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- Graphic T-Shirts
Current occupation at Brooklyn Industries: Multimedia Designer
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Currently living in: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Favorite burger: Dumont Burger
Some people spend money on purses. Others fancy cars and Champagne. My big bling spend is Dumont’s $16 dollar burger. Might have to make a necklace out of one to wear around.
Currently Reading: The Power Broker, Robert Caro’s behemoth about Robert Moses.
On my iPod right now: Azealia Banks
Current obsession: Canon’s 40mm Pancake Lens
At a very affordable price, the image quality for this little portable guy is fantastic. I love how the fixed lens makes you move back and forth like a dancer to frame your picture, putting the photographer back into the picture making process. Most of these photos were taken with this lens.
Secret NYC spot: Cubana Social
Ok, it’s not soooo secret, but while everyone is wasting away their days in line for brunch at Egg or Five Leaves, this place always has a table open. Their cubana coffee with a copy of the Times also makes it my Favorite coffee spot.
Favorite BKI item: Oliver Twisted Trouser
It’s not coming out until next month, but I’m definitely gonna pick these bad boys up. Probably going to throw in that toggle coat in the bag too.
How I Live, Work, Create: Taking in Brooklyn
Nothing inspires me more than walking around Brooklyn. There’s such a wild mix of creative influences here, and I think that that’s what makes the work coming out of Brooklyn so strong. That and the incredible amount of openness and sharing that goes on within the community. Most of these pics were shot on a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood.
Fall has to be my favorite time of the year – the weather has cooled down and I can finally layer again! One of my favorite fall to winter staples is my wool pea coat – it is warm, can be worn with versatility and is always stylish. For fall I designed a fun new take on this classic style, but with a little tougher/cooler, sexy edge. I changed up the silhouette, cropping the body and added some motorcycle jacket inspired details. But by far my favorite feature on the jacket is the contrast shiny patent leather under collar. If you are feeling so bold, flip it up for a playful reveal or if you are inclined to be subtle just let it peek for a flirtier look. Other fine details include matte painted metal traditional anchor buttons and warm quilted interior lining with contrast pop stitching. -Aaron, Women’s Designer
Shop the Mod Pocket Hobo Bag
The best kind of bags are those that serve both form and function, and we always do our best to incorporate those elements into the design. The peek-a-boo pocket allows for a pop of color while serving as the perfect place for keeping your phone or your ipod, while the larger compartment allows for easy access to larger items, which makes for a bag that not only stands out, but one that is easy to carry all day every day. -Nancy, Bags Designer
We’ve been on a sugar high all week because of our new Made in Brooklyn iPad clutches in 5 different colors.
And yes, we ate all the candy after the shoot.
Last Thursday, Brooklyn Industries T-shirt enthusiasts met up at our DUMBO store to fete the new winners of our 2012 T-shirt Design Contest. Though the winners T-shirts were already prominently displayed in the store, the crowd still anxiously waited for the announcement of the winners by downing Sixpoints and kim chi ribeye tacos from Korilla BBQ. Congrats to Simon Winheld (who had never had a party thrown for him before) for taking home first place with his beautifully detailed Rooster Tower design, and runners up Nik Neves’ Geo Bikes and Rosario Scimeca’s BK Boxer.
For this print, I was inspired by Morse code, and started out with the dots and dashes of the word Brooklyn:
-… .-. — — -.- .-.. -.– -.
Once I began layering, splicing and reshuffling them, the shape intersections and overlapping made it even more visually interesting. The simplicity of the graphic elements lent themselves to our classic hoodie body in a simple, sophisticated colorway. Made from 100% cotton, The Optical Printed Hoodie will only get more comfy as you wear it. -Meagan, Graphic Designer
Live, Work, Create is the motto we live by here at BKI. Live and work are not too difficult to manage for most of us. Create, however – no so much. The widely accepted notion is the myth of the artist as genius which is usually just some construct we create to excuse ourselves from pursuing creativity in our lives. Author Johah Lehrer argues that for many of the great artists and innovators we know, it’s more about the right habits, determination, frame of mind, and sometimes, geography. And in a few cases, it’s about the right pharmaceutical.
