Interview: Well Fed NYC
12oz is always looking for fresh new talent. That’s why we are so excited about Well Fed, a website -slash- platform for creative projects and apparel born and bred in NYC. Rooted in a Graffiti, Hardcore, and Skateboarding background, they’ve been producing some really fresh designs that caught our eye. I got the chance to sit down with Well Fed’s creator Jon D and ask him some advice on how to start from the ground up.
What is Well Fed? And how long have you been operating?
Well Fed is rooted as a photo blog but has grown into some frankenstein crux for visual projects and collaborations with like minds. I do a lot of my own personal design as well as branch out to similar brands and sometimes music artists to work together and reach various audiences. It’s also my placebo and keeps me sane. As of this month it will now be two years.
How did Well Fed get started?
In 2009 I moved to New York for a graphic design job and found myself endlessly raking the internet for photos, so I decided to compile them all in one spot. In the beginning, the blog was purely for personal use. I initially had no intentions for Well Fed to grow to what it is now, but once people started to take interest I focused on progressing it towards more.
What are some of your influences?
My biggest inspiration is New York City. There’s a pulse in this city like no other place I’ve ever been and that feeds heavily into my work. I’ve also surrounded myself with skateboarding, hardcore and graffiti culture since I was young so those things all subconsciously influence Well Fed a lot. I have to constantly be creating something new or I start feeling crazy so I’m always forcing myself to find new sources of inspiration. Random shit from my surroundings start ideas for me most of the time. Whether it be my bacon egg and cheese on a roll or the bum that’s shitting on my stoop; anything can spark an idea if you let it.
I would love to see bacon egg and cheese crew-neck, can you guys make that happen?
I like that. If I can make it look good in black and white you got it.
What was Atlanta like growing up? How has the South influenced you after moving to NYC?
I was a northern kid raised in the south. My family tree is rooted in New York but yes, I was born in Georgia. I’ve got a northern mentality but a love for sweet tea. Things move at a much slower pace down there. A New York lifestyle isn’t always a peaceful one so it’s good for me to be able to settle down to my southern habits sometimes and catch my breath when shit gets hectic up here.
What is the graffiti scene in Atlanta like?
Atlanta graffiti has seen better days. There’s been some bullshit in the past couple years that’s put things at a standstill. Between new jacks running rampant and blowing over graffiti history and the recent deployment of some paint sniffing pigs, writers in Atlanta are better off in hibernation right now. I’m sure it will bounce back once tax payers are tired of funding a graffiti cop’s wet dream. Aside from the current sad state, the city has a massive history book packed full of influential writers have made (and are still making) their name there.
How has graffiti influenced your designs?
In my past graffiti consumed most of my life. But the actual sport of it doesn’t really parallel with where I’m at right now. I can’t say that I ever make a conscious effort to relate my designs to the vandal buried in my head but I’m sure it indirectly effects me. I’ll never really lose that though. Once you’re swallowed by that lifestyle it never really leaves you alone.
You just released some clothing and opened an online store, what’s next for you? What would you like Well Fed to become?
A year ago I decided to make a few shirts for Well Fed’s one year birthday and now another year later the numbers have more than quadrupled. As long as people’s interest continues to grow I’m gonna keep trying to come up with cool new shit. I’m working on a (picture) book right now and planning a gallery opening and release for that sometime early next year. I’ll be traveling Europe through October/November and hope to spread more of the Well Fed mentality on that side of the globe too. There’s a few other things in motion right now too but we won’t ruin any surprises. It’s hard for me to say what I would like Well Fed to become because I’ve never really even tied it down to one specific thing. While apparel seems to be the main avenue right now, I would never want to limit it to that. I work one day at a time and I’m down for whatever comes this way. I think ultimately I would like it to be a self sustaining creative studio that works along side other brands/individuals while also producing it’s own original projects.
Who have you been collaborating with?
Exclusively apparel collabs so far. I’ve worked with bands like Foundation, Backtrack, Title Fight, and Trapped Under Ice. I released a tee with my West Coast friends at REVEN. Currently working with a record label and a few artist/illustrators on some projects to be released soon.
Whats the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since creating Well Fed?
Jon D: Hard work pays off. Always. If you can figure out what it is that makes you happy then fight for it. Doesn’t matter how small it is. People may try to push their opinions on you cause they think they know better but never hesitate to make your own mistakes and don’t let anyone fuck with your dreams.
Don’t forget to check out the Well Fed blog! Also, their online store just opened up, so make sure you stop by and check out their new designs!
Well Fed Website: http://well-fed.tumblr.com/
Online Store: http://staywellfed.bigcartel.com/
Photos: Rick Jacques