Meet The Designer Immortalizing Activists Like Angela Davis
“We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death.” The words of Angela Davis are emblazoned in the collective American memory of the famed activist and author, and now, they’re also imprinted on clothing created by Tyrea Seals, whose work is inspired by the unapologetic, cut throat messaging borne out of the struggles POC have endured.
When he’s not skating around the streets of Los Angeles, modeling for Utmost Co., or making short videos off of his camcorder, he’s making tees. His brand “Over It” is a collection of dope graphics and strong messages, the most popular of which, unsurprisingly, is his Angela Davis shirt. The shirt’s imagery speaks for itself—it’s a photo of her from a wanted sign in 1970—but what makes it that much more chilling is the blunt quote that’s food for thought after the first read.
Milk met up with Seals over at Utmost Co in downtown LA to take a deep dive into his brand and talk more about the inspiration behind his creative outlets.
Why did you start making T-shirts?
I started making T-shirts because I wanted to put what I wanted on shirts. I thought it’d be cool to have some of ideas I had on a shirt.
For your Angela Davis tee, why did you choose that quote?
The idea of putting Angela Davis on a tee just seemed hard. When I first saw the picture of her on a wanted sign, she just looked hard. After that, I did more research on her and the Black Panther Party. I thought it was sick that they were really out here trying to make change. I chose that quote because it’s true. The road to freedom is stalked by death. Sometimes it can feel like no matter how hard you try, there’s always gonna be obstacles. I just think about shit like that a lot.
How long have you been working at Utmost Co.? Has working there inspired your clothing design in any way?
I’ve been working at Utmost Co. for only two or three months now. I’ve been skating for almost two years now. I wouldn’t say Utmost influences my clothes, but they taught me a lot on how to start my own clothing. Especially like how to screen print and make graphics.
What message are you trying to get across through your T-shirts?
I’m not trying to push my beliefs or ideas on anybody. Honestly, I made these shirts because I thought they were sick and it’s something that I always wanted to do. The fact that other people like it made me want to make more shirts.
What’s your dream goal as an artist?
Ultimately, I want to get into cinematography. I like making little videos, but nothing too crazy. I want to keep making shit that I like. I don’t want to make random things for the sake of it because of social media hype. I’m not trying to do that.
What’re some of your other outlets of expressing your creativity aside from making tees?
I like to skate. I think that’s something creative that I always do. Making short videos and editing them is another thing I do. I’m into graphic design, too. I’m still learning a lot of these things, but when people tell me they like my shit I feel like I’m on to something. I’m always trying to improve.
How do you feel when you make T-shirts or express yourself through these activities?
I do this to escape the real world. Dealing with responsibilities can be so annoying, doing this lets me get away from it all. I understand what comes with being an adult. It can be tight sometimes, but it brings a lot of worrying.
Who are some of your greatest influencers for design?
Hanging out with my homies and seeing them film inspires me all the time. I got into film and design because of William Strobeck and a friend of mine named Logan. I just love it. It looks sick! I just want to continue to design and make videos. Not of just skating, but anything that I think is interesting.
Stay tuned to Milk for more woke fashion.