Clashing Into 2020 - January 1st 2020
“2019 has been a weird one” is one of the main things that I’ve heard people say as the year (let alone the decade) comes to a close. For me, it has undoubtedly been that. I left home for the first time in 2018 to study graphic design at Falmouth University, then 2019 rolled around - faster than the massive concrete ball chasing after Indiana Jones - about halfway through the academic year.
2019 was the year BLINK. was born (for real anyway). I’d first had the idea of starting BLINK. In my years at college but never really did anything about it until now, as tacky as that sounds. I had no idea how to make a start on creating a business so I talked to people I knew that took business in college and obviously knew a hell of a lot more than me…It was a simple start like that.
The rest of my first year at university was pure stress in way more than one way so focusing on anything was difficult I chose to worry more about my education and try to start BLINK. later on. Later on, meaning the summer of 2019. I took to opening my tired student eyes to the world of business again. I got in touch with a clothing producer in London that didn’t end up working out, but due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback I was getting from people on the new brand I just kept pushing and looking forward - this was happening.
Everpress is now my secret weapon for starting my business, I was able to create the design myself, choose the exact shirt I wanted and they took care of the delivery. For mental health especially it was a godsend, as I was relatively street free on the whole process.
The design itself was a homage to the old Transformers cartoons that my brothers and I used to watch on a Saturday morning on CITV.
The films and the cartoon series were a huge part of my childhood (me being the comic book and film nerd that I am). I obsessed over the annuals that I’d get for Christmas or the Hasbro toys that I would never read the instructions for just so I could see if I could transform the complex pieces of plastic myself. Just fun more than anything else. The aesthetic that this design gives the logo really makes it feel vintage and retro which again fits the era of the Transformers cartoons perfectly.
Putting your own interests and memories into what you make is incredibly important to me, it just makes your art a bit more exciting and meaningful. It’s incredible seeing people wear a shirt that’s partly based on a childhood cartoon! So the “CLASH” t-shirt was released in November of 2019 as the first-ever BLINK. garment I was nervous but incredibly excited to see what was going to come.
I’ve only made a small start, but it’s what I now do with this brand to make that small start so valuable.
Keeping Busy - January 9th 2020
Today I wanted to talk about “keeping busy”.
A couple of days ago I came across a post on Facebook that said: “It sucks that you have to keep yourself busy to feel okay”. Although I just shared it on my Facebook feed like the mindless shit poster I am, the statement has actually been cycling around, and around in my brain ever since seeing it.
Now even if you know me or don’t, I’ve always found myself to be a massive overthinker which of course makes m prone to anxiety. I think about everything under the sun from thinking about my breathing to the meaning of life and my existence and wondering if we do live in a universe that is thrown around in marbles by aliens, just like in MIB. So often doing something that I enjoy will help me keep my mind off of thinking what else I could’ve said in year 8 to a kid at the skate park and focus on something that matters to me here and now.
I can easily sit on my ass for hours on end watching videos or episodes of programs if I enjoy them or know they benefit me. But sitting on my ass wondering what to do is when I start thinking. So to keep myself sane and calm I often make or draw something.
This Christmas break has been a lot of “keeping busy” for me. One piece I want to talk about is the custom jeans that I made just after Christmas. They contain monochrome paintings of anime, specifically from “One Punch Man” on the front with Saitama and Genos. And the back features a picture of a girl with a gun from an unknown source. The jeans were a way for me to sit by myself and not think about anything else for a while and have a bit of zen time which doesn’t often happen unless I’m gauging food down my throat during my lunchtimes at uni. But the truth is when I keep myself busy it’s because I want to, not because I have to.
My Mum told me a phrase not too long ago which said: “Some people work to live, but you live to work”. This ever-so-wise statement spoke to me as I want to do what I do, I don’t have to. I’m very glad that I have found what and somewhat have always known I’ve wanted to do and know what keeps me sane when “keeping busy”.
The jeans are just an example of what makes me happy and keep me busy so I don’t worry too much about the other things going on in my life that might be stressing me out or making me feel bad at the time. So keeping busy is very important for all of us, but even more important and more meaningful when we live for it and want to rather than have to.
I Felt Burned - February 5th 2020
Summer was always a difficult time for me whatever age I’ve been. It’s a six-week-long gap that only gets longer as you grow up and has to be filled off of your own back unless your parents can fork out a couple of grand to take you out of the country.
I’m the type of person who likes having things to do. I can’t sit still for too long and just watch TV or I feel like I should be doing something more productive with my life. So when a holiday comes around (like summer) I never know what to do with myself. The previous holiday was the most difficult for me so far. I had to go and talk to a councilor for about 8 weeks. - This isn’t something I shout about but for the sake of the story behind the shirt, I feel like I should explain. - She helped me a lot during my time of frustration and confusion as did my close friends and family.
Despite the help I got, there was something still burning inside my head that I couldn’t get out. Something that made me, a lot of the time feel numb. Things just weren’t seeming to do it for me anymore, I didn’t know why and it was frustrating me. I had to avoid drinking heavily or I’d get into a state. Because a copious amount of my life was taken up by my job as a barista I had to compress what I was feeling so much that it ignited a fire inside my head. My frustration grew over the holiday as I knew I had to work (which was keeping me busy) but after my long shift of serving middle-aged rich people coffee and telling people why our fish and chips cost £13, I was back to square one. What do I do? Ed’s at work. Gregs working. James is with his Mum. Shit.
