Oklahoma City artist Dustin Oswald is humble about the success he has found with his Bombs Away line of original T-shirts. The shirts, he said, are a means to continue working at his real passion: painting.
“That's what pays the bills,” he said of his Bombs Away line.
Oswald spends much of his workday at his small studio, 2921 W Wilshire, hand-pulling T-shirts at his four-color manual press. His designs are hand-drawn, and he uses silk screens for producing the shirts. He has so many orders, he said he hardly has time to do anything else.
The thing about Bombs Away shirts that makes them special to Oklahomans is that many have Oklahoma-themed designs. Oswald's most popular and recognizable design is Osage Shield, from the Oklahoma flag. Also Oklahoma-themed are his Scissortail design and an American Indian image called The Warrior.
“I like the fact that Dustin's line is all hand-drawn and not just tweaked in Photoshop,” said Amanda Bradway, owner of DNA Galleries, a Plaza District boutique that specializes in art, crafts and other items from Oklahoma artists and crafters and carries many of Oswald's shirts.
“It's inspiring for the public to see artists in Oklahoma truly make a living and growing right in front of them,” Bradway said. “Dustin is really making a huge impact on our state's culture.”
A sense of pride
Like many artists, Oswald admitted he didn't always feel like he fit into his local society, especially while growing up in small-town Apache. Oswald was into punk rock music as a teen and said he always felt a bit alienated from the rest of the community.