Interviewed by Kai Slater
1. You’re an independent producer of non-digital designs, what’s the process of your work and how did you start? How long has this been going? Usually I'm listening to music and I'll get an idea from that. I have a lot of old books of text and images that I source most materials from. I try not to use the internet to find stuff but will occasionally. I've had the same table-top copy machine that's somehow still working after 10+ years. So I'll just copy whatever I need and go from there. I cut out/lay out everything by hand and put it in place with a glue stick or tape. I don't like to measure or edit so it's always a quick one-and-done design process. Somehow it works out like 98 percent of the time. There have only been a few things that I thought were shit.
2. And is this a side gig or are you doing this full time? This is a side gig/hobby that has turned into a full time job while I still also have a full time job. When I started making shirts around 2007 I was spray painting everything and would sell like 2 things a week so I never imagined it could become something I could actually live off of. I work with my mom and dad at our lawn mower shop and we have no one else working for us so I feel bad to leave them, but we're finally trying to sell the business so hopefully I can get the fuck out of here soon and do art stuff full time. Which is a little scary, but I'm sure I'll be fine. I just like to worry about everything.
3. There are others in the scene doing xeroxed out art but what stands out to me is not only how authentic it looks but how specific you’re getting with the themes, from small time punk bands from the 70s like the Shivvers and Zero Boys to Chalino Sanchez and Ronald Reagan. As well as a lot of kinky shit. Where did you get your deep punk knowledge and views? I guess I'm aware of others that are doing similar xeroxed stuff. I feel like some people are ripping me off but maybe they're just influenced and I should be flattered. I think what sets me apart is that I don't use a computer or photoshop to make anything. Some of my posts on Instagram are colored and I just take a picture of the piece of paper I copied and edit it right on Instagram. Some of my influences are Aaron Cometbus (zine and album artwork), ESPO (graffiti/sign painting), 80s punk flyers, 60s counter culture, and current artists/musicians around me who push me to keep up and try to make cool stuff so I can stay relevant. There's always someone who knows more so I don't know how deep my punk knowledge is, but my uncle got me into Minor Threat and the Dead Milkmen when I was in my teens and we would go to shows together (and still do) so I guess that's what really got me into it. I'm always looking for new/lesser known music. There is so much good punk coming out almost every day. Sorry State Records has a weekly newsletter that is very extensive and will keep you up to date on pretty much every new release in the underground hardcore punk scene. Regarding non-music designs, I'm interested in the darker side of 20th century history. The things that aren't talked about as much. There's too much cool information out there. It's hard to take it all in. Basically from 1960 to 1980, from LSD to the JFK Assassination to the Black Panther Party to the Troubles in Northern Ireland to the dictatorships and drug trade in Central and South America to the wars and genocide in Southeast Asia. I collect old porn paperback books and magazine and the cover art and graphics in those things are amazing. I don't know how I got into all of that, but I do remember like 10 years ago my sister was buying a house and I was looking through it and the previous owner had died and all his stuff was still in there. In his bedroom he had an amazing collection of 1950s/60s paperback smut and I wanted all of it but we were there with the realtor so I couldn't take anything but I did sneak back up and put a few books in my pants. That kinda fueled my passion.
4. I said ‘scene’, but how connected do you feel to a community of graphic designers? Is it more of a solo endeavor or have you connected with other artists? I've made more friends in the art world than I have in the punk scene. I'm part of the Reptile House Comix collective here in Philadelphia and it's probably the closest I've ever come to having a group of friends even if we barely even see each other because we're always working on our own stuff. I've met a lot of other artists on Instagram and I do feel connected. My friend Eric/Come On Strong and I run a punk market called Shock Exchange and that has also become somewhat of a scene in itself. We keep it inclusive while also excluding more popular artists who always get asked to do everything else. Even though I am a white male, our aim is to keep it as diverse as we can, and straight white men are last on our list to include lol.
5. What have your favorite graphic designers/artists been? Who should people check out? Favorite current bands/artists/places are mainly people I know/met/worked with. Bands would be Dark Thoughts, Alien Birth, Ghosh, Hank Wood and the Hammerheads, Kaleidoscope, Twompsax, Fried E.M., to name a few. Artists would be Come On Strong, Addicted to Chaos, Nick Bunch, Too Tuft to Die, Pleather Face, Joshua Mackie, Julia Arredondo, Mean Machine, Marena Skinner, Shane Olsen, Devil Girl, Abe Garcia, Septic the Outlaw, LAZY, Truthlizard, Mony Kaos, Pippa Toole, Bad Dog LA, Renata Rojo, Foie Graphics, Lost Chains, House of Dame off the top of my head. Some places that influence me are Rebel Rouser records, Better Dead Than Read books, Tattooed Mom, Yellow Rose, Thrillhouse Records, Bric-a-Brac Records, Celebrated Summer Records, Wacky Wacko, Leather Archives in Chicago, Descontrol punk shop. I could go on all day.