1. You’re a self-taught screen-printer. What drew you to this art form, and how did you get started?
I honestly fell into it by accident really. I hear this from a lot of screen printers I’ve met, too. My dad decided to buy some used screen-printing equipment out of Georgia for me to use and generate some money while I was in college. It wasn’t until I started incorporating more of it into my drawings and paintings that I got fully invested. When I graduated from UAB in 2013, I realized there was an unlimited amount of potential in utilizing it in starting my own business.
2. You started your business small and have recently scaled up. What did you learn in those first years?
The first few years in this business are a lot of screwing up and getting angry and being exhausted all the time. Again, you can ask other screen printers this, and the stories are typically the same. There are just so many details that go into this medium that determine whether a job is a success or a complete disaster. Those first years I was also working other full-time jobs that were really crucial in teaching me more about client relations, production issues and resolutions to those, how to and not to work with other people, etc. More than anything, I think I learned how to handle this job under a lot of stress and pressure and how to develop relationships with my customers that make them feel very important to us, no matter how big or small the job.
3. You just opened up a storefront for your business in Leeds. Can you tell us a little about that?
We knew were ready to take the next step, and Leeds offered the perfect starter storefront for us. Originally, I just needed somewhere to move my equipment, but the space was unique enough to allow us to make it into something more. So not only is it an ideal office and shop space, but I think it’s going to allow us to do other things that we’ve had in the works for a while. I’d definitely like to start offering some classes and interactive courses that the public can sign up for.
4. Are there any artists in Birmingham that inspire your work?
Well I was a fine artist long before I was a printer, so a lot of my inspirations come from artists who use a lot of drawing or expressive gestures in their work. I’m a big fan of Amy Pleasant. Her work is beautiful and really powerful in a subtle way. I got to do a class studio visit with her my senior year, and I’ve been following her work ever since. My drawing professor at UAB, Doug Baulos, is a big inspiration. Not only did he play a crucial role in my education, he’s an incredible guy, and his work is incredible too. Check out his book arts work. It’s ridiculous (in the best way).
5. What sort of services do you think young/new artists could benefit from in Birmingham?
I think space one eleven has wonderful yearly and summer programs for kids that want to get involved with making art. It’s a great environment to start young artists out in. My advice would be to immerse yourself into anything and everything available. Visit the art museum, go to free artist lectures like the ones UAB offers, enjoy the local art fairs. Certainly one of our plans for the business is to start offering screen printing classes to the public, including classes for certain age ranges. I’m hoping that’s a service we can contribute to locals who want to get more involved with this medium.