Today we’d like to introduce you to Lorenzo Diggins Jr.
Lorenzo, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Growing up in South Central LA, I was exposed to a lot of negativity at an early age; thankfully, I had a supportive family and mentors that encouraged me to channel and express myself creatively. Now at 30, it feels good to know that I haven’t looked back since and I can honestly say that I’ve been in pursuit (in some capacity) for almost 20 years.
My entry into expressing myself creatively was through drawing, then it was fashion design, then it was product design, and now I’m exploring them all at the same time. Currently I would consider myself a multidisciplinary artist who creates products, content, and experiences for a living. The common thread weaved throughout my work, is a deep value in fostering connection among people. Simply put, I love using my work as the tool to create community.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
On my journey I have overcome many obstacles from not having the “right” resources to not having the “right” team, to not knowing the “right” people – the way I have overcome all of those things is by not putting a lot of focus on that stuff! And really directing my attention to creating the best product with what I did have.
For example, in 2012 I did a kickstarter campaign to help launch a shirting collection for my then menswear company, The Essential Man. Long story short, I didn’t reach my fundraiser goal of $12k which means I didn’t receive any of the earnings; yes I was devastated and felt like quitting all together but after I got over that hump, I was still stuck with rolls of fabric that I had already invested in to get the shirting project started. Instead of getting rid of the fabric or complaining about not having the money to do the shirting project, I went back to the drawing board to see how I could make the most from what I had and my conclusion was to launch an accessory line. So in 2013, I officially launched my TEM. accessories line and that’s probably the best example of me turning a negative into a positive.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Colour Bloc Creativ/CBC press – what should we know?
Colour Bloc Creativ is a design studio and art book/zine publisher based out of South Central Los Angeles. Since there’s usually a lack of representation or familiarity – it’s made me more intentional with my work. For example, the lack of the black representation in the art book publishing space – inspired me to want to get into publishing to share/control my own narrative. One of my noteworthy projects is The Simple Things Project. When I launched this project in 2015, my only intention was to release one zine and on Christmas Day.
After receiving an abundance of support from volume 1, I was inspired to “keep this thing going” and ultimately I decided that I was going to release a minimum of four volumes (one per year). Now, three Christmas’ later, I just released my fourth and final zine from the series; I am pleased to say that this project will take on new heights as a publication and will launch summer of 2019.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
A characteristic/quality that I feel has been essential to my success is being able to focus on the solution and not the problem – also learning to make the most with what I have has been a major boost to my career trajectory.