Fictional Work

Los Angeles, California · 178 Sales


Fictional Work

Los Angeles, California 178 Sales On Etsy since 2011

5 out of 5 stars

Announcement   Own your philosophy with Fictional Work of Los Angeles. Uniquely designed philosophy mugs and t-shirts by visual artist Hanna Nielson. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @fictionalwork for all the latest updates.

Looking for mythology prints and mandalas? Visit my other Etsy shop:!


Last updated on May 11, 2017

Own your philosophy with Fictional Work of Los Angeles. Uniquely designed philosophy mugs and t-shirts by visual artist Hanna Nielson. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @fictionalwork for all the latest updates.

Looking for mythology prints and mandalas? Visit my other Etsy shop:!

Fictional Workshop

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Fictional Workshop

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Owning my philosophy.

This story is a work in progress, just like my shop. I started Fictional Work back in 2011 when I first moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in screenwriting and directing. Hard times immediately ensued and I challenged to use my creativity to make ends meet. The Philosophy Mugs were my first creations, my first foray into computer-created graphic design, and the first time I quite literally fed myself thanks to my artwork.

The first inspiration for Fictional Work occurred to me in 2001, when I was in college. I had the idea to make philosophy t-shirts (specifically the Nietzsche design) but that before the Internet and computer technology changed the production of art and commerce into the easily-accessible formats that exist today.

In developing the series of great thinkers for my shop, I found that drawing is easy but humor is hard. It takes a good amount of research into the philosophical, scientific, or otherwise brilliant works of the selected genius. So it's something like three days of reading and research, and then waiting for my brain to find something witty to say about it. But the wit has to work on two levels -- it has to be funny or eye-catching for someone who knows nothing about the work of genius X, but it also has to function as an in-joke for people who know the work of genius X perhaps a little too well.

Occasionally I get special requests from customers to include one of their favorite philosophers. One customer wanted me to create a Kant t-shirt as a special present for her professor. I admit that gave me a sleepless night until I resolved not to think too hard about it. Within three days my subconscious politely performed its magic. In a spontaneous flash, I had my "quote," completed the design work, and the customer loved it!

I create my graphics by studying portraits of the relevant philosopher and then selecting a shape that inspires me from a series of silhouetted coffee mug stains. That probably sounds weird - but using a coffee mug stain as a template forces me to be loose and cartoonish in my drawing (I have a tendency to be overly detailed and realistic). And, it gives the finished product my signature look - that of a chalkboard drawing scribbled hastily while the teacher was out of the room.

I was once asked by a customer if I would consider doing any of the t-shirts in color - and while my answer was ultimately "no," it forced me to think for the first time about my aesthetics and what they mean to me and why I've chosen them. The "chalkboard drawing" look has a lot of personal meaning to me. As a multi-talented child in school, I was often bored by how things were taught in public school. I learned and retained things quickly but had to endure all the tedium of endless repetition. To survive this wasteland of intellectual deprivation, I would cover my notebooks would with drawings, cartoons, funny sayings, poems, etc. When the teacher was out of the room, I was often tempted to practice my art upon the chalkboard (back when there were actual chalkboards with actual chalk).

The more I thought about it, I realized the "chalk upon blackboard" look is more than just an aesthetic design choice. It also connects to history and the ways of learning and self-expression that connect us through the ages. Many of the great thinkers that I celebrate in my shop once wrote out their ideas with chalk and slate, and perchance doodled and wrote funny sayings while allowing their imagination a much needed chance to roam.

The production of my products is an evolving area. I love the idea of producing things by hand, using silkscreen printing or heat-presses. But unfortunately I do not have the studio space or the capital to invest in my own equipment. At present, the most cost effective way to produce my products is to rely on professional printing services to make products to order. This also frees me up to experiment with different designs and offer unconventional products without the financial risk of printing large amounts of items which might only sell occasionally. (I'm looking at you, William of Ockham mug!)

My future goals are currently evolving. I recently created an Instagram account (@FictionalWork) and it has taught me more about who responds to my products than my Etsy stats page ever could. I never suspected Philosophy Mug fans are an entirely different breed from Philosophy T-Shirt fans. Nor indeed did I ever suspect that people would just be fans of me, the whole mixed bag of me, my overactive brain, genre-crossing creative output, and who-knows-where-you-fit-in ideas.

