About this thing...
A weird little punk rock monster clothing and art co. that also discusses alt culture, music, comics, lifestyle, superheroes, design, street art & cosplay.
What else, uh- pin up stuff, hot rod and rat rods, street art and guerrilla installations, dada mind-monkeywrenchery, chaos magic and altered states of consciousness, the mega creativity of the comic book and graphic novel industry, vintage art and art supplies, tiki kitsch, ceramic poodles, space age collectibles, 60s swinging' super spies, DIY entrepreneurism, futurist thought and exploring augmented realities- all that stuff in an emerging / underground pop culture digital burrito.
I design. Can't help it.
My name is Rex Edhlund. I have been fascinated with subcultures, underground art, and whatever might be lurking down those long, dark alleys of adventure, for as long as I can remember. I started working in the "alternative art" field way back in my teens when I connected with a similar monster, and helped him get Black Market Magazine going. I even did the first issue's art and cover.
Spray paint, pen, paste-up on plain paper. It actually still looks kind of cool.
I then did this SUPER odd (ahead of it's time) shop in North Park- a sketchy/now trendy part of San Diego. It carried tons of underground comics, alternative art books, a bunch of offbeat clothing lines, plus it was the first to carry graffiti art supplies like spray tips, graff zines and street art t-shirts. I had my art studio and a screenprinting shop in the back, lived there for a while too. Crazy punk rock days. DIY as a way of life. More about that in later posts
THEN I got to help launch a magazine to the WORLD!! Sin Magazine, a local zine that I was a supporter and contributor to- got picked up by LFP Distribution (Larry Flynt) to be placed in newsstands all over the planet. So we all gathered our wagons and conglomerated into a 10,000 sq. foot abandoned loft in an ignored part of San Diego.
It was simply called The Loft, as no suggested names could pin down it's bizarre structure. We had a video area, a music studio, a yoga studio, loads of parties- and all scrabbled together with nothing but sweat and hustle. Yeah, more on that later too.
The mag? SO ahead of it's time, and really the first to truly celebrate and promote comic books as "COOL".
Yep, Frank Kozik and a tip of the hat to EC comics cover design. I art directed, Ed. in Chiefed, and managed the bizarro loft. SOOO busy. Then we changed the name to a randomly chosen mysterious name. Mostly because there were't really many mags out there to compare to, or didn't already have a copyright. SIN became Hypno Magazine.
It had a fantastic run and was basically a big Zine, the mission of the primary members was to find and share emerging culture, under-appreciated artists / performers, and focus on all the 90s weird cultural phenomena. We did some really good work and became a cult hit.
Buuuuuut, there was an investor brought in by my partner (that apparently had a ton of personal debt), the investor was horrible and really only wanted it as a place to put his mistress, so he did this bizarre and totally illegal takeover attempt. I just said screw it and called everyone involved over to discuss options. We agreed to forget it, not bother with lawyers and just relaunch. It was just too creepy.
BUT- there was one Judas, as there usually is, and he scuttled back and told the bad guy. Hunchy, you know who you are. He wanted to take over too. The desperate partner in debt fell for it too. So they knocked out a few incredibly sad issues of Hypno's corpse while the heart and soul of the magazine went on to publish KULTURE DELUXE. The ex-partner did send a letter apologizing, but the turncoat still needs to apologize to the dozens of people he betrayed. I'm pretty adaptive, but the clever, caring people tat suffered from his greedy sociopathic backstabbing deserve something. It was really disgusting. I guess they had to live in the "investors" garage while they scrambled. Good. Kulture Deluxe outlived them and kept 99% of the advertisers. Ha- dicks.
All the while, I kept designing and playing with art. I kept scouring sales and collecting art and oddities for no other reason than love. Even doing pop up booths at places like San Diego Comic Con. I got to be the first cat to present Shepard Fairey (Obey / Giant) to the world at large that was visiting Comic Con. Frank Kozik too. Oh, how I wish I had kept more of these prints. Yeah, that's Rob Zombie flipping off the camera.
Shepard Fairey, had been and is, a long time co-conspirator. This booth also held the fantastic print he did for the magazine. It was so rad to see it on his Hulu documentary.
Geez, getting kind of long here. <breath>
Then when the music industry died around 97', a ton of magazines died with it. I had also started D-Town, the Downtown San Diego Newspaper, I thought I could do both, but soooo many of our advertisers were gone and I was stunned to find that D-Town was such an overwhelmingly supported idea that I had to give it all of my attention. After that project was sold, I did a bunch of other small gigs, a bunch of misc. design jobs, and performed most of the design work for Comic-Con International. I was even the guy that digitized the eye logo. That was pretty fun.
Needing more stress I went on to opening up a cool (again ahead of its time) collaborative art, photo, fashion, design space called Industry Showroom. Then there were a million Comic-Con related antics. Then, by way of fate, peculiar incidence and the surfing of the chaos based reality waves we call LIFE, I ended up starting this little clothing line and it's design offshoots.
I kept busy with other projects while waiting for my incredible daughter (that is frequently pictured throughout) to graduate before I could shuffle off to LA where I am now. Popular Naughty was a creative outlet, I really only sold them at a couple events a year. Mostly just to hone things and really get a grasp on the proper concept. Comic Con was the big sales event. It always gets a load of fun attention. I also got to champion, host and work with brilliant minds like Comicbookgirl19 (shown hawking my t-shirt action), Threadless, and a ton of others. My DIY fam.
The point of this all isn't how cool I am (though when I look at it here, I do feel pretty legit. I'll go back to the creative-person-self-loathing tomorrow).
It's what we want you to truly know. This isn't just a grab at a target market by some manufacturer or soulless corporation, it's real. It's the authentic result of decades of fascination. It is simply a curated art style by a guy that likes to share it.
It's what we are going to create whether you buy them or not. They aren't for everyone. We don't WANT them to be for everyone. They are for us.
I look forward to a bigger community of "US".
The Guy Doing This- in Chief,
The story has SO MUCH more. Maybe I will get into detail at the main site.