Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandon Redenius.
Brandon, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’m a Glendale-based graphic designer, illustrator, and founder of Black Mast. Black Mast is a merch company inspired by the glamorous and the gothic, mixed in with a little camp and drag. I grew up in a small town in Northern California, slowly making my way south over the past 15 years, having spent time in Chico (college), Sacramento, eight years in San Francisco, and now 2.5 years in the greater LA area with my boyfriend Michael (over five years together!). Because of a steady stream of creative ideas and my self-motivating DIY mindset, I founded Black Mast in 2013 with my friend Marie as an outlet for t-shirt designs and illustration work. It’s been a way for me to grow my freelance client base and connect with my own community (specifically the LGBTQ+, drag, artistic communies), in addition to the satisfaction of creating physical products and seeing people enjoy the end results. A self-taught illustrator and educated as a graphic designer. My portfolio consists of work ranging from large companies to independent artists and drag queens, such as Bianca Del Rio (season 6 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race)
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I’ve always had to have full-time jobs while running Black Mast, as it’s still a growing business. I’m a graphic designer in my day job, so skills developed for one tend to benefit the other. It’s definitely accounted for many late nights and worked weekends. But I still make time to enjoy my life. Work hard, play hard, amirite?
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Black Mast is a merch company inspired by the glamorous and the gothic, mixed in with a little camp and drag. Black Mast is my creative outlet. It allows me to develop skills like photography and learn about printing and social media while continuing to challenge my illustration and design abilities. I get to create things inspired by holidays (Halloween is my fave), drag queens, nightlife, or even tropical vacations I yearn for (especially during this pandemic!) We mostly do t-shirts but have expanded to skirts, dresses, enamel pins, masks and more. My friend Marie is my business partner and helps me with the business side of things while I develop designs. We are very lucky to receive help from my boyfriend Michael and friends at events. Our biggest event each year was RuPaul’s DragCon LA, and have previously done pop-up shops at Precinct DTLA and Fruitcake holiday bazaar. In the future, we hope to do the likes of Midsummer Scream or Monsterpalooza! I think we are most known for our “season” collections, featuring illustration pattern prints on a variety of clothing. Doom + Bloom is a spooky spring collection. Tropigoth is a dark floral summertime collection. Hallow Haunts is a spooky Halloween/fall collection. Snowgoth is a witchy winter collection.
We’re also known for our tribute to RuPaul’s Drag Race, a shirt that spells out Ru’s catchphrase “Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent”. It was fun seeing a lot of those shirts running around DragCon! I feel like I bring a unique perspective to clothing because I tend to mix dark subject matter with the bright and colorful. I basically touch all aspects of creative so what you see is my aesthetic perspective. I’m most proud of being able to keep this up and pursue my dream of working for myself. It’s a slow road and I feel like I’ll get there someday, but the journey has been lots of fun and provided some amazing opportunities. I’m proud of being able to promote my work while at the same time promoting my friends, who I tend to ask to model for me. Being a small business in a small community means you connect with other artists, designers, business owners, etc. Friends that I have model are business owners, drag queens, musicians, models, artists, actors, etc. I love supporting friends as much as I can and we usually have a ton of fun during the photoshoots. We look out for each other and recommend each other when the need arises. Word of mouth is a powerful thing!
What does success mean to you?
I define success in enjoying what I do. If I’m still enjoying what I’m doing with Black Mast after eight years, something is still going right. If I can make someone smile with my ideas or designs, it’s successful. If I can do that AND make a little money on the way? Well then, I’ve hit the jackpot!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.black-mast.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/black_mast/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlackMast/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlackMast
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCI0rdtCxcHZ40R-TJ7UN7w
All photos by me (Brandon Redenius) except for the photo of Amy in dress and yellow hair (Ash Danielsen)