As Jung once said, "Dream on."


Shop members

  • Hanna Nielson

    Owner, Creator, Photographer

    Hanna is a Los Angeles based artist, writer, and filmmaker. She has been a professionally active artist from age 13 and has lived and studied in England, India, and Ireland. For more example of her artwork, visit

Shop policies

Last updated on July 26, 2015
Welcome to my workshop! All items are designed by myself. My items are made to order at the time of purchase. I work with three different boutique printing companies which I feel offer the best quality product for my designs as well as the fastest turn around and reliable delivery times.

I am the owner and sole employee of my shop. As such, my policies are designed to provide the best customer service I am able - but I am not a corporate, high-volume seller with all the perks of low operating costs and free shipping.

Any questions, comments, or want something customized? Feel free to message me on Etsy, or contact me.

Accepted payment methods

  • Pay with Visa
  • Pay with Master Card
  • Pay with American Express
  • Pay with Discover
  • Pay with PayPal
  • Buy with Apple Pay
  • Pay with Sofort
  • Pay with iDeal
  • Accepts Etsy gift cards
Payment is accepted via PayPal or direct checkout at the time of purchase.
Items are shipped direct to you from the boutique printing company I use to create my products. All items are shipped in sturdy, lightweight packaging. Delivery providers are UPS or US First Class Mail.

TRACKING NUMBERS: I send tracking information on all US-Continental deliveries. Tracking is not available for international orders.

PROCESSING TIMES: Please allow 7-14 business days for order processing and delivery. For the holiday season, please allow 10-18 business days. Additional time is required for international shipping, up to 3 weeks for delivery.

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING FOR MUGS: At present I do not offer this option because I believe the price of shipping ($38.00 or more) is too unreasonable.

HOLIDAY DELIVERY: I strongly advise ordering 3 weeks before Christmas to ensure Christmas delivery (see also, Express Shipping below). Orders placed after this deadline cannot be guaranteed for delivery. I cannot accept responsibility for any processing or shipping delays during the busy holiday season. Refunds are not available for delayed items. I am not a corporate entity and cannot compete with high volume sellers who can guarantee delivery during this period.

I do not accept responsibility for shipping delays caused by high volume holiday seasons, local Post Office procedures, or incorrect address information.

EXPRESS SHIPPING: Please see my shop section "Shipping Options" for available shipping add-ons. These should be purchased at the same time as your item. Your order will not be processed until additional shipping costs are paid.

I cannot offer express shipping for free, nor can I guarantee arrival by a specific date unless you place your order 3 weeks in advance.

For holiday season orders, express delivery cannot be "guaranteed" to arrive by Christmas.

CUSTOM ORDERS: Please message me to discuss custom orders and pricing. Please allow an additional 2 weeks processing time for custom artwork.

DELIVERY PROBLEMS: Tracking numbers are provided so you can check the status of any US-Domestic delivery. Often contacting your nearest Post Office can help resolve issues with delivery delays.

DAMAGED ITEMS: Contact me immediately for a replacement of any damaged item. There is no additional cost.
Refunds and Exchanges
I am always happy to discuss any customer satisfaction issues and I will replace any items that are damaged or misprinted. I will also replace any item that is lost or undelivered.

Proof of non-delivery is required. Proof of damage and misprinting is also required. I will accept photographs and email attachments.

RETURNS: Any misprinted or damaged returns must be returned before a replacement can be issued. Item must be shipped to the printing company address (included on packing invoice) in order for a no-cost replacement to be issued.

REFUNDS: Refunds can be provided if Buyer contacts me within 30 days of purchase. Buyer is responsible for return shipping costs. Item must be undamaged and in original condition in order to qualify for a refund.
Additional policies and FAQs
I am happy to discuss custom orders and quotes. Please message me before ordering. I will create a special reserve listing for your item(s) which you can purchase.

Please do not order an item and then message me with a request to swap it for a custom item. Believe it or not, customized orders will have different pricing, shipping costs, and delivery times. I will be forced to cancel your initial order and create a custom listing for you anyway.

At present, I am not able to offer items wholesale.