We recently had the pleasure of working with Josh Scholl of Skim Milk | Whole. His t-shirt designs are a mash-up of fine art and Internet imagery. In this “A Dozen Answers” interview hear what Josh has to say about the t-shirt design hustle.
Why do you do what you do?
I have clothing brands. Skim Milk, which is my graphics brand and WHOLE which is my higher end patterns brand. I do what I do because it’s my outlet. I originally started the brand purely because I love t-shirts and there wasn’t anything available that I would actually wear out there. I had no intention of getting into this business, it was just born out of necessity. I made 5 designs and my friend who owned a shop asked if he could sell them and they kept selling out, so i just kept going and it’s snowballed from there.
Where do ideas come from?
My ideas come from all over. Definitely music and my affinity for bizarre and edgy art. Honestly, I strangely get ideas out of nowhere while driving in Los Angeles or when I go back to parent’s church back in St. Louis. I’ll zone out and have a bulletin full of design ideas. Some of my more edgier material too. Kinda weird, but I guess God has a sense of humor in that way.
What’s your average work day like?
Work, work work…. There is always work to be done in this business. Answer emails, ship out orders, Instagram, scheme new designs, scheme new ways to grow the brand, take care of what I should have gotten done the day before, etc…
What’s your favorite color combo?
Honestly, it changes depending on my mood. I love classic colors like black and white which are always staples. But right now, I’m really digging on cherry red and mustard together. I also like hunter orange and white.
DON’T just copy what someone else is doing. If it’s successful, you’ll know that you’re not a genius and if it fails, you’ll feel like a douche because weren’t being true to yourself. It’s good to know what’s trending and being cognizant of it, but add your personal flare or do something totally different. That way, despite how it performs you’ll be proud of your creation. This is also the only way that your work will be art. Otherwise your work can only be work. There are enough boring shirts out there. David Lynch once said that a true artist enjoys the process of creating, not merely the finished product. I couldn’t agree more with the process of making a t-shirt and what brings true joy in creating our wearable art form.
What’s your favorite place on the Internet?
Youtube. It’s the greatest website ever! The shit on there is amazing and in some cases the only place to find rare music.
What materials do you work with?
Cotton, cotton modal for t-shirts, sweaters, overalls, etc. I use all sorts of different fabrics for WHOLE. Wool, plastic, blends, suede, you name it…
Where do you hang out in Los Angeles?
I live and do most of my hanging in Highland Park. I spin records at Tenants of The Trees a couple times a month, so I’m there for that. I go wherever tho. I don’t snob (too hard).
What’s a mistake you’ve made?
In the beginning, I was stubborn and didn’t listen to some other wiser folks in the game. I was young, punk and dumb. I missed out on some opportunities. Also, early in the game, I wouldn’t order correctly. Not every design is going to be a hit and it sucks when you’ve made 150 of a design that only you, your friends and a few other random people are into. Produce conservatively depending on your numbers.
Where are you from and what did you take from there?
I’m from St. Louis, MO. One of the great things about STL is the people there. Friendly, kind and loyal. I take those 3 aspects with me to anywhere I live. Really sticks out here in LA.
What is love?
A sick band from the 60’s.
Where do you see yourself in 15 years?
Assistant manager at a Carls Jr.