Interview with Angelo Baque
Interview by Thomas Bradley
Produced by Liquidrice
Your iconography is a broad scope jam-packed with references to all sorts of cultural symbols. What is it about you that makes such seemingly disconnected substance come together in a cohesive line known as Absurd?
Well each graphic that I use somehow is a reflection of my upbringing…my life is what keeps the brand cohesive…absurd is a extension of my different moods and personalities…for those who know me , they know I’m funny, sarcastic, and full of useless knowledge…just another kid that grew up in NYC.
How big of a role does NYC play in Absurd’s personality as a brand?
Absurd is NYC, NYC is Absurd…you don’t necessarily have to be from NYC to get the brand though..what defines AbsurdIs a generation of fucking great art and great music…I was eight years old in 1988…from that point on I have never looked back…Video Music Box was my after school babysitter…Ralph Mcdaniels and the VidKid where the educators…Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Eric B. and Rakim where the guest speakers…what more could you ask for…graffiti on the trains was on it’s last legs but RIS crew was still doin it real big…I don’t expect everyone to understand me..but if you have respect and appreciation for that time frame you can relate to Absurd….
Most designers look to their youth for inspiration and in finding that inspiration influence a whole new generation of kids. When you put out the Jean-Michel x Warhol tee there might have been some kids who’ve never heard about either of those guys but now they’ve been “exposed” to your inspirations. What is it like to have such power as a creator?
Having influence is a heavy responsibility…because when you start a t-shirt line..the last thing on your mind is educating the youth…when I first put that design out…it was Fall ’02…That was 4 years ago…the game has changed since then and so have I…I wasn’t so conscious to the influence aspect as I am now…for instance I’ll reference my spring line to make an example of the message I’m trying to put out there… the killed for kicks tee is a message to all the kids out there that shit used to be real back in the day and this culture is to be respected…back then it was nothing to see a kid get slashed for his starter jacket and punched in the face for his jordans…you really had to be built like that or have the clout to be rocking expensive shit…I didn’t put the graphic out there just cause…there was a gun and jordans..it’s deeper that that..
What thoughts have you been having lately regarding the surplus of independt brands that are making their way onto the stage and how do you decide what product is good and what’s not so good?
The whole influx of all these brands is really hurtin the game..a lot of kids are putting stuff out there without really thinking about it…no originality..don’t get me wrong competition is good…. only when you competitor is as good as you if not better…it’s the same attitude as a graffiti writer, b-boy, dj…it’s what pushes you as a designer to… as my man Clark Kent would say “ Keep it Funky”…the positive side of this is that now it’s reaching a broader market…because all these brands are popping up not just from NYC and LA but new cities that were never really known for design or fashion…
With your experience as a buyer, store manager, and designer would you say it is important to think of your audience or your own personal tastes when creating a line?
You have to learn how to balance the two…there are things that I have purchased for NDG that are not necessarily my style but it’s moved and on the flipside there’s garments that I have bought that I thought were the shit and I couldn’t give it away at the end…You have to stay intuned or else your on the outs with your audience…
Summer ‘06, NYC is about to boil, what’s going to blow the lid off this scene in the coming months as far as the clothing game is considered?
Nothing…it’s going to take awhile before there’s change…
What is to be expected from Absurd in the near future?
Consistancy…keep putting out the best product that we can…