Bruno Martinez the Graphic Designer & Art Director Behind The Brand.
Can you tell us how your early life really influenced your love for Design?
I’m originally from Barcelona, Spain. As a kid I was always into art, I’d always be the kid who was mulling over every underground magazine, knowing all the artist in the different modalities. As I got older, I got super into surfing and skating – That was around the same time I started making my own designs in class. I then got a really big obsession with outerwear, I don’t know why I just loved it. All the types of fabrics and everything else that goes into making a garment I just loved. That’s when I combined my love for sports and lifestyle products in particular.
Can you give us a rundown of what your role as Chief Graphic Designer at Match Boys Collective entails and what aspects make it so special?
My role is 100% focused on creative inspiration and creative creation for the company. I am incredibly passionate and protective of the brand, so it’s a huge honor and also a huge responsibility for me to be able to guide where we are going. I try to follow my vision, and I have a team that really understands me which really helps to work on the different projects. We never stand still, we are always trying to evolve, innovate and keep the brand growing in the best way possible. I try to approve every piece of creative that goes out the door, whether it’s product design or marketing collateral, to ensure MBC vision really permeates through everything we do. At the end of the day, we are in the business of fun, so we really try to remind people of that. We really want to be able to make people think and care about art, and that’s really the heart and soul of what I try to do. I also spearhead the collaboration stuff we do, which is an ongoing and exciting part of my role. It’s super inspiring to travel the world and meet up with incredibly creative people or brands to collaborate on collective projects.
How many things have you started that we’ve never seen?
I don’t know. An obscene amount, but I have good friends that don’t let them get that far. The beauty for me is that I’ve had the most amazing friends and any time I’m doing something it’s usually with these super talented people that make it happen.
Did you realize how much of the business guy you were? What do you actually do?
We are a really small but extraordinary team, we do everything, which is pretty gnarly. Pretty much all day I’m working on that, which is good because it’s getting busier and busier. From design to marketing to creating the website, managing the online stores and then all the wholesale accounts and international distributors and then this year I started my own distribution company so that I could take the brand over to the States. It’s been a wild crash course in business, three years of learning and there’s still a lot I don’t understand.
In your mind, what have Match Boys Collective to present ahead of other brands on the market?
We don’t really look at what other people are doing either, we do our own thing. We’re a business, and yes, we need to make money, but we also want to do what’s right for us. We do all we can to protect and grow the industry in general. It’s all about authenticity and love for the industry.
Can you describe your workplace?
Well, I don’t really notice it as much as others as I’m so used to it, I guess you could say it’s pretty casual. We have a work hard, play hard atmosphere. My actual office is surrounded by all things that inspire me. Pulses of inspiration truly do come from everywhere, and every day these things help me move forward with creation.
Do you prefer the creative process or the business side of Match Boys Collective?
I love the business side, but I really love the creative side. That’s more me, making the creative happen. My partners are more the business side, which is awesome that they allow me to make this company what I want it to be. There’s a lot of creative people here, and it’s funny as hell to make some crazy shit.
Your work for MBC straddles the line between nostalgic 35mm aesthetics and powerful designs as the immediacy of digital culture. When you started shooting these photos and creating those designs were you ever conscious of a conceptual or philosophical idea driving it, or did you just really love doing it?
With graphic design, and specifically my early art pieces, I’ve always had some conceptual ideas behind them, but I also enjoyed the process of mixing classic art with the modern culture. I took a lot of influence from my studies in Fine Art and all the classic artists, and their idea that you can create an overview of a given experience, giving the viewer all the tools to create their own connection with it and complete the work themselves if they want to.
For those who don’t know, what was your role in the Vanguards and Visionaries campaign?
I am the Art Director and Lead Graphic Designer. My role in this campaign was to partner with a creative team that could follow my vision and bringing it to life. I choose to work very closely with all of our team members and am very hands-on in the whole creative process. I attended the shoot which went for a week across Los Angeles and helped to style/dress each of the guys with product from our new menswear fit portfolio.
The post-production edit phase is equally as important as capturing the content and always involves a lot of back and forth with the editor to get the final cut right. There are always a lot of people involved in the creative process and it’s a real team effort.
It was a fun week working with a great crew. Long days/nights – but the end results speak for themselves and we are all super proud of this body of work.
When you decided to be an artist, how did you come to the conclusion that you would be a multimedia artist dabbling in everything, as opposed to a Graphic Designer, or a sculptor?
I think that’s something that’s a mix of a gut impulse that later took on a more conceptual approach. Being an artist is a way of being in the world. It’s very much the way I see and connect things, and make sense of the world and myself.
When did you first become aware of the power of style and fashion to define one’s self?
I didn’t understand style or fashion at all. I still don’t really think I do. I can see it in other people. I guess I am maybe a little bit similar in the sense that I like to follow my gut instincts, and sometimes they can’t be justified in normal ways or by professional norms. It means that I can work with people who come from all sorts of different perspectives and try to bring them together or do things with them that aren’t confined to their disciplines either. It can be a very brave and freeing thing to do – to de-shackle yourself from the confines of a discipline. There are so many historical examples of creatives who did everything, and they always worked together with other creatives, and they all experimented. I feel that, in a way, art and creative historians have been writing those details out of history a little bit. I think experimentation and working together has always been a big part of creating a great thing.
Do you ever take a vacation?
I’m excited to rest a little bit, actually. This year I’ve taken on a lot of projects within the realm of pop culture. A lot of “commercial jobs.” I don’t even want to call them jobs because I don’t view them like that – I never take a project just for money or because it’s work. I take them because they’re actual collaborations and I pour whatever I would pour into my personal work into them. But I also didn’t leave time to work on the projects that are just for me, that is for friends, that have no end goal or a set finished product… Just pure process. I feel like now I need to replenish my life and curiosity, to be able to bring something that is meaningful. I am excited to find a bit of a balance, be a sponge. Seeing other people’s artwork, having conversations with people, traveling, and also having a little bit of solitude.
It is so important and so easy to pass up. I moved to Los Angeles last year and I spent so much time in my own world, working on my own thing, doing projects that literally dream come true. But I spent 95% of my time doing that, and I spent 5% of my time actually engaging with the community. I look back at the year, and it’s cool that I did all this stuff. Likewise, the role of the graphic designer – which is to engage with the community around you and to be part of the conversation, and to push things forward.
After a few years of constant work and work-related travels, you took some time off. How was it? Did you figure out how to just vacation and do nothing?
I finally did it and it was amazing. I went on a trip with my girlfriend. It was really radical for me to have no schedule for a week – just driving, stopping wherever we wanted to take pictures or to get food. Sometimes it feels awesome to do just nothing in order to refill your brain with new ideas, something kind of hard for me because I am always in the middle of something.
Do you ever feel obligated to keep up with a certain tempo that you have put yourself in?
The thing is, I get to do what I love, and I mean truly love, as my job. So I just always have ideas. I’m always working on stuff. Everything I see or do or touch or any place I go inspires me and makes me think of projects, and I never want to deny those thoughts. But taking time to rest, to really compose your thoughts, concepts, execution is equally important. I also realized that part of my job is basically to bring my life and my experiences with people.