Since starting MNKR in the Summer of '03 I've created quite a few designs. I think over 350 have actually been produced and hundreds more that never made the cut. Being the nostalgic person that I am I often find myself asking whether or not I should have kept a sample of each one. However, after going back and forth in my head I usually come back to the fact that I'm glad I don't have a million boxes of tees in storage. I find some solace that I have most of (unfortunately not all) the digital files and film positives for all the designs I've created. I figure someday if I want to I can always travel around the world dropping leaflets from a plane asking people to send back their old tees in return for a new one for the then newly erected MNKR Museum. Looking forward to that trip.
Graphic tees have been a part of my life forever. Yet, people find it odd that I'm not wearing one of my own creations at all times. Even though I love most all of the designs I've created over the years I usually find myself wearing either a plain black or white tee. Every once in a while however I get the urge to go digging for my favorite MNKR tee from that moment in time. Of the shirts that I've have taken to over the years, some have disappeared, some were sacrificed for test-printing purposes, some turn into rags, and a few, a select glorious few graduate to the stack in the back of the closet. I'd say I have around 40-45 in my little reserve.
Some of my personal MNKR collection from the last 6 or 7 years.
I had a lot of fun shooting these tees for this post and enjoyed getting to reflect on them as a larger body of work. Again, being a nostalgic person I started reminiscing about the ideas that led to the designs, the stories behind them, the adventures I was on while taking the photos, or what happened after the shirts were released. For example:
• The vintage cameras in "21 Color Cameras" and the vintage skateboards in "Skate or Die" are my sister Amy's and my own respectively. My parents have been collecting antique and vintage everything since they were in their 20's and they undoubtably passed that on to my two sisters and myself.
• "Er's Ati" (upper left) is a photo I took of the beautiful, but no more Faber's Fascination arcade sign at Coney Island.
• Even though I research all my upcoming designs to see if they're existing t-shirts, posters etc., these three designs, "The Future is Now, Do Something", "Wish You Were Here", and "NY Heart I" I've seen on t-shirts since their release. I find it interesting that this ever-evolving swirling creative pool that we pull from passes through many of us in the same way. Great minds think alike.
• "Carnivore Vs. Veggie" - My whole family is vegetarian or vegan except for me. I'm a hybrid of all three groups ... but a vegetarian at heart.
• "Smile" was a billboard I photographed while driving down Interstate 29 towards Fargo, North Dakota. I was literally behind the wheel at the time.
• "Jacked", the bike on cinder blocks design took all day to get just the right shot. I'd drive from spot to spot in Downtown LA setting up that scene, photographing it, then moving on and trying it again somewhere else until I was satisfied. The winning shot was here at 34.038239, -118.231589.
Starting MNKR way back then I used to fear that I'd run out of design ideas in the future, that fear has long since passed. MNKR grows and evolves as I do as a person and as we approach the 12 year marker I find that what I do has no limits and I love it more than ever.