Tristan Art’s custom cell phone cases have been snapped onto the smart phones of global celebrities and local fans alike.
The 27-year-old animator and entrepreneur has built a business turning personal photographs into one-of-a-kind cartoon graphics that have been printed onto cellphone cases for celebrities including Nicki Minaj and Lebron James.
A class clown and artist growing up, the South Carolina native and Baltimore resident said watching cartoons on TV spurred his love of animation.
“I’ve always been fascinated with cartoons,” he said. “I wanted to be a voice on a cartoon, or maybe work with Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network.”
After a disappointing job search in the network animation business, Tristan set out to create his own cartoon series called “Tristan’s World” and earned cash illustrating profile photos for social media followers. His brother suggested the idea of printing his designs onto cell phone cases, and in 2012, his business was born.
Each case takes about three hours to create and prices for iPhone and Android designs start at $100. Customers can place an order by sending in a photo along with the cellphone model and any design details.
Tristan said he often receives sports-related concepts and pictures of customers’ kids, but he most loves seeing people show off their brand new cases.
“I love when people get [the cases] and respond to me. I like when people smile when they get them and when they tell their friends.”