When I was a kid, I bloody loved Allan Moore's Swamp Thing - a comic 'super-person', written by one of the coolest writers of all time. Swamp Thing was basically a scarier version of Don Cheadle's Captain Planet - a scientist that merged with the angry spirit of the swamp through a terrifying lab accident, and who now fights development corporations out in the Cajun swamps.
Alan Moore's Swamp Thing
From my comic book-laden bedroom, I secretly hoped that the world was full of super-powered folk who protected the wilds - pretty much all the way into adulthood.
However, in our world, environmental crime-fighters don't wear capes or possess the ability to control the forests with will alone. They do, however, work in some of the most dangerous places in the world, standing up to mobsters, corrupt government officials and exposing criminal syndicates behind the poaching of endangered species Such is the work of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
Since 1984, the EIA has worked tirelessly to investigate crimes against wildlife and the environment. Their undercover work and investigative reporting has led to the exposure of countless criminal syndicates around the world. Some of their biggest successes include publically exposing the enormous scale of the illegal ivory trade in the late 1980’s leading to a worldwide ban in 1989; documenting the scale and nature of the illegal trade in tiger skins across the Tibetan plateau which led to a call by the Dalai Lama for Tibetans to burn their tiger skins and subsequently a dramatic reduction in tiger trade in Tibet; and many more.
Busting illegal logging - Photo Credit: EIA
These guys are badasses. And when such badasses phone you up to collaborate on a line of campaign clothes, you take that call. And when you do a collab for a badass NGO, you better come prepared. And so it was that we linked up with the artist Gary Hodges - the UK's best selling pencil artist, and renowned wildlife artist.
Gary getting tickled by a wild Timber Wolf
We've been itching to work with the EIA for a long while, but it was only when Gav attended Gary Hodges' art exhibition in early 2016, that we joined all the dots. Gary - for lack of a better description - is a don. A self-taught, self-trained and self-published graphic artist, Gary has built a colossal following over the last 30 years. He is a seasoned wildlife conservationist and advocate for animal rights. His intricate pencil artwork of wildlife he sees and photographs on his travels around the world has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for NGOs and charities at auctions across the globe. He's won a tonne of awards from the Fine Art Trade Guild, and much of his work is now part of the permanent collection of the Nature in Art Museum, Gloucester and the Government Art Collection, UK. Gary is both a long-term supporter and regular collaborator with the EIA, as well as the Born Free Foundation.
Yeah. He's pretty awesome.
Gary taming the wild beast that is Jehst, the THTC office dog
We dragged Gary away from his home in Ibiza, Spain, to the more 'flavoursome' THTC HQ in Ealing, London, and convinced him to pledge one of his most popular drawings to a new range of THTC hemp and organic cotton men’s tees and organic cotton ladies’ tees and vests, which will raise money for the EIA, one of his favourite organisations.
Charge (Ladies' Cotton T's) modelled by Sarah Love (Radski Photography)
Gary has donated a reworked version of ‘Charge’, one of his most noted pieces to THTC. This piece from 1997, has been painstakingly refreshed, and screen printed with a graphite print technique onto organic cotton, and a limited edition run of white hemp. This run is extra special as it represents the last new hemp run that we will be doing in 2016.
Charge (Men's White Hemp) Modelled by Gary (Radski Photography)
THTC will be donating 25% of all sales from this collection straight to the EIA. This money will directly assist in combating wildlife and environmental crime. Every t-shirt sale will go towards fighting the illegal wildlife trade and exposing the ruthless criminals behind it.. All of which, is exceptionally badass.
We want to take this opportunity to thank both the EIA and Gary Hodges for helping us contribute to the amazing work they do, and helping empower our community to take an active and positive role in protecting the incredible species affected by the illegal wildlife trade.
Check out the THTC x EIA collection below, now!
Find out more about the EIA and their work fighting environmental crime - click here
Find out more about Gary Hodges and his amazing wildlife art - click here