This may sound like a real first-world problem but for anyone who struggles with anxiety or depression, being left alone with your own thoughts is not a very healthy thing to do. The fire inside your head seems to just burn brighter and brighter until all you can see are the flames. But knowing that I had people to talk to and people that were there for me helped suffocate my fire.
The shirt is to visually communicate what I feel at times when I’m feeling my worst. The fire was a figure for my stress and anxiety. I wanted to tell this story through the shirt so I could channel these feelings I can keep burning for a long time and hopefully put them out. This Is not a preach….Or I don’t think It is. It’s hopefully something that people can relate to and understand on a more personal level when they may too feel “BURNED”.
Inspiration - March 14th 2020
Inspiration has two main meanings:
1.) The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
2.) A sudden brilliant or timely idea.
I’m just writing this because I was inspired too. I’m pretty sure you’ve cooked something because someone else has or wore something because you were inspired by an artist or a celebrity. Or maybe you’ve started a YouTube channel because your favourite content creator has inspired you. My point is, most of the time you’ve done something because you’ve been inspired by someone or something. We’d get nowhere in this creative industry if we weren’t inspired, it’s what gives us our drive and gives us our sense of purpose.
I’m sure everyone has a least a small mental list of people or things who inspire them… Or at least I do. It’s never something that stays the same for more than I few months. I’m always finding new people on Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, and God forbid even a book! What’s stood out to me most over the past year or so in the book, “This is not a T-Shirt” a memoir by Bobby Kim or better known as Bobby Hundreds, the co-owner of The Hundreds. The book talks about his experience and life within the world of streetwear. It amazed me how Bobby was able to translate from an experience into a way of thinking. It showed me that even things that may come across as negative will become positive as everything that happens to you helps you learn and grow as a person. It comes across in the business considering its longevity in the streetwear world. If you are constantly taking experiences and learning from them, you’re always improving and changing, as will your practices and professions. Bobby’s inspired me to do the same.
But I’ve not just been obsessing over Bobby Hundreds and his book. I’ve also been inspired by things I’ve been seeing around me. The other day I saw a CO-OP bag in a tree and thought it looked cool, this then went into my process work for my latest university project. There’s a stack of bricks against a house on my road, almost every time I walk past it I take a photo of it and put it on my story. I’d dread to know what my followers think of me, I just think it looks cool. Sometimes that’s the only justification you need. Why’d you get that haircut? It looked cool. Why’d you buy that t-shirt? The graphic looked sick! Inspiration doesn’t always need a grand and elaborate reason to it. It’s simply something that caught your eye and got your thinking and your creativity flowing.
Inspiration is totally subjective. I can see something that I love and get my ideas going but someone else could look at the same thing and be blank, or maybe not even notice it. For example, I’d look at a perfect marble ledge in a park or a city square and think of 20+ tricks that I could try on that one obstacle. My brother Ed would think of 20 completely different tricks to do on the exact same ledge. A pedestrian might only see it as something to sit on for a good lunch spot. My point is, we all perceive things differently, but everyone will still be inspired in one way or another. We wouldn’t have progressed as a race if we weren’t inspired to do things differently or start a business or solve a problem.
As a practicing artist and designer, this whole concept is very important to me and vital to my future career. I can’t express enough how important I think inspiration is, where ever it comes from it’s always valid, at least to you.
LET IT FLOW - JULY 24TH 2020
So yes, we have another shirt available. Of course, this is something that companies have said copious times. So… What’s different? What’s new? Well, in the past we’ve created a design and with a meaning and an experience behind it. This product is what’s different.
Due to the recent situation of cover-19 and being stuck indoors we’ve all had a heck of a lot of time to “find things to do”. For me, this just doesn’t work. The idea of forcing myself to do something I love makes the whole thing feel like a chore. I want to take my time with my ideas and let them flow naturally. So, what’s the point of forcing yourself to do something that you love? There’s not, because you won’t enjoy it! No one needs to make Chris Cole skate, he’ll do it anyway. The man now makes money off of something that he loves and it happened naturally.
I was sat in my room and had an idea. Where did the idea come from? I don’t know. I just thought of it. The last time I checked there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve had many thoughts, ideas, and projects that I’ve spent months researching and developing. And then (much like this) I’ve had ideas that have simply appeared out of nowhere. This like anything else took some fine-tuning and playing with for a while but the thought process behind this design… Well, there isn’t one. I thought of it, I liked it, and I did it. Simple. But there is a lesson. Almost a moral of a story. The lesson is that there’s no point in forcing yourself to do something. Why have a bad memory of something that you should love to do? You want positivity to come from something you love, not negativity.
I’m not telling you to be a hippy and live in a teepee and go wherever the wind goes. If you want to do that naturally and it sounds good then go for it. I just think that sometimes doing something naturally will bring you a lot more joy than forcing yourself into something, whatever that may be.
So no, this design doesn’t have a direct meaning, but we love it. And that’s what matters, having that positivity and pride about something that you’ve created. Doesn’t matter what it is, love it, be proud of it, show it off, and shove it into people's faces. Because you did it naturally, you wanted to make it, and no one MADE YOU.