Michael Boyer Interview
1.) How did you first learn screen-printing?
I learned screen-printing at overnight camp. I was 10 or 11 and it was the most basic kind of screen-printing. Screen-printing takes this photo-emulsion process …this very advanced, chemical, scientific process, but at camp…you just cut out a stencil with an x-acto knife. So that’s kinda how I learned it. You’d take your screen, you’d pay your two dollars for your shirt, and you’d make one t-shirt.
2.) Do you remember the first thing you made? And why did you like it?
Yes, I do. It was the Jamiroquai Buffalo Man. I liked screen-printing because I could show off what I was doing. With a t-shirt you’re constantly presenting what you’re making. That’s the difference between t-shirts and posters…you have to identify with a t-shirt cause it’s on you, with a poster it’s in your room.
3.) When did you start using this skill outside of camp?
I started doing it again in high school and I just came up with the idea of putting my friend Gil on a shirt. If there’s 20 people on the basketball team…Gil was the 20th man. He was our good friend, and whenever he got to play it was just the most exciting thing in the world. He was the underdog and we all wore his shirt to the basketball games…and he’d play, score a few points and we’d all freak out. After that I figured I’d keep going with it cause I got a good response, so I just kept playing around.
The Low Down, which was the STS9 forum, also got me really pumped on screen-printing. I’d start doing designs, with the same shitty cutouts, and started doing custom hoodies. After a while, there was a demand. After I graduated college I couldn’t find a job and didn’t know what to do with myself, so finally I said ‘fuck it, I’m going to screen-print.’
4.) How did you get into making wraps?
When I was a kid, I would always stare at the encyclopedia gemstone section, they are just so perfect, and almost magical….I just thought they were amazing. In 2006 I went to Sonic Bloom with my friend Kevin. He was wearing a crystal wrap, and I thought it was so fucking cool. After looking at it I thought that I could be really good at that.
When I got home, I did some research on it and Kevin took me to this gem shop in Evanston. There was this wire-wrapper there named Gonzo. He said, “This is what you need to use and this is how you start.” Then I went home and I tried it and it was horribly incredibly frustrating. I didn’t know what to think when I started, but I did know that I was going to be good at it and that I really liked doing it. When I started doing it, yes it was frustrating, but I could sit down for six hours and be frustrated. And I just kept at it.
5.) Ten years ago, what did you think you would be doing when you were 27?
I thought I would be doing something with architecture…I was really into drawing houses. I enjoyed putting things in order. When I was really little I had all these toy cars…I wouldn’t put them on the tracks or involve them in action, I would just line them up really nicely. It was all about 45-degree angles.
6.) Is there an artistic form or craft that you think you will eventually incorporate in your life? Even if it’s 30 years from now?
Yes, metal-smithing, which is kind of like welding, but on a small scale. So, the same with jewelry…it really is the prefect medium for me…because it is graphic design and putting things in order and this element of engineering, which I think is my strong suit with jewelry. You’re designing layers, just like illustrator, you’re designing layers of metal…you’re cutting it; you’re sticking stones in there. That’s the route I want to take…I just have to learn how to be bad again.
7.) Do you have to like a band or a musician to make a poster for them?
It certainly helps. The bands that I make posters for are the ones that I identify with. I could read their mission statement, understand it, feel it, and therefore translate it in my own way.
8.) Have you ever run into a person wearing one of your shirts or wraps? Or gone to a person’s house and seen one of your prints hanging on the wall?
Yes…it’s the greatest feeling ever. With shirts I usually ask the person where they got it. With wraps I get even more ecstatic…cause no one else has it. The coolest thing is seeing someone wearing a wrap who didn’t buy it…so someone gave it to that person as a gift. One of my favorite “Holy Shit, you’re wearing that” moments is when I saw the “Mike Side, Right Side” t-shirt in the same font and the same color .as my Page Side Rage Side shirt I was so flattered. I even called my mom!
10.) What are your goals for the next few years?
I would like to do an official print for STS9. Of course having a lifestyle brand would be super fun. Selling retail…super fun. I like retail cause you don’t have to really answer to anyone, at least at the level I’m at now. I would also like to collaborate more