I first met Joe King and Jon Garcia a few years back at the Agenda Tradeshow. I want to say this was like 2010/11? I wasn’t really clued in on who they were or what they were trying to accomplish, but I immediately noticed the intricate designs within their graphic tees. After getting to know them a bit better I came to learn how much they’d actually achieved behind-the-scenes, quietly producing graphics for some of your favorite streetwear brands over the last few years. Although ROOK wasn’t a household name at the time, they were determined to finally create something they could call their own. Bumping into the guys at the last Agenda show in Long Beach, we were able to catch up a bit and the growth they’ve exhibited was impressive to see. Long were the days of those tiny, squared booths. They had a nicely built-out showcase that frankly, made me feel good to see.
I caught up with Joe at his studio in Long Beach to see what he was up to and had a little chat about his creative process when it comes to apparel.
The most impressive part of ROOK’s philosophy is that everything they produce has to be hand-drawn. Joe spends countless hours on some of these pieces and that doesn’t even guarantee that they’ll make the cut for final production.
ROOK implement tons of color, so Pantone books are a must.
These three things instantly brought me back to art school. For those who may be unfamiliar, my first love has always been design. I went to school for industrial design before realizing my ADD kept me from making straight lines in drafting class (a story for another day). Eventually I ended up going a different route with my career, but Staedtler mechanicals will forever haunt me until I design my first sneaker.
Pantone books. Essential.
Joe’s stuff always amazes me. Its up there with the best of them and his attention to detail and imagination is something to admire.