A big influence for me while currently working on our Summer 2014 Collection has been Korean and Japanese music and music videos. I try to gather inspiration like a sponge and then pour it into the new designs (for example our Winter 2013 Collection which will be slowly released onto our website over the next few months was completely inspired by Johnny Cash, Listener, and Of Monsters and Men’s music). So here are some interesting videos that have been feeding my creativity.
Here is the most updated list of RIPed designs to date. For those of you that don’t know, Akumu Ink only produces small quantities of a design. As we pride ourselves on being creative and like to change it up as often as we can. When we feel a design has run its course, we stop producing it forever. You can click here to find a list of past RIPed designs. If you are looking for any of our RIPed items I would suggest googling ‘akumu ink (name of the shirt)’ you might get lucky and find one still available. All this to say, if you like current designs on our website hurry up and grab them because they can disappear at any time without warning.
Over the last six years of attending cons we’ve received all kinds of requests: I have been asked to sign our hang tags and tshirts, I have been asked to draw a quick sketch of our characters, we’ve had customers take photos with us, we’ve been hugged, Aldora and I have even both individually have been asked on separate occasions for our home phone numbers. There was even someone who bought six tshirts and wanted all of them signed. But I think this moment at the Edmonton Expo stood out, as I was taken aback by it.
These four teen girls showed up to our booth like a tornado of energy pointing and discussing amongst eachother all our tshirt designs. At first I was suspicious of their intentions, but then they joined us in on their conversation telling us they loved the characters. Once we explained to them that we created all the artwork they went into excitement overload! They picked up a few shirts, and buttons, and stickers, and then they proceeded to individually ask that I sign (from left to right) their notebook, sketchbook, program guide, and arm! A completely unexpected experience at what had been, up until then, a pretty quiet show.
I was watching a Korean horror movie last night called Killer Toon, about a horror comic that was coming to life (not the best description). And there was a part in the movie where the main character thought she was losing her mind, and her therapist told her she had “Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome” which is roughly explained as when the walls of your reality melt away and you can’t tell what’s real anymore. I thought this was so interesting as it’s something that I would think most artists experience, whether it’s a mild or extreme version of it.
The reason I thought of this is because people ask me all the time if these designs and characters are things I actually dream of. I usually respond with “no,” as I don’t know how else to explain it without sounding too much like an ‘artist.’ I don’t see our characters dancing around my dreams, but in my waking life I have an incessant need to create and expand the Akumu Ink world. I almost feel like an antenna tuning into a radio station, and although the message is super unclear, I try to make the most sense of what I heard.
Here are a bunch of photos of all you beautiful people wearing Akumu Ink to death! From North America, to Europe, to Asia, to Australia.
Spent the entire day yesterday sanding the 4 boards, painting them completely black, sketching out the designs, and painting on them to completion.
As mentioned in my last post: Used decks have been donated to www.skateboardsforhope.com in which they are passed on to artists to breathe new life into the boards. From there they will be distributed, to impoverished children in first nations or third world countries to give them the opportunity to learn a new skill which could possibly inspire them. Meanwhile it will build a sense of community with other children as they teach each other and learn how to skate better.
We have been approached by many charity organizations, and a lot of them require money. What we liked about this project was that we could devote a portion of our time to make a difference. The skateboards could have been given to the kids without being repainted but I think it’s a sweet touch to give the children something refurbished as opposed to just a used skateboard. I feel like it tells the kids receiving these boards that someone cares and spent time making this for them, even though I have no idea who they are.
I had fun and I look forward to seeing photo (which I’ll post, once I get them) of the kids receiving the boards and playing with them. Check out the Skateboards for Hope Facebook Page.
Here are the amazing entries for our latest photo contest. The quality was higher than we could have ever expected! Thanks to all those that have participated.
Happy Unbirthday! tshirt | @jacka_lope
Tokyo Nightmare tshirt | @returnofthedeadman
Queen of Hearts tshirt | @ms_ventress
Dia del Muerte scopp tee | @mermaidlungs
Tone Death tshirt | Cy Cox
Tone Death tank | Paulie Andrews
Here are some images of the Akumu Ink studio. One side of the room is where every tshirt design is created. The other side is where all canvases, skateboards, etc are painted. And in the closet of the same room is where we keep a sample of every shirt produced as a memory.