It starts with a cool T-shirt.

A boxing panda bear. A city-ravishing squid. And a woman half mummified by the message "loose lips sink ships."

But it grows with a charge to spark community awareness and activism.

Founded by Vann-Ellison Seales and Emily Quintero, 13 Bricks Clothing Company is an ambitious local venture laying a foundation for togetherness and conscientious action one screen print at a time.

And Aug. 2 will signify the company's crowning achievement - while also launching the brand's next phase - when it hosts The Capstone at Desotorow Gallery in the Starland District.

While the event doesn't kick off until the Aug. 2 First Friday Art March, Seales said the T-shirt exhibition is already available for public viewing from now until Aug. 9.

"Our idea is to produce fine art on T-shirts," Seales said. "And so far, all of them have been screenprinted."

Portraying a subtle series of cultural issues, the six-piece design line challenges viewers to seek knowledge and explore a new paradigm within the bold illustrations created by local artists Cara Dzuricky, Melanie Lavrisa, Alfredo Martines, Zlatko Mitev, Lauren Schwind, Max Lipson and Kimberly Van Dam.


What: The Capstone

Where: Desotorow Gallery, 2427 De Soto Ave.

When: 6 p.m. Aug. 2


Get shirts: Order at, Elev8ed Clothing, 404 W. Broughton St., or Red Light Tobacco, 123 E. Congress St.

What might elsewhere be perceived as an overly ambitious idea for a T-shirt is easily welcomed in Savannah, a city rapidly growing as a mecca for cultural arts and creative freedom.

And with a plethora of leading local artists and musicians already aligned with the brand, 13 Bricks has all the right fixings to launch as a full-fledged campaign that joins the ranks of other companies successfully embracing the power of the tee.

But Quintero and Seales promise their line won't feature any of the kitschy memes and overused pop symbols adorning a lot of shirts these days. That's where many companies go wrong, they say.

"People are products of their environment," Seales said. "Whereas we're trying to invert that and make the environment a product of our inner nature."

The goal, they say, is to spark a local renaissance - a word they don't toss around lightly.

As an age of enlightenment, the Renaissance was a time when art was at the forefront of all levels of society.

"It flourished because everyone was encouraged to create," Quintero said. "At the heart of it, that's really what we want to do for Savannah."

Seales and Quintero began collaborating and philosophizing over their shared dream to change the world when they first met in 2010 as students at Savannah College of Art and Design.

Individually, Quintero considers herself more visually oriented, with interests in fine art, painting and illustration, while Seales studies spoken word, symbology and sacred geometry. But both share an interest in raising social awareness and employing other causes, such as environmental issues, all of which they depict through their T-shirt line.

"We could've chosen any other medium," Seales said. "But we chose T-shirts because people wear T-shirts.

"They take and interpret from it and they have a relationship with it."

That's when the magic happens, Seales said.

The moment when a person accesses the inner psyche or the inner truth hidden in the eloquent design.

"We're packaging good energy," Seales said. "And whether they're aware of it or not, they're receiving the good energy."

The T-shirts are 100 percent American made with eco-friendly inks and serve as more than just brand recognition for 13 Bricks. Essentially, the company has other plans to work in different avenues in an effort to boost Savannah's cultural art scene.

Supporting other artists, working with youth and hosting more collaborative shows are further goals the enterprise has for eliciting their movement. And it begins with The Capstone, where organizers plan to enact a sense of community in the arts through an installation in the shape of a pyramid.

"It represents something that is bonding us and uniting us toward one goal," Seales said.