Let's face it, we're stressed out. Americans are working more and more these days and some people are putting in up to 70 hours of work in a week. So let's chill out with some palm trees, parrots and hula girls in this week's Faces of Kansas City.
Chances are, the next time you see someone wearing a Hawaiian-style shirt or a tropical-themed T-shirt, Duane Cunningham probably had something to ,do with it.
"And then we have tropical goods to Hawaiian shirts, shirts with parrots doing wacky things... that's actually where I come in most of the times these days," said Cunningham.
He is an artist for Fencepost Productions - a menswear company in the Northland that ships its clothing to most major department and sporting goods stores across the country.
"It goes all the way down to some of the destination places... Florida Keys or Hawaii," said Cunningham.
He begins with a simple sketch.
"It's like this parrot, for example, and then it'll become something like our friend William Shakesbeer presents the Taming of the Brew," Cunningham said as he explains how he goes from a simple sketch to a final design. "Here's what it looks like when it hits the store shelves. I did another: A Midsummer Night's Drink... And doing another: Much a Brew About Nothing."
Cunningham loves his job but said one thing you'll never catch him doing is taking himself too seriously.
"There's a lot of people in the world with very important jobs, they do things for the good of humanity, but then there's some of us who draw parrots with bad puns holding beer mugs. It's a grueling task, but somebody has to do it," he said.
His latest project is a hula girl-themed T-shirt.
But shirt designing is just his day job.
For the last eight years, Cunningham has mixed it up as the play-by-play announcer for the Kansas City Roller Warriors at the historic Municipal Auditorium.
"When you're down at the Municipal and the score is tight, maybe somebody gets a big hit... it comes down to the wire, everybody loses their mind. There's nothing like it," he said.
Cunningham loves roller derby, but his real passion always draws him back to art. He's illustrated Roller Warrior posters, a cover of The Pitch magazine and his own comic books.
For Cunningham, it might be safe to say life is picture perfect.
"Drawing parrots and palm trees and hula girls for a living, there are worse jobs to have," he said.
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