each sale to the Frisco Education Foundation to provide scholarships to graduating high school seniors.
Among those early designs paying homage to Texas are The DeZevala Star t-shirt, based off of a historical flag, and the Republic of Texas shirt, touting the year 1836. It’s fascinating to watch and hear from Jeb himself as he sketches out the shape of the Republic of Texas in this short video.
Bluebonnets and Beer
Matulich was born in Lubbock, grew up in the San Antonio area, moved to the panhandle around 2nd grade, then ended up back in Lubbock again for college at Texas Tech University.
As the son of a history teacher and football coach those family visits to the Riverwalk and the Alamo, combined with his dad’s love of the Plains Indians, arrowheads, horseback riding, and cactus helped shape Jeb’s interests and where he finds inspiration for all things Texana.
Growing up I lived all over Texas and have traveled around Texas all my life. My brain is constantly thinking about things as designs, in my daily routine, at estate sales, and thrifting. I like old maps and old books, Texas Memorabilia, old Southwest Conference footballs, vintage football helmets, and Lone Star and Pearle beer.
Matulich explains the art of mixing the old with the new. He says he finds vintage pieces and tries finding ways to incorporate that look but make it look modern.
I use Pinterest boards. Anytime I see things online – colors, fonts, vintage maps, I pin those on boards to use as references to come back to. By looking at images over and over I get so many ideas.
The latest interpretation of that old Texas style made modern is Tumbleweed TexStyles’ Texas Bluebonnet and Otomi shirts. The state flower blooms this spring at showtwt.com, along with the hand-drawn Tumbleweed spin on Otomi, a historic Mexican print known for cave-like drawings featuring foliage, birds, and animals (including armadillos).
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Two Tumbleweed TexStyles designers, Hillary Wysong and Fred Rodriguez, both have a hand in the getting the designs to the final image that you and I get to see. Fred is a go-to to help finish designs up for Jeb. He’s also the one who handles a good portion of the custom work the company seems to be getting more and more requests for as they grow. Their custom designs are gracing the stages of Texas musicians, athletes, and celebrities.
More often than not, Matulich comes up with the ideas for a design but leans on Hillary and Fred to bring it from a sketch to final art ready to put into production.
For their Yellow Rose t-shirt, Matulich knew he wanted to do something with the yellow rose but didn’t know how to go about it. Hillary came up with the design and Jeb collaborated to finish it up. It’s one of my personal favorites because of the creativity in the way the rose petals spell Texas – clever!
Some designs start and end as a sketch, while some start as a sketch and go through a few more steps before we see them as products. For a cleaned up look, Matulich leans on Fred and Hillary to go into his sketch and really define the lines for a cleaned, finished design.
“I’m old school,” Jeb says as he explains the process of pulling from history, hand-drawing his ideas then handing it over to his fellow designers if it needs to be digitally cleaned up. I think it’s part of what makes Tumbleweed’s designs intriguing and authentic. Sometimes you get the raw and sometimes you get the clean cut.
When you buy and wear Tumbleweed TexStyles, you’re getting culture, humor, passion, history, and at its core, the celebration of the greatest state, the Lone Star state of Texas.
Find their latest designs online, including the Frisco Collection, and other unique finds.