10 September 2007

panda head interviews...

tina henry-barrus is tina seamonster: crafter, blogger, mom of two, and zombie-enthusiast (maybe not in that order) whose frighteningly adorable prints adorn everything from underpants and t-shirts to pins and holiday cards. keep an eye out for her at crafty bastards in october (and check out the crafty blog for her columns leading up to the big event), but you can get your seamonster fix any number of ways before then at i like seamonsters (her etsy shop), yeti loves seamonster (handmade quirk for your rad kids), and television zombies (her podcast). go forth!

how and when did you start crafting?
I have always made things: handbound zines, handpackaged records for my old micro-indie label. But I started what I do now about 4 years ago. I wasn't sure what the point was, I was just making these weird collages out of all of the tiny pieces of my life that I had saved for years and years. They lived in our spare bedroom, on the bed, for a while until the first Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair. That event just changed everything for me and I realized that people would actually buy what I was making. I also bought my Print Gocco to make shirts for that fair. The Gocco has become my tool of choice for creating things.
how would you describe your personal style? to what extent is it reflected in your designs?
My personal style is this weird mix of scary/cute. I would have to say that it is completely reflected in my designs. I spend more time dressing my twins than myself these days (there are two of them, after all). For them, I totally dig vintage sweaters and jackets over modern clothing. I love orange with any other color. I love not matching at all.
whats your favorite design so far - what have you made that you especially love?
I get tired of my designs really fast! I hate this. When I get tired of something, I stop making it, but then people keep asking me to make it and I get stressed out. The thing that I designed/made that I really love is the cover to my blog book. The book is called, "I Will Have an Army of Clones. We will be so Charming." I love the title of the book and the image so much. The title is a long story, but basically I wrote this on a skirt in 2003. In 2004, I got pregnant with identical twins. The line just became this weird thing for me, like I knew my future and that was so rad. The image on the book is a really close up picture that I took of 3 blue haired girls' heads. The heads are actually beads.
how does the design and execution process typically work for you?
First I live life. Then I blog about it. Then I search the blog for interesting stuff. Nearly all of my designs start this way. Sometimes I look at what other people are Googling to get to my website and take things from there. It is a weird process, but it works. It is like a past-self is sending a future-self clues to new designs. That sounds weird. I always start with words. I love words. I hate it when people think they are too cool to wear shirts with words on them, but lots of people are like this. So I have started to work with a graphic artist to bring my designs to life. ScottBMotorbike and I work really closely via email. He is the husband of a close friend, and now a close friend himself. I have to say that he mostly knew me through my blog when we started working together, so this makes sense. We totally click. I can say, "I need a panda hugging poop that looks like a Dairy Queen ice cream cone" and he totally gets it. This is rad and frees up my mind for other things. We have sort of created a little cast of characters who all sort of look alike and I dig that.
you use a gocco, yes?! do you LOVE IT?!
Wow. Yes. My Gocco is my dear friend. Since I live in an apartment in Adams Morgan with my husband and twin two year olds, I totally can't silkscreen for real - there is just not enough room. So, I gocco at my kitchen table. Sometimes I hate the limited print area, but I have been dealing with that by making shirts with 2-3 screens. I think if I got rich or something and had more space, I would still gocco.
who or what inspires you, style- and design-wise?
It is strange, I feel like my style has been the same since I was 5. I look back at pictures of myself at that age and I am totally still wearing the same kind of green Mary Janes. I think I am just this creature of habit. That said, I am inspired by the inside of fruit quite a lot. Like the inner workings of a cucumber, just lovely. I love color so much.
where do you like to shop, in and around DC? online?
I love thrift stores. I have always loved the Village Thrift Store in Laurel, Md. Since I was 16, it has been my favorite place for clothing. I love cheap and weird. I don't believe in paying more than $20 for a piece of clothing, except shoes. I love Mary Janes and have been known to go crazy at Comfort One in Dupont Circle. For everything else, Etsy.com.
what do you appreciate about being a designer in DC?
Hmm. I have always lived here, so I don't know anything else. I think I might fit in better in another city, maybe San Francisco or London, but whatever. The internet makes it so that I can show my work to the world.
what's your take on DC style, in general?
I think people who only wear black don't like themselves. DC is too grey and black. It is lame. I don't trust anyone who doesn't wear comfortable shoes or who dresses up on the weekends. Like you know, those "ladies" who are always wearing business attire. What is wrong with them? I guess I don't dig serious people with serious clothes and DC is very much that. I want people to start writing all over their suits and silk screening zombies on their ties. I mean, just because you have to dress nicely for work, doesn't mean you have to dress nicely for work. I worked in an office for years with a full head of blue or pink hair and people were totally nice to me. I say, do what you want!

interview: morgan. main photo of tina seamonster by graham meyer; all other pictures courtesy of tina henry-barrus!


Blogger LemonCadet said...

Great interview. The most time I've spent with Tina was while standing in the line for the bathroom at Art Star in Philly (what was that girl doing in there?!). But I'm so looking forward to getting to be right next to her at Crafty Bastards. She is rad.

12:38 PM  

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