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A Minimalist Take On Art That Will Rock Your World
Filipino Artist Profile: Charles Domingo and Paul Columna
Finding that sweet spot between minimalism and capturing someone’s attention through a design couldn’t be any harder. You have to balance those minimalist elements while captivating a person via an original piece of art at the same time. This is exactly what drives the partnership between Charles and Paul - the brains behind Rock-8 Clothing. Their combined vision has resulted to 8-Bit-inspired designs you’d be proud to wear all day. Discover more about how these two came up with Rock-8 Clothing and how they can inspire you in any way they can.
Can you tell us more about yourselves and how you started with Rock-8 Clothing?
Charles: I’m Charles from Baguio City. Rock-8 Clothing was actually a product of one of our business trips out of town. Basically, my role in Rock-8 is I do the marketing, take care of the logistics, and everything in between. Paul is the artist, between the two of us.
Paul: My name is Paul and I’m a freelance graphic artist/baker from Baguio City. Rock-8 Clothing was something we thought of while we’re in Manila. We decided that I can handle the creatives and Charles can deal with the business side of things. We decided, why not make shirts? I guess that’s just how it started.
What’s the reason behind Rock-8 Clothing and how did you come up with it?
Charles: Basically, our theme is mostly 8-Bit shirts. The name itself is a play of the word Rocket. Since we do 8-Bit shirts, we just added Rock and we came up with Rock-8 Clothing. That’s where it came from.
Can you describe the artistic style you guys use for your shirt designs?
Paul: The designs are heavily inspired by retro stuff, like 8-Bit, Gameboy, and other old video games. Lately, that kind of stuff is being brought back into what’s cool nowadays. We decided not to make something that’s too elaborate that’s hard to design. I decided to go for something that’s not too hard to look at when it comes to shirts. The designs are very simple and minimalist. There’s a certain degree of connection to Pop Culture, which is heavily inspired by the 80s, 90s, or Digital Revolution.
Charles: When you look around, it’s either you go vintage or you go with plain shirts. There isn’t really someone selling in between, like flashy vintage that’s simple. Usually, if it’s vintage, the print is loud and attention-catching. Our designs are minimalist, simple, and it still has that vintage feel. Basically, Paul and I agreed to design shirts we will wear.
Let’s talk about the struggles you usually encounter when it comes to marketing Rock-8 Clothing and creating designs for the brand.
Charles: Right now, because of the pandemic, our grand launch was postponed. We were supposed to do that middle of this year. Our resources went somewhere else. That’s our number one struggle. As of the moment, we can’t really break out of it yet because of Covid-19. We’re proud of our designs, we show them around but we also want to be sensitive to others. That’s why we haven’t really pushed through with the launch yet.
Paul: As an artist, at some point, you will experience art block. There will be days when you want to make a design but you don’t have the inspiration for it. Since the pandemic started, I tried getting my hands on different things, so I’m focused on that right now and I haven’t been making designs. That’s a struggle.
Charles: We’re also careful with the originality of our designs. I consider that both as a strength and a struggle. Sometimes, when people see our designs, they can’t relate right away. But they’re original. Once you wear our shirts, you’re confident that these are unique. We’re not stepping on other artists’ toes, which is something that’s really rampant right now.
On the topic of your strengths, what are the qualities you possess that you can consider as such?
Charles: In terms of marketing, I can say our experience in this field can be considered a strength. And because the designs are original, we can go full-out. Another strength is Paul and I, we really get together well. Paul is talented in understanding what I want and translating it into a design.
How do you guys handle criticism or negative feedback?
Paul: So far, we have no experience with unreasonable people who don’t have a sound basis when criticizing us.
Charles: If the feedback is constructive, we’ll take it well because there’s always room for growth.
Do you have any advice for talented individuals who want to learn what you do and create their own designs and merch?
Paul: One is to just start doing it. If you don’t start anything, nothing will happen. You just have to take that first step and work it from there. And if there’s something you don’t understand, design-wise, there will always be someone on Youtube who can teach you what you’re missing.
Charles: I was also gonna give the same answer - just start. To quote Shia Labeouf, just do it. The hardest step is the first step. Once you get through that, cast all your doubts out the window and just do it. Be open to criticism because that is what’s going to make you grow.
How did you discover Merchiful and why did you choose it as the platform for your designs?
Charles: I was looking around for suppliers at the time and we found Merchiful online. We want to Print On Demand. That’s the most accessible model that will help us stretch our capital. When we looked at Merchiful, and talked about what the system was, we liked it very much. I would recommend it to other people who are looking for a POD service.
What can Merchiful customers expect from you in the coming months ahead?
Charles: When Merchiful contacted me, I talked to Paul and told him this is the sign to go 100%. Definitely, look out for us in 2021. Hopefully, our grand launch will push through, aside from the shirts we have published right now. We’re going to be releasing some clothing lines. There would be themes for each line we come up with. Hopefully, it happens by the first or second quarter. Just watch out for us.
In one word, how would you describe Rock-8 Clothing?
Paul: Yeah, original.
If you’re in the mood for some 8-Bit awesomeness, head on over to Rock-8 Clothing’s Merchiful store. Check it out and you may take home incredible merch sooner than expected. You can also check out Charles and Paul’s work on social media.