For 10 wears now, T.J. Tremmiel’s T-shirts have provided satirical, wearable commentary on Dallas” foibles and fiascos. His shirts have commemorated the stumbling start of Starplex (“Corporate Cola Far-Fetched Amphitheater”); the flap over the Lower Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade (“The Annual Da|as Litter and Puke Fest”); the gridlocked fortunes of DART; and the infamous Carrie Delano-Diane Ragsdale dust-up in the City Council chambers,
This month, Dallas loses part of its sense of humor as Tremmel I and artist Jean Smith, his wife and partner, close their tiny Greenville Avenue stare. The couple will soon move to a small town of about 800 near the Idaho-Washington border, where they’ll convert an old church into a home.
“It’s great country,” says Tremmel, who is an avid fisherman. “I had been through there years ago as a young hippie,”
Tremmel, 41, opened the store in June 1983. Before that, lie worked as a carpenter and sold shirts out of his truck to patrons! in bars and restaurants. “If I had a S40 or S50 day. I was in heaven,” he says.
In their own private Idaho, Tremmel and Smith will devote more time to their artwork. But the business will go on via catalog (their mail order sales grew 300 percent last year) and the 800-TREMMEL number.
His next catalog, Tremmel says, will offer more than 70 shirts-including designs by Dallas artists John Baynham and Buddy Hickerson-along with the work of nationally known shirtistes like Ralph Steadman and Ray Troll, whose cerebral fish shirts (“Telefishon,” “Spawn Till You Die,” etc.) are among Tremmel’s best sellers.
“We’ll miss our friends, but we won’t miss the summers,” says Tremmel, a Minnesota native. He’ll also miss jabbing Dallas icons with the satiric needle.
“Our FART (“Forget About Rapid Transit”) shirt has never stopped selling,” he laughs. “I bet I’ve sold 14 of them over die years to friends of (former DART head) Charles Anderson. He must have a drawerful of them.”