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Business Profile: Prints of Darkness

Underground News Friday, 07 October 2016 14:09
Business Profile: Prints of Darkness

Absolute Underground: Who are we talking to, and what are you most infamous for?

Ian Demian-Pérez: My name is Ian Demian-Pérez and I am known for bad puns, sarcasm delivered with a straight face, and the ability to overly lengthen an otherwise short explanation.

AU: Tell us about your business, Prints of Darkness. How did you start, where do you operate, and what are you all about? What range of services do you offer?

ID: I started the business in 2014 when the opportunity to share a shop with a friend and fellow printer came up. I had been printing for 10 years in bigger shops between Calgary and Vancouver, so the idea of scaling things down to a point where I could do the whole process by myself was very appealing. The business focuses mainly on printing merch (t-shirts, sweaters, koozies, patches, tote bags, etc…) for bands and artists, but I have a wide range of clients with all sorts of cool projects going on, so the fun comes in many forms.

AU: Are you yourself an artist? What draws you to the art of printing?

ID: I’m a musician. I play drums in a couple of bands (Hallux and Chaos Still), as well as an experimental electronic music solo project which never sees the light. I enjoy the dynamics of collaborating and playing live with a band, whereas my solo work is merely self-indulgent. What attracted me to printing is the connection between a band and a t-shirt. I’ve worn band shirts since I was a kid, so this line of work feels right being that music has always been a part of my life. I feel fortunate that the two things I invest all of my time on are so interconnected and parallel.


AU: Your customer base is largely composed of heavy music and counterculture clients, is that right? Why this specialization? What is it about this art that's so appealing?

ID: That is correct. I think the specialization happened naturally by already being part of a community of artists, musicians, tattoo artists, and entrepreneurs. My first few clients were all friends of mine, and from there the business grew through word of mouth, which I think contributes to the type of work I do keeping a certain tone. It’s great, actually, since I seldom print stuff that I find boring.

AU: You're celebrating two years in business this October with a huge party at The Astoria in Vancouver – tell us about the event! What's in store for attendees?

ID: I’m very excited about this one! The idea is to throw a party every year showcasing local bands I do work for, so it was quite hard to pick only four, as there is so much talent in this town. Between sets there will be some delightfully disturbing sideshow acts to keep things rolling, so the night will be full of heavy music and fun among good friends. This will take place October 7 at the Astoria, with Bushwhacker, Heron, Hashteroid, Koma, and performances by Casper Macabre and Bloody Betty.

AU: What have you learned from your two years in business? What's the secret to your success?

ID: I wish I knew the secret to success, but what I have learned is that working within a community is significantly more beneficial than merely focusing on personal gain. When you help people that are doing passionate and creative things it contributes to your growth as well, since the community thrives, and the bigger and stronger the community is, the more work there is to go around. It might mean smaller profits initially, but in the long run it develops stronger connections with the people that ultimately support your business and continue to spread the word.

AU: Do you have any favourite designs you've done recently?

ID: Hmm… That’s a tough one! Not sure I have a favourite, since I print for a lot of creative people with great ideas, but it’s always fun to print something done by a local designer for a local band. Those are the jobs that feel the most personal and enjoyable.

AU: What's the strangest piece of merch you've been asked to print? Anything you've been dying to make that no one has asked for yet?

ID: I think the weirdest thing I ever printed was a graphic of a fish on panties for a seafood restaurant when I worked in Calgary many moons ago. I hope they were aware of the implications… What I want to do more of are cab banners for bands. I did a few for mine and some friends’ bands and had a lot of fun printing them. I like how clean it looks, and the fact that it is significantly easier than hanging a big banner behind the stage.

AU: You have a reputation for endorsing a strong DIY ethic – why is this important to yourself and your business? Where do you think it fits in today's music industry as a whole?

ID: This philosophy is what has worked best for me, as it forces me to become responsible for my own happiness and wellbeing. I have nobody other than myself to blame if things don’t work out, so that puts a fire under my ass for sure. Approaching life with that mentality has been the only way to really get things going the way I need them to, since I found no satisfaction working towards someone else’s goals or visions before, professionally or creatively.

AU: Do you have any projects coming up that you're particularly excited for? Any long term goals for the company?

ID: Global domination, but if that doesn’t pan out, I hope to keep meeting new people through my work. Since this began I’ve been exposed to an amazing amount of cool pockets of people in this city, so I figure there is much to discover and get involved with. Aside from that, keep growing the business and getting better at what I do.

AU: How can potential clients reach you for more information or quotes? Do you have any points to consider for people considering printing merch with you?

ID: The best way to reach me is through my website www.printsofdarknesstshirts.com and from there I can put together a custom quote and get things started. The most important thing to keep in mind when wanting screenprinting work done is to have a high resolution graphic. I can help the client figure out every other detail in the order, but if the image is not good, the end result won’t be either.

AU: Any final words for our readers?

ID: Support your scene and go see a show. Buy work from an artist. Share ideas. Contribute.

The Prints of Darkness Two Year Anniversary show takes place tonight at The Astoria. More information here.


PHOTO CREDIT: Amanda Bullick

Last modified on Friday, 07 October 2016 14:17
Written by  Willow Gamberg

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