We’re huge fans of any creatives making fun and unusual stuff for the craic. And that’s certainly the case with Nathan Foker – Dalston resident, bored of his day job as a freelance designer. Which can, of course, become super mundane. He started Weirdo a couple of years ago, fascinated by the process of making garms and pins and patches from his studio at Print Club.
We visited him at his studio to chat through his stuff – you can pick up some of his bits here.
Hey Nathan, how’s it going?
It’s been a busy few months for 2017, I recently quit my day job. Gonna buy an N64 and play Zelda, not sure what else. Exciting times being broke again…
Tell us about how Weirdo begun…
I got super bored with my desk job -9-5 graphic design, living for the weekends, house parties etc etc… so I joined a screenprinting studio & started to get back into personal uni-style projects.
I never started it with the intention of it becoming more then a weekend hobby… I originally started paper-printing at first, which soon turned into t-shirt printing. Bootlegging was huge (and still is to a certain degree), so I was pretty focused on that design wise. Simultaneously I begun developing the pin badges which seemed to catch on fast. I then started phasing out the bootlegging (I even got a cease and desist!). I always intended just to use my own designs then live off bootlegging.
You’re a freelance designer too – you mention Weirdo gives you a creative outlet. I think this’ll resonate with a lot of other designers! Tell us why you need this.
I would have gone nuts: I think everything I do with Weirdo is a fuck you to my industry of being told what to design, when, and being totally restricted. Being trend-led is boring and over saturated. I design graphics for mens wear clothing.
With Weirdo obviously no one can tell me what’s right or wrong. I can be as risqué as I want. Not having a brief is a luxury but also a discipline to be self motivated. I chop and change the same designs so many times, which is a down side to working alone. I’m indecisive and can get too bogged down on the attention to detail.
Printing the tee’s myself forces me to allocate time away from a desk/screen. I like the entire process of screen printing which is a therapeutic ritual which can’t be rushed.
What is it you love about pin badges?
Everyone loves an accessory, I think this is the golden age of pin badges, if such a thing exists – it’s here and now. Embroidered patches as accessories are really cool too but once its stitched, ironed or glued on – that’s it for life – Pin badges can be moved onto your next leather jacket, bag or whatever. People everywhere clocked onto pin production because it’s affordable so it blew up fast.
Again, there’s lots of bootleg stuff. Everyone has a Mac & the tools, but not many have the creative ability to bootleg in an original way i.e Ermsy, My Peanuts bootlegging wasn’t original at all!
What influences Weirdo aesthetically?
My cousin is 40 now, but in the 90’s he was a raver. His room was covered in the club flyers with super trippy imagery, which was mind blowing to a primary school kid. 90’s rave poster art; as crass and outsider as some of them were, were intensely detailed but they have a definite charm to them. And made a lasting impression on me!
Currently, though, I’m looking at old 80’s/90’s digital graphic books (on eBay!), Bauhaus designs, Fiorucci, old copies of I-D, my old comic collation, blotter paper acid art, old music fanzines – Sniffing Glue, 48 Thrills, the Pretty Ugly design book & Car boot tat. Gold.
What’s coming up for you and the brand?
Quitting my job – Which is huge – is allowing me to concentrate more on where I want the brand direction to go. I’ll still be freelancing & screen printing for other people, but to have even one day for the brand is amazing for me as it’s demanding more attention….
I also was involved in the 50/50 project for Everpress/ Trekstock this March, good vibes, great designers & a good evening. Completed my look book too for SS17, got a few colabs in the pipe line with two different London artists and yeah, hopefully continuing this momentum for the rest of the year. I don’t want to slow down.