Black Market Art Company: Q & A
Inked Magazine sits down with Mark Malott, owner of Black Market Art Company, to talk about the clothing, the art and the artists behind the brand. Deciding to start Black Market Art in 2005 because he wanted to follow his passion, Malott thought it only natural to recruit the best of the best to be the artists behind the line. Seven years later, Malott is proud to call his artists family. Black Market is one of the few companies you will see including a hangtag on each piece of clothing with the artist’s name and contact information, making each piece truly unique.
Inked Magazine: When did you start Black Market Art and why?
Black Market Art Co.: I started Black Market Art in 2005 because I wanted to do something I was passionate about. We do not have any investors or corporate backing. I started the Company with money I had saved and borrowed.
Inked: Why the name “Black Market”?
Black Market Art: I chose the name Black Market Art because I felt that mainstream society did not feel that tattoos or tattoo art was really considered a legitimate art form. But I think that has changed a lot over the past 7 years and the artists and their art are starting to get the recognition they deserve.
Inked: Tell us a little about your products.
Black Market Art: We started out selling apparel, but after 2 years started selling art reproductions like canvas giclee’s paper prints and limited edition art on metal, wood, velvet and acrylic. Our goal is always to reproduce the artist’s art as close as possible to the original whether it is on canvas, metal or apparel. We do not sell any of our art or apparel to big chain stores, only to smaller privately owned retail stores and galleries around the world.
Inked: What about the artists behind the company?
Black Market Art: Between both Companies Black Market Art and Lowbrow Art we work with almost 200 different artists. We choose our artists completely based on their art. We have big name artists that are widely recognized and artists that you probably have never heard of. We really try to promote the artist themselves not just their art. You will not find us putting our logo on or over any of our artists art work on our apparel or art reproductions. We do put the artist name on all art reproductions, so they get recognition for their art. Also every garment we sell has a hangtag on it with the artists name and what ever contact information the artist wants. If you go to our websites you will see it is truly about the artists and their art and not the brands.
Inked: Your line is heavily inspired by tattoos and the artists behind them, are you Inked yourself?
Black Market Art: Yes. I got my first tattoo in 1985 when I was 18. Most of my tattoos are traditional Americana or Japanese styles. I have tattoos from Rick Walters, Grime, Jack Rudy, Sid Stankovits, Bill Canales, Chuey Quintanar, Mr. Lucky, Adam Barton, Ben Grillo, Jake Underwood, Bucky Crispin, Ben Grillo and a few others.
Inked: Are there any other endeavors your company has taken or is taking part in?
Black Market Art: Two years ago we partnered with the 2nd Floor and opened a restaurant, bar and art gallery on Main Street in down town Huntington Beach. The restaurant shows cases our canvas, metal, wood, velvet and acrylic art and customers can purchase the art right off the walls. Recently we provided all the art for the “Best Ink” TV Show.
Inked: With such an amazing array of art from various artists in your collection, you must have a lot of loyal customers. Any celebrities?
Black Market Art: Over the past 3 years we have been providing Slash with T-shirts. If you search Slash World Tour 2010 or 2011 you will find he is wearing our shirts in most of the clips. He has also worn our shirts on ABC and CNN Interviews and on the Comedy Central Charlie Sheen roast. We do not have a big marketing budget and have never paid Slash to wear the shirts. He just wears them because he loves the art.