Today we’d like to introduce you to Barkev Msrlyan.
Hi Barkev, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I absolutely love vintage signage and architecture. What started out as hobby, which was documenting historic buildings and signage, turned into a greater project and brand. Preservation and restoration of these beautiful works of art is important. I wanted to create something that would showcase my appreciation of vintage signs and get more people to notice and appreciate these signs too! I created the brand “Merch Motel”, in which I design and work on retro products inspired by vintage signage. Every year, more and more charming signs and buildings are removed or demolished, so I like to think of my work as a way to showcase and bring new attention to these signs and get more people to appreciate them as well!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I’ve met a lot of amazing people through my geeky journey of Merch Motel. I’ve gone to events, museums, conventions and road trips all because of my fascination of neon signs and mid-century architecture. Due to the pandemic, a lot of events, opportunities and projects I had planned to work on were canceled. I hope to continue to grow my brand, it’s small right now but I love what I do and learn so much through it.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Through Merch Motel, I design pins, stickers and graphics for apparel. I also make prints of my photographs of vintage signs and create one-of-a-kind handmade pieces. Outside of my brand, I work on designing toys. I’ve worked on accessories, figures, dolls and playsets for various companies and I love being able to create products filled with such imagination and fun.
What matters most to you? Why?
When referring to design, what matters most to me is the preservation, education and restoration of historic works of art. Vintage neon signs have a lot of love put into them. Each piece is handmade and adds so much charm into the area it’s installed. As these beautiful works of art continue to vanish, it’s important we try to preserve as much as we can.