The common thread that led to Threadless


“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” says digital illustrator and concept artist Conrad Javier, quoting hockey great, Wayne Gretzky. Javier’s version is: “You have to bravely pursue every opportunity that makes sense.”

It’s this passion that Javier used to weave his artistic career to the front door of his current employer, Threadless– a highly respected, Chicago-based and artist-driven e-commerce website.


After received his BFA in Digital Illustration from the American Academy of Art in 2012, Javier took many freelance gigs to sustain his creative “artist’s life.” Although at times difficult, he continued working on perfecting his craft while maintaining a positive attitude.

“I’ve always believed in never selling myself short by backing down from a challenge,” Javier reflects.

“The core things I gained from the Academy – artistic fundamentals, the importance of a great work ethic and artistic collaboration – are key to my current career success,” Javier explains. “I’d also tell new artists to hustle, take on every new opportunity, draw when you don’t want to, and know your worth when others don’t seem to.”


Javier’s big break was in 2014 at the Arcade Brewery’s 2nd Public Brew™ label design challenge. Before taking home the winning design, Javier met illustrator and Threadless designer Alex Solis during the final round. Under Solis’s encouragement, Javier applied for a job at Threadless and was hired shortly after.

Now, as a production artist, Javier handles preparation and creation of design files for He’s also part of its new venture, Artist’s Shops– where designers create their own “shops,” upload their artwork, and let Threadless handle all of the painstaking e-commerce logistics.


Currently, Javier is busy refreshing his online presence and teaching himself 3D programs.



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