Meet the Team: Dashiell
Written by Baylor Meche
We decided to show some love to the team who makes all the magic at Mindzai happen! Dashiell is our screen printing admin who handles all of the order requests that come in for his department. Every day, he helps countless customers put their original art and logos on merch, but today we sat down and interviewed him about his own art.
Q: If you had to describe yourself as any food or drink what would it be?
A: Hmm. I think I'd be gelato cause I'm always chill and everybody likes me. 😎
Q: Hahaha. That's fair. Let's say the planet explodes tomorrow and everyone dies. What is the last album you listen to?
A: Well, if everyone's gotta go... I think it'd have to be Spiderland by Slint. I think it's the perfect "End of the World" Album.
Q: On a less tragic note, how are you liking life in ATX? Are you from here?
A: I was originally born in Austin, but my family moved to Dallas when I was really young. So I've been coming here for my whole life. Eventually I moved to Kansas City for school, then came back to Dallas. I started visiting Austin again more frequently and thought "maybe the people down here would vibe with my art more." There's also just more stuff to do here.
Q: I can definitely see the vibe fitting your art more here. What kind of stuff do you like to do here in your spare time?
A: Being outside is great. I love to go to the river a lot. I wouldn't say I'm religious about going all the time, but it's a pretty fun option. I also recently started paddle boarding on the river too. It's a good way to de-stress.
Q: Nice. There are tons of chill outside activities here if you can beat the heat haha. So how long have you been screen printing, and what sparked your interest in it?
A: So I went into printmaking my sophomore year of college around 2013. One of the first classes I took in printmaking was silk screen, and I feel like I kinda had an instant connection with it. One of my professors was a real hard-ass. He gave us some of the toughest assignments I've ever had to encounter. One time he showed us a blurry picture of his favorite bird and told us we had two weeks to figure out how to print it in tritones of white without much instruction. Being able to overcome some of those challenges gave me some of the biggest feelings of accomplishment I'd felt thus far in my life. Plus screen printing seemed like the most viable way to print my artwork at the time.
Q: Yeah sometimes overcoming adversity like that really shows you what you're passionate about. It seems like you've been working with the craft for a while. Can you describe your current process for creating new art?
A: For me, there definitely has to be a vibe. The space has to be clean. If I'm at home, I need to make sure the dishes are done, I'll sweep, declutter, etc. before I even think about starting. It's all about creating a space I feel comfortable in. Next I'll light some incense and put on music. It varies depending on my mood, but I always choose something that's not too in the way or sleepy. Usually when I sit down, regardless of whether it's a freelance project or a personal design, I'll go for my sketchbook and draw for 20 minutes or so. It doesn't matter if it's good or bad, just putting pen to paper breaks the ice, and it puts me in the mood to say "let's create something."
Q: Ah. So you always start with pen and paper? What do you do to get that into a digital format for printing?
A: It depends on the design usually. If it's a drawing of mine, I'll scan it and bring it into Photoshop. Then, I'll edit it to look how I want and so that it's print ready. Sometimes I'll experiment with my drawings by collaging them with digital elements too.
Q: Nice. Getting your art scanned is essential for those little digital tweaks needed for a sick print. Is there a specific design in your archives that is your favorite?
A: Hmmm. I can definitely say the Honky Tonk Angels I recently did is one of my all-time favorites. I feel like that design was a game-changer for the way I approached marketing myself online. I had a big spur of interest in the design online, and it really made me feel like I can do this and start selling my designs. I was working at a coffee roastery at the time, not really doing much design work, when that design really put my art career back on track.
Q: Do you think that type of design is what you're going to continue with moving forward or are you working on any other styles?
A: I definitely am trying to experiment with new things, but that design really is my style. It has so much of me in it, it's one of my own drawings, and it's not some bootleg band shirt or something you see everywhere. It was something that came from my sketchbook that was rounded out to be something new for apparel and not just some drawing.
Q: Would you say that part is the most rewarding for you? Like in screen printing, making shirts, creating art, etc. what makes it all worthwhile for you?
A: To me, what makes it worthwhile is to create art that is affordable and available to a lot of people. One of the things I hate when going into an art gallery or something and seeing a painting for $25,000 or something that almost no one can afford. But, like a t-shirt that's $25... everyone can enjoy that. I'm really big on making my art available to everyone's hands and not just the hands of the rich.
Q: On the flip side of that coin, what is the most challenging aspect of screen printing?
A: Honestly, the blank page you start with. Sometimes I'll sit down and seeing nothing on the paper is really intimidating. Once you get the flow going, it starts to become less challenging.
Q: What advice would you have for someone looking to get into the craft of screen printing?
A: My advice would be to surround yourself with the people who are doing the things you want to do. Try to network at markets, apply for jobs or internships, and try to meet new people who are also interested in it. Even the beginner stuff gets your foot in the door.
Q: Do you have any places here in Austin you'd recommend going to for that experience.
A: I mean... Mindzai Creative, baby! Haha. I haven't lived here my whole life so I don't know of many places like I did in Kansas City. I work here and love it, but there are tons of shops in Austin. Raw Paw, Industry, Bearded Lady is great for poster printing. It's good to do your research and just put yourself out there wherever you can.
Q: Finally, where can we catch you in the near future with your shirt designs?
A: So my friend, Jacoby who works in the screen print department here and I are launching our own apparel line: Country Goth Goods. Right now we're doing monthly markets at the Quickie Pickie on Cesar Chavez. There's one happening this Friday. We're both working on getting into more art markets so stay tuned for updates there!
You can find more of Dashiell's art on instagram @onlineshoplifter We'll be posting more "Meet the Team" updates and other blog posts so subscribe to our newsletter to get the first look!