Interview with HSIAO-RON CHENG

If you’re the type of outside diner to catch a quick bronze while waiting for your chicken parm, you’ll appreciate this new design by artist and illustrator, Hsiao-Ron Cheng. A specialist in combining hand drawn illustrations and digital finishes for portraits, Hsiao-Ron Cheng contributes to the Upper Playground archive with this first design. Here are few questions we asked Hsiao-Ron about her and her work:

Walnuts T-Shirt by Hsiao-Ron Cheng

UP: Tell us a  bit about your background as an artist.

HRC: Hi I’m a commercial artist based in Taipei, Taiwan. I studied Fine Art in Taiwan University of Art. I quit my day job in 2012 and then only concentrate on my own illustrations since then. I love walking, hiking, traveling, sleeping.

UP: There is a sense of serenity in your portraits. Can you explain the tone and mood of your subjects?

HRC: I’ve always love pastel colors. As for the mood, I think maybe is because I’m a calm person so it reflects on my works.

UP: What is the balance between digital and hand drawn aesthetic in your work?

HRC: I only do digital works, from drafts to final. But I do have experience of making oils, pencil drawing, water color etc. so I’m very aware and know how to make digital works with hand drawn texture.

UP: Where do you find inspiration?

HRC: Pinterest and life.

The Walnuts T-shirt in White is now available online at

Walnuts T-Shirt by Hsiao-Ron Cheng

Upper Playground Releases New Logo Designs by Benjie Escobar

Upper Playground is pleased to announce the release of five new logo designs by artist and designer, Benjie Escobar. Benjie brings his eclectic background to the UP design table, creating original logos for Upper Playground and showcasing his style. All new designs are available in store and online at

About the Artist:
Benjie Escobar is an LA-based, multi-media artist and designer. His work and his aesthetic sensibilities come from a variety of influences that range from his childhood in Pomona, anime, lowrider bike culture, graffiti, raves, streetwear, DJ culture, Japan, typography, design & illustration and perhaps most importantly, hamburgers or was it pizza?

In addition to his creative work, Benjie is also a curator of art exhibitions, inventor of new zine genres, art-director of gourmet burger festivals and brand builder of countless companies and gives priceless off-the-cuff marketing tips to anyone who cares to listen, or just happens to be within earshot.





New Addition To CA Records Collection By Upper Playground

New CA Records Pillow is being introduced to our popular CA Records Collection this week. Available in Black and Royal Blue, The CA Records Collection currently offers T-Shirts for Men and Women, alongside Crewnecks, Hoodies and Tank Tops. Follow us at @upperplayground IG and visit our online shop

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Bumble Beer T-shirt and Hoodies: New Superfishal Design by Jeremy Fish

The new Bumble Beer design which cleverly plays on the images of a Bumble Bee, Bear and Beer is designed by artist and illustrator, Jeremy Fish. The designs are now available as a T-shirt and on Hoodies at Upper Playground this week.


The hoodies are a Classic Fit made of 10oz 80/20 Cotton/Poly Blend and comes in Maroon for Men and Red for Women. Click on images below for a better look:

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Upper Playground releases new Bay Area Champs Design

Upper Playground releases a new design this week:  The  ‘Bay Area Champs’ design will be available in store and online at as a hoodie and t-shirt in two color ways. Click on the photos for more information.

Bay Area Champs T-shirt in Black or Athletic Gray:


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Bay Area Champs Zip Hoodie in Black or Athletic Gray:

Bay-Area-Champs-Hoodie-Tshirt-Upper-Playground-008 Bay-Area-Champs-Hoodie-Tshirt-Upper-Playground-006Bay-Area-Champs-Hoodie-Tshirt-Upper-Playground-001 Bay-Area-Champs-Hoodie-Tshirt-Upper-Playground-007

Upper Playground releases The Burger Walrus by Josh Ellingson

Upper Playground is proud to announce the release of a new design by Artist, Josh Ellingson, now available online at
Josh Ellingson, Upper Playground

Josh Ellingson creates unique designs and illustrations for brands, publications, and galleries worldwide. His artwork is often described as graphic and bold, drawing inspiration from world of pop-art, technology, and the absurd. He releases this week, The Burger Walrus design along with a few questions we threw his way:

1) Is there a story, special message, or feeling your are trying to convey with your tee design?

I was trying to find the hidden pathway between terror and hunger. Can something be both majestic and absurd simultaneously? Also, I like hamburgers and walruses.

2) What was your all time favorite tee shirt you ever owned?

I’ve had a lot of great tshirts. I think my favorite was from San Francisco Polka/Punk icons “Polkacide”. It was a skull and cross-sausages. I wore it ragged and then bought another one. It’s totally destroyed now too.


3) What do the words Upper Playground mean to you?

When I first heard about “Upper Playground”, I thought it must be a skate park or a record store. There were just these giant photocopies pasted up around town with a walrus on it. It was mysterious. Then, when the store opened on Fillmore I was like, “Oh, these are some nice sweatshirts!”. So, the art comes and goes, but I was really struck by the quality of the clothing. So, when I think about Upper Playground my first thought is that it’s going to be warm and it’s going to be mysterious.

Upper Playground, as I’ve come to understand it, is now a well curated gallery cleverly disguised as a clothing store. Instead of canvases, the spotlight is on hoodies and tshirts. They’re taking the art world to the cleaners, literally.

The Mountain x Upper Playground collaborates on ‘The Walrus Face’ T-shirt

Anyone who knows f**k-all about t-shirts will tell you that the greatest tie-dyed animal tees in the world come from the legendary brand known as “THE MOUNTAIN”.

We at Upper Playground respect this level of accomplishment in the T-shirt world (game recognize game), and have proudly embarked on a collaboration with the grand champion of animal tee shirts. Introducing the Upper Playground x The Mountain “Walrus Face” collaboration. Wear this T-shirt and think “two great tee brands joined forces so that I could wear this epic Walrus Face tee” and somehow the world is suddenly a better place to be.

Upper Playground x Henry Gunderson: Crystal Skull Premium T-shirt

Henry Gunderson is an American contemporary artist. He attended Redwood High School in Larkspur, California. His work has been likened to Georges Braque and Henry Darger. He has also been praised for his insight into “the clash between man and nature and the animalistic tendencies innate in humans.”

Having had his first solo show at Fecal Face Dot Gallery in San Francisco at the age of 19, he’s been recognized as a child prodigy. A selection of Gunderson’s exhibitions in the last two years include those at Show and Tell Gallery in Toronto, Nudashank in Baltimore and White Walls in San Francisco. In 2010 he was chosen for Survey Select at Wonderbread Factory in San Diego, an exhibition that highlights recent developments in narrative painting.


Gunderson makes his UP Debut with the Crystal Skull Premium Tee, made from 100% interlock Premium Pima Cotton. He explains the Crystal Skull image and answered a few of our questions:

Is there a story, special message, or feeling you try to convey with your designs?
The image is based on Mayan crystal skulls believed to have mysterious powers to perform miracles and possibly save the world from impending doom. The design conveys hope and a belief in miracles.

What was your all time favorite tee shirt you ever owned?
I traded my friend a shirt that I made for an ’89 Rolling Stones tour with the big tongue on it. I liked that shirt at the time. It disappeared.

What do the words Upper Playground mean to you?
That’s where the big kids play the game.