Which Artwork did VERDY Choose for the TOKION x Wasted Youth T-shirt Design Contest?

On the day of the selection, laden of artworks were printed out and filled up the table. The works included abstract graphics with symbolic motifs, typographies, hand-drawn illustrations, and CGIs. With an abundant variety of artworks in front of him, VERDY peers around, checks each piece, and sighs, “I wonder what this work is conveying. I wonder how the artist came up with this illustration. This is tough [to choose].”
Since every work was done so well, VERDY couldn’t immediately decide and pick “the ones,” which inevitably took a long time.
After the selection process, VERDY states, “They were all serious works, and I was amazed. It took a long time for me to choose. But I really enjoyed looking at all the works. I chose the ones that instantly caught my eye and left a strong imprint on me.”
Now, let’s take a look at the five artworks VERDY chose after careful consideration. We also interviewed VERDY on how he felt about the contest.

*There is no ranking for this contest, thus, the artworks are not listed by rank or any specific order. The presented artworks were posted during the contest period; some may no longer be posted.

Eye-catching works rendered with original styles

VERDY: I chose this American comic-style illustration of a person riding a skateboard as it’s filled with my favorite elements. Recently, my drawings have been relatively simple, but I used to draw in details like this before, so it made me nostalgic. “If I made a T-shirt” is the theme and premise of the contest, but I chose this art as I genuinely thought it was a great illustration.

VERDY: Regarding this graphic, it’s perfectly done, and I can easily picture this being a T-shirt and being sold in the market. Out of all the works, I think this design fits the contest theme the most.

VERDY: This work is also close to my roots. It attracted my attention as it reminds me of the hardcore scene. I feel an affinity with this work.

VERDY: I’m not sure how old the artist is, but from the title and the comment, I figure the artist is young. He seems to like rock music, so if he’s thinking of providing designs to bands, I want him to draw as much as he can, pitch his works to his favorite bands, and challenge many different things. I’ve done the same thing in the past—I brought my art to my favorite band, and they used it for their work. So, I chose this illustration to encourage those willing to design for music, hoping for them to challenge positively.

VERDY: This illustration is impactful. Amongst the slew of works, it was the first one that caught my eye. And I couldn’t forget about it during the entire process. It got me wondering like, “Why is it peacock!?” I’m sure each work has its own story, but I guess I was essentially looking for artists who produce work of originality this time. So, in that sense, I don’t think I’d ever come up with an idea like this with a peacock and the font; it felt new to me. The quality of the illustration is impressive as well. It’s a novel piece, and so that’s why I chose this art.

I want to see works imbued with the artist’s unique creative style

——There were many typographies that seemed to be inspired by Wasted Youth and Girls Don’t Cry, but you didn’t choose those, and why is that?

VERDY: I convey my message with text, and that’s my style. And I go with that style because I think my illustrations and designs lack originality. Though I don’t think everyone should be converting their messages into texts and turning them into designs.

——So you weren’t looking for works that followed your style.

VERDY: That’s right. I was looking for works imbued with the artist’s unique creative style. There were high-quality typographies and designs with strong messages, but I didn’t choose those this time. I was fascinated by those with originality that felt new to me than those similar to my creative style.

——It was your first time being the judge of a design contest, and now that it’s done, how was it?

VERDY: It was honesty fun. But now that I think, we could’ve set a specific artistic style or a more explicit theme. There might’ve been people who were confused and unsure of what they needed to focus on creating. But because we gave them freedom, we got to see a lot of interesting works; although I couldn’t choose them all, there were many amazing designs. I was happy to see all the works.

——Would you consider doing this kind of contest again?

VERDY: Yes, if I get a chance, I would love to. But next time, it would probably be better if they could send me the originals. It’s hard to perceive the energy of the works through the screen; I’m sure it would be different seeing them in real life. It was a great opportunity for me to reacknowledge that kind of thing. I’m grateful to everyone who participated in this contest.

This time, for TOKION x Wasted Youth T-SHIRT DESIGN CONTEST, VERDY chose five artworks. As VERDY mentioned after the selection process, every work was unique. Having originality is the most imperative factor in the art of expressing through designs. We don’t know whether these contestants are professional designers or drawing as a hobby, but either way, for those who like drawing graphics and illustrations, we sincerely hope they continue producing more works and honing their style. Finally, please give a round of applause to all the works submitted for this contest!

Graphic artist at VK DESIGN WORKS. He is the creator of Girls Don’t Cry and Wasted Youth and has accomplished collaborations with various brands and artists in Japan and worldwide. He is one of the established artists taking the helm of the modern fashion scene. His solo exhibition RISE ABOVE is currently on display at Kaikai Kiki Gallery until December 9th.

Photography Tetsuya Yamakawa
Text Ryo Tajima
Translation Ai Kaneda



Born in Tokyo in July 2020. With the theme of “The message of Japanese cutting edge culture to the world," We have been working in music, art, photography, in addition to all genres of culture, including fashion, beauty, and food, the social stance to communicate with readers. And digital media, magazines and e-stores. We will transmit information from Tokyo, the center of Japanese culture to the world.