Runny noses may not be the typical inspiration for a company name, but Colin Tandy felt otherwise.
“I grew up in San Diego, I was by the beach, and picking my nose and playing in the sand was like my childhood,” he said.
The third-year English student teamed up with his friend Chris “Chuff” Kim, a third-year design media arts student, to found the company Snot and Sand to sell their own poster and T-shirt designs. Tandy said the company aims to add a decorative flair to the plain white walls of living spaces, with its eclectic and doodle-esque art style.
Kim designed Snot and Sand’s first poster “Oh shit, that’s art?” using an amalgamation of doodles Tandy drew in notebooks during his first year. He presented the poster to Tandy after Tandy performed at the WestWoodstock festival in April 2017, as a thank-you gift for supporting him during a difficult time in his life.
The “Oh shit, that’s art?” poster features an ensemble of characters set against a green background, with the titular phrase in the upper-left corner. The range of characters includes an anthropomorphic slice of bread and a man with mustard-yellow hair holding up a peace sign, among many others.
During his first year, Tandy said he would often doodle in his notebooks, creating eccentric characters and figures, while also writing strange phrases such as “Oh shit, that’s art?” He said the phrase illustrates the notion that anything, even unfinished or unconventional doodles in a notebook, is artistic. Tandy said doodling is a natural way for him to make art that doesn’t require planning or rules.
“When I’m in class, I don’t want to write about Shakespeare, I want to do something different, and that inspires me to draw,” he said. “When you’re doodling, you’re not thinking, ‘What’s something super cool that I can draw?’”
When Katrina Froelich, a third-year psychology student, saw the poster hanging in Tandy’s room, she asked him if there were more posters she could buy for her brother’s upcoming birthday. She said her brother also likes to draw doodles of his own, and knew he would appreciate the poster’s alternative vibe.
“If you’re getting a poster for a guy, there’s the obvious Maxim-, Playboy-type poster or maybe a favorite band, but this one was really unique,” she said.
Soon after, Kim and Tandy began selling posters and sharing them on Instagram, making sure their interactions with customers and their word-of-mouth advertising style had a personal touch. Froelich said when she picked up her poster, Kim and Tandy also gave her a bottle cap and handwritten note for her brother.
One of their designs, “Mad Colony,” features different cartoon representations of Tandy that he has drawn continuously over the last year. On top of a blue gradient, the poster envisions Tandy as different creatures in various outfits but maintains his long hair and mustache in all of the characters. The name of the poster is a play on the words “colony” and his first name “Colin.”
He also doodled for the poster “Guess I’ll Wait Till Dusk,” which he originally drew on leftover notecards. Tandy said the poster includes slightly uncomfortable doodles, such as melting monsters and scary faces with phrases including, “yep, definitely a murderer.”
“I just like … weird things that make you uncomfortable, make you obsess over, just a lot of things that seem like they shouldn’t go together, but do,” Tandy said.
Kim said the process of formatting the posters isn’t too difficult or time-consuming. He transfers all of Tandy’s doodles to Adobe Illustrator, traces them, places them wherever he feels they look the best and then adds color. For “Oh shit, that’s art?” he chose colors randomly, but decided to make “Guess I’ll Wait Till Dusk” and “Mad Colony” gradients because he liked how the separate colors blended together.
Froelich said she particularly enjoys the way the company subverts traditional artistic notions because, while they do not have an orthodox artistic vision in the vein of artists like Claude Monet, their art has the ability to inspire its audience.
“It’s … declaring itself as art,” she said. “By saying, ‘Oh shit, that’s art?’ they’re saying, ‘Oh shit, we’re art, we’re allowed to call ourselves art and consider ourselves artists.’”
They recently released their first T-shirt, featuring a caricature of Albert Einstein. In the future, Kim said he hopes to begin creating doodles for more posters and expand the collection to include items like pins and stickers. He said he feels their eclectic style would lend itself well to new mediums and carry their offbeat brand. Tandy said for the duo, the stranger their art is, the better.
“I want it to be received in a way that says, ‘This man has some weird things going on in his head, and it’s cool that he’s putting them out in the world, and we can see what’s going on his brain,’” Tandy said.