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Jay Nichols Creating Wearable Go-Fast Boat Art

Thanks to his highly stylized images, photographer Jay Nichols has created a legion of fans in the high-performance powerboating world. And while many of those admirers own the go-fast catamarans and V-bottoms that have appeared in Nichols’ digital photographs during the years, many more have are just enthusiasts who appreciate not only the boats themselves but how Nichols sees them through his lenses.

Now fans of noted photographer can get even closer to those images and the boats captured in them. Nichols is offering a line of T-shirts featuring his photos.


A few samples from Nichols’ new T-shirt image program. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image. (Click to enlarge.)

“I have always liked T-shirts as a medium for artistic expression and direct-to-customer sales for profit margin,” said Nichols. “I airbrushed many shirts in the ’70s. I once managed to sell $4,000 worth of ‘hurricane shirts’ in 48 hours—it was great timing because at the time I needed a new motor for the boat.”

Transferring the image to the shirt, Nichols explained, requires several steps in a time-consuming process that begins with pre-washing each shirt before one of his high-resolution images—each printed at 2,400 DPI—is transferred to it. While Nichols said he’s willing to do custom orders from the photos in his extensive Flickr Gallery, he’s also going to offer some “stock” T-shirts with some favorite images. Several series runs are planned, including the currently ongoing Flashback Series (read the story) and a Top Gun set from the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.

“One thing I am really enjoying is the variation made possible by using a ‘subtractive process,’ such as scraping the image with a wire brush or a scuff pad before I apply it to the T-shirt,” said Nichols. “It is similar to etching. I can also adjust the size of the image, so I can fit multiple images on a given shirt or resize to custom fit to different size shirts.”

Editor’s Note: Jay Nichols can be reached by email at [email protected].

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