SJ Creamery Screenprint Showdown Design

Check out the shirt design "SJ Creamery" created for the first Screenprint Showdown by our very own Quynh-Mai, paying homage to growing up in North and East San José and a statement on the gentrification of these same communities.

Model wearing SJ Creamery Design

The Screenprint Showdown put together a month-long design contest calling for San Jose's creatives and culturalists to submit designs to answer the question, What is your San Jose? The project culminated in The Day of Print on January 30th with a live print process and winning and finalist designs on display. Below, Quynh describes the inspiration behind her design.

SJ Creamery is an homage to growing up in North/East Side San José. It is also a statement on the gentrification of these communities. 

La Pulga Paleta, The Flea, (top left) represents the iconic Berryessa Flea market in North/North East San José. It also represents the shift of employment from one consensus to another in the face of gentrification. Due to the development of the new BART extension to Berryessa, many small businesses that make much of their livelihood at the flea market are at risk of displacement. For this reason, the paleta is melting.

The Chrome Wheel Paleta (bottom left) represents the iconic culture of the Lowriders within the East Side. This imagery was also meant to reflect culture, identity, and choice. With more and more people moving into San José within the tech sector, spreading the influence of mass production, uniformity, and energy efficiency, the culture of the lowrider is becoming a subcultural scene that many people may view within a negative stereotypical context. For this reason, the paleta is melting.

The Lucky Cat Paleta (bottom right) represents my childhood experiences at Lion Plaza off Tully Road where every restaurant had a Lucky Cat statue posted in the front to welcome in good fortune. As a result of gentrification, we see a rise in rent, leading to unjust evictions, jobs that require hybrid skills, and work campuses that make it more challenging for native locals to survive in San José. Therefore, the mom­and­pop shops of the eastside are suffering. For this reason, the paleta is melting.

The Standard paleta (top right) represents the new flavor­­uniform in shape and mass-­produced. It is not melting because it is the new corporate norm that is standardizing and taking over our communities.

I am not one to stand against change and growth as long it is inclusive to all communities and not exclusive to downtown. Unfortunately, we have not found a way to alleviate the negative consequences that come with gentrification. That’s why I chose the paleta as the overall theme.

Paletas are an iconic childhood memory growing up in this community. Whether you’re sad or happy, during good times and bad, until we can come together and take ownership, invest, and protect our communities, we can always count on a paleta to eat our problems away. 

Created and operated by San Jose Made (SJMADE), Kooltura Marketing, FutureArtsNow! and Content Magazine, the Screenprint Showdown believes in the power of San Jose's screenprinting culture and its ability to distribute the city's cultural identity in a way that is meaningful and inclusive.

Related Media:
The Day of Print: San Jose's Screenprint Showdown 

About Quynh-Mai Nguyen

Quynh-Mai is a social artist, designer and producer extraordinaire.

This article is part of the category: Design 
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Cool design, I like it!

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