Industry Print Shop has established a reputation as one of the best printers in the South West. They're a one stop shop for apparel, flatstock printing, stickers, and enamel pins. We recently had a chance to talk with their Master Printer and our friend Brian Maclaskey. Brian's dedication to his craft is instantly apparent. Just scope out any of the thousands upon thousands of prints he's pulled at Industry. You can also see it in his own beautifully surreal, introspective yet lighthearted work. We appreciate Brian both as a local artist and our favorite local printer.
Tell us a little about Industry Print Shop.
Industry Print Shop was started about 10 years ago by Tony Diaz. He was looking to get some clothing made and was running up against steep production costs, when he thought about just investing the time to make everything himself. Around the same time, I was getting ready to leave the academic world of printmaking, and had been screen printing for years. I too was looking to start my own shop, which I did in Denton,Tx known as Squid Ink Kollective. Around 2009 I moved to Austin, and was looking for like minded individuals to combine costs, equipment and man power. Industry was just starting to get some deeper roots in the local printing community when I met Tony in 2010 and he hired me to be his main printer. I met Bart Kibbe and Randy Muniz there, and the four of us soon became a powerful constellation. We have been grinding since, and as Industry approaches it’s 10 year anniversary, the shop is doing incredible things in Austin. I have been able to lead us into developing a rich and technical flatstock department, and we have some great leaders doing amazing things in our apparel department. We have an incredible team these days! Outside of day to day commercial production, the four of us continue to make art and show together, with our ‘Up All Night’ approach, that has been strong since day one. We would get all of our daily work handled, and then spend the night making or own work and running the streets. It’s been amazing.
Truly it is one of great highs and lows. Every printer has to ‘pay their dues’ or in other words make every mistake you can make.
What compelled you to pull your first print? When did you decided that this would be something you'd pursue full time?
I have always been into drawing, and I first started printing in high school. I was in a few bands, and I would always design the flyers for our shows, producing and handing them out to potential attendees. I was learning to screen print from my high school art teacher in the Art Club after school, and I immediately saw the potential after my first print. My mom bought me a speedball kit and I started making shirts for our bands, I was pretty much hooked.
You've personally printed the majority of the posters in the series so far. That means you've gotten pretty intimate with the details, eccentricities, and care that exist in each print. Can you tell us which was your favorite to print and why?
There really is some incredible talent in the mix with this series. All of the prints have had unique challenges, each with their own difficulties. I think Dan McCarthy’s Zion prints are my favorite so far, I can just tell that everything was so flawlessly designed for print, and the colors are just glowing. I think the most difficult element so far has been interpreting all of the “secret codes” used to choose colors by the various designers. I am very adept at handling fast color matching and mixing, but I spend most of my time trying to get the colors dialed in just right. It has been a really beneficial challenge, however, and the results are incredible for sure. This series is overall really fun to make.
What do you love most about the National Parks?
The parks are important to me because they represent a moral obligation to protect our natural world. They expose so many people annually to amazing surroundings, that I think really connect us as a species and give us greater appreciation for life. They are also just beautiful and inexpensive places to hang out and have a nice time.
What's your all time favorite National Park? What do you dig most about it?
I’d have to say Redwood National Park has been my favorite so far. There is just something so grounding and at the same time magical about that whole part of the country. Just really feeling dwarfed by the natural world is a humbling feeling.
What was one of the most exciting projects you've printed at Industry in the last year?
Aside from this project, I’d have to say getting to know Travis Millard and Michael Sieben and producing and publishing so much of their recent collaborative work has been a really fun and exciting experience. Both of them are such inspirations for my own work and attitudes in the world of d.i.y. art production. Also our work with PLAYGE in Chicago at Rotofugi recently was a really rad challenge.
Your affection and appreciation for cats and pizza can't be touched. So why cats? Why Pizza? Does the rest of the shop share the same admiration?
Everyone asks this question, haha. I first started investigating the Cats and Pizza phenomenon several years back. I was already into cat illustrations, and I met Bob Motown out in L.A. and he was also doing some rad cat work. My buddy Randy and I were looking for a way to collaborate, and I was also reading a lot of art blogs. I noticed that in this new internet art viewership, an artist had about 10-30 seconds to catch someone’s attention as they were scrolling infinitely through people’s work. I had already explored the power of cats in art dating back before Egyptian work, they just have some crazy hold on human attention and always have. So I similarly had those thoughts about pizza, and I noticed that every time they were combined in a drawing, people were just immediately stopped in their tracks. That collision of two giant was just really fascinating to witness, and it was that attention grabber that one needed to get noticed in a stream of internet viewing. Shortly after, my fellow cat illustrator Randy and I decide we should start a Pizza Cat Crew, and Tony suggested the Supreme Pizza Cats. We added Bob Motown to the roster and the rest is pizza history. It is a fun side project we all work on together. We feed off of each other and just have fun making stupid cat pizza art.
What gets you most excited to come in to the shop 5-6 days a week?
Most of the time, it’s getting to go to a job that I helped create, where I get to see and work with my best friends. We are a family, and we have built this amazing shop together.
Industry's motto is "Blood, Sweat, and Mostly Tears". Can you elaborate on what that means to you (or the shop in general)?
The motto is just a reality for any screen printer. Ask any of them, and they will tell you (if they are producing their own work as well as others) that it is a labor of love. Truly it is one of great highs and lows. Every printer has to ‘pay their dues’ or in other words make every mistake you can make. This Industry is super frustrating at times, and a serious amount of hard work (that’s the blood and sweat). The tears for me are victory and defeat, a constant battle between the two is every single print job. There are a ton of people who start screen printing, and veterans know that most of them will quit as soon as the reality of the amount of work and failure materialize.
What's next for Industry? Any projects or road trips coming up that you're especially stoked on?
We are always grinding! We are excited about The Fifty-Nine Parks Project, and more Big Whoop with Travis Millard and Michael Sieben. We have some cool potential projects cooking with Ferg at PLAYGE, and some really cool published prints coming out of our in house publishing branch Industry Editions. We have a brand new Flatstock space, and some art shows starting to be booked in new parts of the country, and watch out for our street wear brand coming real soon!