Friday, January 27, 2012

Feature Friday: Artisan Graphic Tees

Meet Andy Natusch, one of Charleston's newest entrepreneurs.  Having just recently opened his own retail store, Andy was nice enough to squeeze in a little time to talk to us about his work. 

AM:  Tell me a little about Artisan Tees.

Andy:  I created Artisan Tees because I got tired of looking at all the bad quality, mass produced t-shirts from department stores and retail chains. I thought I could do better, so I opened my own store - Artisan Tees - at 47 Spring St. There you can find quality, limited edition, artist-made t-shirts, local art and vintage jewelery.

AM:  How long have you been designing?  And has it always been for tees?

Andy:  I've been designing t-shirts for over a year, but I've been painting for several years. People don't have the disposable income they used to have and selling paintings became more of a challenge - so I started making t-shirts. People will spend $15 on a t-shirt rather than $200 on a painting because a shirt has a use and is not just a luxury item like a painting is. 

AM:  Are you printing the tees in house? Or designing them and outsourcing prints?

Andy:  I hand screen print all the t-shirts at my home studio. Screen printing uses a good amount of water; I've got hoses running in and out and tend to make a lot of noise in there. My neighbors probably think I'm making meth.

AM:  Your shirts are all over the place - some for humor, some political.  Where do your ideas come from?  What inspires you?

Andy:  This is a hard question for any artist to answer... My ideas for the most part just come to me randomly. I could be washing some dishes, or walking on the beach... They just pop in my head, and then I usually tell a few people about the idea and pay close attention to their reaction. It doesn't really matter what kind of reaction I get as long as I get a strong one. They can really hate it and because of that I'll go ahead and print the shirt. One of my first design ideas I had my girlfriend really hated, but I made it anyways and it's been one of my top sellers.

AM:  You recently made a huge leap and opened a store on Spring St. What prompted this move? How's it going?

Andy:  I've only been living in Charleston for few months and started selling shirts at as many events as I could find, including church craft fairs where I was the only person under 65 in the whole place. Imagine someone selling shirts with the statue of liberty holding a gun to a bunch of old ladies. They were actually rather good customers and I did pretty good at those events. I realized that if those nice old ladies were buying my shirts, it was time for me to start looking for a storefront. Soon afterward, I met someone at an event who happened to have the perfect spot on Spring St. for me to open a store. Since opening up in December, things have worked out better than expected. We have a lot of art from different artists around Charleston, vintage jewelry as well as the t-shirts. We will be having new art coming in every month to keep things fresh, as well as art opening events for all the artists who showcase their work at Artisan Tees.

AM:  What's in store for Artisan tees?

Andy:  I plan to keep making new designs as well as using designs created by other artists in Charleston. I want to work with as many artist as I can. It will keep my designs fresh and help support those starving artist out there. I know how they feel, I was one for a very long time. You can expect a lot of art related events at Artisan Tees in the future. 

If you're interested in checking out Artisan Tees, TONIGHT is the night to go.  You can check out the opening for:

The Works of Stephanie Patton and Alexandria Baker 

When: Fri., Jan. 27, 6-9 p.m.
Phone: (843) 406-7904
Price: Free 
 Besides the work of the featured local artists, the opening will include live music, caricature drawings, face painting, and refreshments.

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