In Imagine, Lehrer examines how some companies like Pixar, 3M, and Google create and innovate at far greater clips than others. For 3M, it’s all about the 15% Rule, where 15% of designers and engineers workdays are spent in pursuit of new ideas. While most companies insist that employees need to be managed, 3M not only gives their employees incredible time freedom, but encourage their designers to spend at least 15% of the day doing whatever – ping pong, long walks through the forest, whatever. When our minds are at ease and unstressed, we’re more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inwards towards the stream of remote associations that emanate from the right hemisphere. It’s usually when we disassociate from the problem at hand that other possible alternatives to the problem present themselves. It’s no surprise Archimedes had his revelation in a bathtub – hot showers are when people most often have creative breakthroughs because they are relaxed. Lehrer also describes daydreaming (that thing we all do anyway) as a healthy way to distract ourselves from the problem at hand. Or, it can be as easy as putting the only bathroom in the building in the common area, as Pixar did, to encourage encounters between employees that often results in the sharing of ideas.
Lehrer also describes how the young tend to be more creative because they are often naive to rigid conventions, and usually tend to take more risks. That doesn’t necessarily mean that older people can’t be less creative – they just need to act younger by breaking out of routine, losing their inhibitions, challenging themselves by moving across different fields, and risking embarrassment.
And if all this doesn’t work – travel. Leaving everything behind and immersing yourself in unfamiliar environments tend to heighten the level of disassociation needed to distance yourself from a creative block. Bob Dylan left for the woods after one particularly stifling moment, and immediately wrote Like a Rolling Stone. On a budget? Do as David Byrne did, and ride your bike through New York City. That’s how he discovered the latin rhythms and the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti in various ethnic neighborhoods that he incorporated into his punk stylings. Live, Work, Create… sometimes just a bike ride away.
At 32 years old, Matthew Fairbank did not expect to be a boss. After working for a number of furniture design companies for six years, he had no capital, startup money, or game plan, just five pieces of furniture he had designed and constructed. Fairbank hauled those to the now defunct BKLYN DESIGNS show at St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO, where small, local craftsmen could get their work in front of an audience. At the show, Fairbank was able to land a client, which led to another, then another, spending each project commission on a new piece of machinery. “I was making no money, basically borrowing from Peter to pay Paul,” Fairbank reminisced. Eventually, Fairbank’s long hours, hard work, and scrappiness afforded him the ability move out of his shared Williamsburg studio (similar to 3rd Ward in Bushwick), and graduate to his own studio in Greenpoint just four months ago.
Inside the designer’s studio
“When I was working for design firms, I missed the touching, making, and working in the wood shop like I had been doing at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). To be honest, I don’t want all this responsibility, but I’m very grateful to have it. My friends think it’s cool to be your own boss, but there have been times where I’ve had to wait weeks to pay myself because I’ve had to pay vendors or my employees,” Fairbanks hard work and sacrifice has most recently led him to signing on to a showroom at the New York Design Center in Manhattan, where potential clients can touch, see, and examine the surfaces and tight gaps of his handmade, custom furniture rather than trying to scrutinize them online.
As for his creative process, Fairbank’s describes it as amalgam of influence and inspiration. “There are a lot of artists who are sure of what they do and make, but I feel like the vast majority of artists don’t really know what they want to say when they are in the process of making something. I try and have an idea of things that I like, like Mid-Century Modern, Art Deco, super minimalist sculpture and architecture, but how all that stuff filters through my hands – I don’t know how it’s going to come out. Or maybe it’s something that influences me that isn’t in my field. Maybe it’s a different art form. Maybe it’s a material – something in nature. I’m a big fan of untampered with materials, and I also really love contrasts – shiny things next to rough materials. I hate decoration, but I love finding an old historical detail and making that detail the main feature of the piece. For example, for the Moellar Table that I built, I used the distinct shape of the Queen Anne leg and exaggerated the silhouette of the shape, but everything else about the table is sparse – it’s just about the leg.
left: Matthew’s favorite – the joinery cutting machine, right: The Moeller Table
To see more of Matthew Fairbank’s work, visit his matthewfairbankdesign.com