A Star Rises: Behind the Scenes of Design

Hello, Internet!

On August 28th, I launched a limited edition t-shirt campaign A Star Rises to benefit the victims of Hurricane Harvey. All proceeds go to Feeding Texas, who will provide aid to area food banks affected by the storm. And let me tell you, launching a t-shirt campaign when you’re doing it solo is omfg stressful. Learning experience for sure!

I’m here to show you what went into the idea, and how I came up with the final design for A Star Rises.

My BFF lives in Austin, and her parents and grandmother live in Houston. I’ve met her parents and they’re lovely people. Snarky, funny, and the masters of inappropriate jokes. Her mother even helped me figure out a sticky plot point with Grow. A neighborhood feral cat decided they were his forever people, and they affectionately named him Porchdick. Yes. I’m serious. Named after a douchebag character in The Walking Dead. He has a collar and everything that says Porchdick.

When Hurricane Harvey came ashore, her parents decided to stay with their home. There’s a levee around their neighborhood. They insisted they would be safe. Everything was fine and dandy. Harvey was expected to hit Austin as a Category 1, and the BFF hunkered down with groceries, supplies, and Aidan Gillen movies. Because Aidan Gillen.

Just look at this magnificent as fuck bastard.

Irish actor Aidan Gillen photographed in Dublin, Ireland for Independent on Sunday, New Review Magazine. Photographed by Thomas Ball. www.thomasballphoto.com

So all seemed well and good. Nothing to worry about. Everyone is perfectly safe.

Until everyone wasn’t.

On Sunday night, BFF received a text from her parents. The retention pond in their neighborhood was leaking, and they had to move everything important upstairs. The Brazos River was flooding, and was expected to crest at 55 feet. The levee around the neighborhood is 57 feet. The river was still rising, and water was coming in. And BFF’s parents insisted on staying with their home.

Understandably, the BFF was extremely upset about the idea of her parents being so stupid and the very real possibility they might not make it out alive. And me, here in Florida, I couldn’t do anything. Nothing I could say could make it better. And of course no one on the fucking planet wants to be told “It’s going to be okay.” When very clearly everything is not okay. All I could do was listen, and be there, and be the person she could commiserate with. I was five seconds from trying to find a flight to Austin so I could be there just to hold her hair as she puked from anxiety. Because when you’re besties for nearly 18 years, that’s what besties do.

I was just so powerless.

So, that night, the BFF went to bed not knowing if she’d have parents in the morning. And all I could do is sit by and wait for the update. I decided I needed to do something. And I thought, hey. I own a billion charity shirts, I’ll make one! How hard can it be!

Hah, ha-hah, ha-hah, hah. I’m so precious.

So that night, I slapped together a bunch of concepts. And here’s a peek at the originals!

First, I knew I wanted to do the Lone Star, and I wanted to incorporate the Texas state colors in some way. So I came up with this.

A Star Rises – Concept 1 by Lex Chase at lexchase.com

Kinda love it. But not quite. I really loved the tropical blue, but the colors were kinda arbitrary. Still really did love the tropical blue.

Next was this.

A Star Rises – Concept 2 by Lex Chase at lexchase.com

And I thought… Dallas Cowboys? Grey water? Oil? Uh, no.

And then this one.

A Star Rises – Concept 3 by Lex Chase at lexchase.com

Wtf? Blood? The fuck was I thinking?

By that time, it was going on nearly midnight, and I was getting frustrated. Enter other Austinite and author Clancy Nacht, who is a lovely human being and Fannibal. And really any Fannibal is one of my people. Clancy being a wellspring of input tossed some ideas my way. One of them being a shot of the interior of the Texas State Capitol.


The dome of the capitol in Austin, Texas, rises to 266 feet and is highlighted with ornate architecture, culminating with an 8 foot wide Texas Star at the top. This view was taken with a telephoto lens and looks straight up from the mosaic floor of the rotunda.

And I was like yaaaaaassss thiiiiiis. But…a little goat head-ish. Now you see it, don’t you?

So it was 1 am, and I got back to work. And at 4:30 am, this… this was it. A Star Rises.

A Star Rises – Official Design by Lex Chase at lexchase.com

And off to Bonfire, I went. And shortly after, the campaign was off to the races. Where I had to message every goddamn person I knew to get the word out. Call in all the favors. Every last one.

And then I waited for the update.

Was the BFF okay? Was her parents okay? Did Porchdick drown? All of these things ran through my head.

And I’m very happy to report, the water receded. The levee didn’t fail. And while there was water three feet up her parents’s driveway, Porchdick was high and dry in the garage. And as of today, their street is dry. Despite her parents worrying my BFF sick, she’s just relived she still has parents.

And while others in Houston may have each other, they may also have lost everything else. And that’s why I’m doing this. And that’s why I’m trying to get food and money to those who need it most. So give to Feeding Texas, and spread the word about an awesome shirt. And pick up one for yourself. I particularly love the espresso color. But there’s also black, charcoal, navy, and white.

Because I’m on my own here, and every little bit helps. So if you feel helpless, help in whatever way is in your power.

You can get A Star Rises here until September 12th. Let’s make a difference.

And now that you’ve hung on to the end, enjoy this Aidan Gillen eye candy.

Dat jacket tho.

Aidan Gillen from the set of Identity. Credit BBC.

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