In an era when graphic tees are a dime a dozen, how can the quality and artistic license of one be trusted more than the next? With floating handguns, outstretched eagle wings and cascading arrays of falling stars, it’s easy to get lost in the fray. That is why Phoenix’s own TinyLoveRock label is going against the grain in search of t-shirt supremacy.

Started in 2007 by Phoenix Art Institute pals Tim “Doyle” Brennan and Tom “Pirate” Vereker, the two collaborated on sketches that would eventually wind up on many a TLR cotton masterpiece. Vereker’s wife, Blair, later joined the label to offer much-needed insight and feminine perspective.

“Out of what was partly budget-based and out of a desire to give people something unique that wouldn’t be available in every store, we decided to produce limited-edition prints on super-soft shirts,” Vereker recalls. Though they started selling their work at First Fridays just a year ago, TLR has managed to make a name for itself throughout Phoenix, Colorado and beyond.

“It’s always a risk,” Vereker says of the graphic tee business. “There seems to be so many people making t-shirts, and so many using royalty-free, ready-made graphics on cheap t-shirts. We want the quality of our product to stand out among a good few, rather than clothe the masses on the cheap.”