Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hello Brute Interview

S-When and how did Hello, Brute start?

HB-Hello, Brute started around January of 2006. I had some downtime before moving to Australia for the first half of the year to go to school and I wanted to create some sort of identity for the design work that I’d been doing. I had been mostly been designing for t-shirt companies, but I had been collecting designer toys for awhile and was hoping to use this as an opportunity to expand and transition into similar fields. It really just started out as something to do for fun, but within a matter of months I was taking on more client work and contributing to exhibitions.

S-How long have you been working on plush toys?

HB-I actually learned how to sew this time last year (2006). I was interested in learning how to make clothes and toys, so one of my professors in Australia hooked me up with a friend of his that is a prominent fashion designer. She invited me into her studio in Perth and sat me in front of her (scary) industrial sewing machine and said, “Off ya go!” I guess it’s like when people throw their kids into the swimming pool to teach them how to swim. I’m grateful for it now, but I was really scared of breaking her nice machine or sewing off all my fingers!

S-There has definitely been an increase in men sewing and creating plush work. It makes me very happy! I was wondering if you ever get weird reactions from people about your crafty side?

HB-It makes me very happy too! Guys have very complex relationships with their masculinity (I’m guilty too) and have a tendency to shy away from things like sewing that could threaten it. My parents were definitely skeptical when I told them I bought a sewing machine, but like anyone else, they came around once they saw what I was doing with it. Sewing isn’t just for girls!

S-I always view plush as another way to get your art and name out there. How has it helped you in the art/toy movement?

HB-It’s been incredible! I think in the beginning, if I had my choice, I would have moved directly into rotocast vinyl toys, but didn’t have the money or know-how. Plush was a really affordable and speedy way of realizing my characters into 3D. I was able to do it on my own, and because materials can be really cheap, I could buy materials and have my work finished and online within a matter a days.

S-Networking seems to be a very important part of building your business yet it is also very time consuming. How do you balance the different aspects of building up your creative business?

HB-I’m still not very good at it yet! As of now, I’m running the whole show by myself (on top of finishing school) so I’ve had to be really choosy lately when it comes to taking on projects. The hardest thing is saying no! The next hardest is deciding how much time to put into projects for my own label versus projects for someone else’s label. I think a lot of times the networking is a byproduct of working on projects. I don’t even think of it as networking because these people (whether their clients or customers) end up becoming friends of mine, which I think is the most rewarding part.

S-When I first started Schmancy, I had a very hard time balancing my store work and my craft. I finally read an article in Bust about how to live a crafty lifestyle with a fulltime job. It was kind of the jumpstart I needed to start making things again. When making stuff is fun yet also might pay your bills, how do you keep the fun part of it still alive?

HB-Right now I’m finishing up my education, so I have the luxury of doing this part time. I take on only the projects that I think will be fun and help Hello, Brute grow. It takes balls to try and make a living off something like this. I don’t think many people do. I have hopes of doing it in the near future once Hello, Brute has had some time to mature because it is still a very young label with lots of wiggle room in terms of how it can develop. Right now it’s all fun!

S-Do you have any suggestions for aspiring plush creators?

HB-Don’t be scared! Sewing isn’t incredibly difficult, and it doesn’t make you less of a man. If you can’t afford a sewing machine, hand-stitch or glue and sell your toys until you can afford to buy one—they’re a good investment and they’re hard to break! Also, don’t be afraid to show your work to anyone that’s willing to look at it. Who knows, someone might fly you across the country to show in their gallery!

S-I love your art as well as your plush. Any plans for future shows we should know about?

HB-Thanks! As of now there are a few group shows coming up I’m contributing hand-painted pieces to. My first solo exhibition (at Rotofugi) just finished and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Now I’m really looking forward to being able to experiment and take on some different projects and different approaches. Exhibitions can take over your life, but they are a blast! Hopefully before too long someone else will be crazy enough to let me take over their space for awhile.

S-Any exciting news for Hello, Brute you would like to share with us?

HB-Sure! I’m working on developing both plush and clothing lines for this summer with lots of bits in between. There are also a few other top secret projects with other clients in the works as well, and I’m working as hard as ever. Just keep your eyes peeled ‘cos anything can happen! Wish me luck!

To see more about Hello Brute visit Here

1 comment:

Rycrafty said...

Great interview, but I was just wondering... what issue of Bust has that article you mention?