Matt Barr, owner of MBD Tees, a Philadelphia-based screen printing and design company, created a t-shirt perfect for any passionate Lomographer. We talked to him about his creative process and why photography is a medium that everyone can incorporate into their lives.
What are some creative projects you are currently working on?
I am working on new animal prints as well as some custom work for customers in Philadelphia. I am constantly learning new tips from other professionals online to try and create new projects. I'd like to get more into gradient prints and create more shirts geared towards my interests as well (animals, photography, comics, and other graphic design).
How did you become interested in photography and how does shooting film assist your artistic process?
I have been interested in photography since the first time I saw my dad's video camera. After that, I wanted to own a camera and shoot. I was initially into solely digital until I got my first film camera. Now I have a small collection and am using film to capture some of the important moments between friends and family. I use ideas from photography when thinking about how a design is framed within the medium of the shirt and how it would be presented to an audience. When you create a shirt and put it out for people to see, it is like an image that is created on film — it's more tactile and real than a digital image which is why I enjoy it.
Even though photography isn't your primary medium, why is it important to you as an artist?
We live with images all around us and I use image gathering sites to cultivate ideas for my next designs. I am constantly inspired by looking through amazing images and work that other artists have done and seeing how different styles can interact or play off of my own work.
Your t-shirts have very playful and fun prints. What inspires the ideas behind your designs?
It is a mix between interests that I have in everyday life as well as pieces based on popular cultural touch points or just talking with friends. There have been a lot of designs that my friends and I have talked over and have made it onto a shirt. It's always fun to see how they react when their idea becomes this new piece.
What have you learned from owning a small creative business?
Since I started this originally as a hobby, I realized that to create these pieces shouldn't feel like work. When I get home from my day to day job, I am always looking forward to starting a new design or printing a new shirt. If it's not fun, there is no reason to do it and I don't see screen printing becoming boring anytime soon. There is always more to learn and I am always looking to grow.
Check out more of Matt's work with MBD Tees on Instagram.