Art and fashion go together like peanut butter and jelly, and the team over at Mindzai Creative has been fusing the two together since the ‘90s. Whether it’s pop culture references, elaborate sketches by tattoo artists or an image that will compliment your favorite skate deck, the apparel designs at Mindzai Creative are sure to catch your eye.
Based in both Atlanta, Georgia and Austin, Texas, the team at Mindzai wanted to expand beyond being just your average clothing brand and decided to develop a full artist’s collective. Comprised of various tattoo artists, street artists, and designers, both local and renowned, the collective is rounded off with two on-rotation art galleries, one for each design hub, making Mindzai far more than just a brand with amazing designs. Instead, it’s a brand that is loyal and constantly contributing to the modern alternative art scene, making it one of our spunkiest brands over at INKEDSHOP.COM.
To learn more about this cool company, we caught up with the brand’s owner, Scott Weatherwax, and creative director, Vanessa Sais. Here’s what they had to say:
How did Mindzai Creative first get started?
Vanessa Sais: Mindzai evolved out of a small music production studio in the late ‘90s. The owner, Scott Weatherwax, was a producer and engineer in Atlanta and slowly grew from developing recording artists into designing logos and branding companies.
What inspired the overall brand aesthetic?
Scott Weatherwax: Our employees are a collective of artists with deep roots in the tattoo, street art, skateboarding and BMX cultures. You can see the influences in our line from the traditional imagery of tattoo artists to the bold iconic designs of our in-house artists.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Weatherwax: We get a lot of our inspiration from the irony of pop culture and political ignorance.
You have a huge artist roster of talented people who have worked on some of your designs. Who are some of your latest design collaborators?
Weatherwax: About eight years ago we started collaborating with tattooer Dave Kruseman, who pretty much put us on the map in the tattoo industry. The past couple of years we have been collaborating with Derek Noble on a regular basis. He is one of the most down to earth and humble tattooers we have ever worked with. In the future we hope to continue to work with world renowned artists as well as help put new talented artists on the map.
You've done work with a lot of people in the underground alternative scenes. Can you tell us about some of those collaborations?
Sais: Both our Atlanta and Austin studios produce monthly art shows, so we're always meeting local and regional artists with various backgrounds and influences. In December of 2014 we were able to travel to Miami to be a part of Art Basel and meet some amazing artists from all over the country. Recently we had the opportunity to show some of their work at our latest art show featuring Bonethrower, L'amour Supreme, Lauren YS, Zach Taylor, Michael Sieben and Sam Parker, all of who are widely known tattooers and street artists that we've been fans of for years.
What are some of your favorite design themes?
Sais: We love illustrating animals, need I say more?
What led you to want to keep all of your designs hand printed?
Sais: We have definitely used automatic presses in the past, as they especially come in handy when doing four to six color prints. However, most of our designs are hand printed in our Austin location. Our pressman is pretty OCD when it comes to the quality and accuracy of the prints, which can be a blessing and a curse. The owner and merchandise coordinator are always on hand to give their insight and approval as well. At the end of the day it gives us more quality control over the final product.
What are some of your favorite designs?
Sais: It's hard to choose! Our women's tanks always sell like hotcakes. They're extremely soft, comfy and versatile. One of our newer designs, "Tiger Dagger" by tattooer Montalvo, is one of my personal favorites. It's simple, bold and looks great no matter what it's printed on. Oh, and our sticker packs are pretty fucking awesome, too!
Do you have a favorite cut for your shirts?
Weatherwax: We just released men's fleece crew necks in two of our designs! They did extremely well at the Philly Tattoo Convention and have earned their place as a permanent product in our line.
You are known for releasing a bunch of limited edition lines and prints. What have been some of your favorites?
Sais: The Derek Noble print series has been amazing to carry over the years. Many are so controversial that we had to discretely hide them deep in the catacombs of our online store. About a year ago we did a collaboration with Pinups for Pitbulls, a non-profit organization who is helping to raise awareness to rally against Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and Breed Discriminatory Laws (BDL).
Apart from being just a clothing and print brand, you guys have two art galleries, one in Austin and one in Atlanta. What led you to open up these galleries?
Weatherwax: We do so much printing for artists all over the country that it just made sense to open art galleries. This way we can showcase the quality of our products and meet new and talented artists on a regular basis. The art shows are also a great way to give back to our fans with live screen-printing and free beer, because who the hell doesn't like a free shirt and a cold one?
What upcoming shows can we look forward to seeing at these galleries?
Weatherwax: The next show in Atlanta is on March 6th. "Push" features recycled skate decks by 12 local artists. "The Animal Series," a collection of woodcut illustrations by Pauly Cvikevich, is on March 13th at our Austin gallery. We're also extremely excited to work with Clamore Wolfmeyer, Chase Lisbon, Sam Guss and JL Joseph Beaulieu on "Cursed," a show featuring dark erotica photos shot on film. Imagine, if you will, The Blair Witch Project meets an American Apparel ad. Yep, you got it! The show will be held at our Austin gallery on April 3rd.
What's a great go-to for styling an outfit around a piece from Mindzai Creative?
Sais: Our clothing is made for everyday life. You can wear our tees and tanks just about anywhere and with just about anything. The women's tanks definitely look great with leggings!
Describe Mindzai Creative in one word:
Weatherwax: The shit! Oh, wait, that's two words. Oh, well…
For more incredible work from Mindzai Creative, check out the gallery below to see some of our favorite designs.