So, I finally got to spill the beans on a secret I'd been keeping since freaking October: I got to collaborate with the freaking Matches on a super limited run of hand embroidered merchandise for their tour that starts tomorrow. If you asked me about this recently I'd probably say something like "I made some shirts for my friend's band" but guys, this project was so much more than that. This is a lifelong dream come true. No, this is probably better than any of my youthful aspirations (I was not a very aspirational youth).
I regularly find myself asking "how did i get here?" and I figured for my sake, and for anyone who might be interested or in need of some encouragement in their artistic journey (we'll get to that part later), I'm just gonna put it all down here. I'm not exactly sure where to start, but maybe now it's a good time to specify that The Matches aren't just a band, they're one of my favorites. Probably, my second favorite/most influential band of all time. I could probably write a whole other long sappy post listing all my special memories that involve the matches, or all the ways they've positively influenced me as an artist, writer, and person, but, now is not the time for that and frankly that doesn't seem like the kind of post anyone wants to read (nor one I'd really want to write).
So, how about we start with how Shawn and I became friends? I promised a while ago that I'd tell you this story. Sit tight and get ready for a lot of cringing on my behalf. Shawn and I first met in early 2008 when 18 year old me had the great idea of following my current favorite cute band boy down a dark alley to give him vegan cupcakes and a badly embroidered t-shirt. Teenage me had a lot of questionable ideas and THIS ISNT EVEN THE WORST ONE (this one is probably the worst). Shawn does not remember this. THANK YOU JESUS HE DOES NOT REMEMBER THIS. But for the sake of this blog post, remember the badly-embroidered t-shirt, that's important later.
As far as Shawn is concerned, we met in late 2014 before the last of the EVDKTL shows in a manner that was SOMEHOW EVEN MORE EMBARRASSING THAN THE FIRST TIME: I was pregnant and crying because a certain cousin who will remain nameless but is no longer allowed to buy concert tickets for us BOUGHT TICKETS TO THE WRONG SHOW AND WE COULDN'T GET IN. Shawn then proceeded to call their manager (henceforth referred to as Pablo for the sake of brevity) to get us the last two spots on their guest list. As this is happening, some sweet angel of a lady comes over to us and just gives two more tickets (which was perfect cause we needed four). Tbh at this point in my life I had been in a really dark and miserable place for a long time and wasn't used to people being genuinely nice to me, so, this had a pretty profound effect on me. I joked that if we had a boy we'd name him Pablo Harris Meyers. I wasn't really serious but we ended up naming him Benedict Harris Meyers, which didn't seem like a weird thing to do at the time because I thought this was the end of the story. Obviously it wasn't.
Much, much later I had finally gotten the itch to start making art again (fun face I went to art school and dropped out/quit making art when i was in my junior year). I had an idea for a tattoo but no tattoo money so I made my idea into a little embroidery hoop. It felt really good so I bought supplies to make more and made at least three of them before I decided it was cute and posted it on instagram. At this point Shawn and I had become like, internet friends (idk why, I'm like, the most boring person ever), and he said some nice things about my embroideries. Which was pretty surreal to me since he was a huge artistic influence for me before I quit making art, and as far as I was concerned, this was just a mediocre craft project.
In all honesty, I thought I'd make a few hoops and get bored and never do embroidery again, just like all my other dumb hobbies, and I definitely, 100% WAS NOT INTERESTED in selling them. but after so many years of being miserable and not making art, stitching through all my favorite songs was really cathartic and ideas kept coming and I kept making and posting the hoops. Apparently people liked them? Shawn made a couple of comments about selling them which made me uncomfortable so I was like "haaaaaa how about I just give you one". I was hoping if I ignored it it would go away. It didn't. Shawn started using my hoops to promote his podcast and publicly called me out in one episode to open up an Etsy shop. This made me very uncomfortable so I hastily put one together, in the hopes that that would be the end of that and should someone really want a hoop they could buy one I guess. I sent a few hoops off as gifts and kinda sat back waiting for this thing to blow over. Which, obviously, it didn't.
I wouldn't call what happened an "overnight success" but, I definitely wasn't loosing money. So I accepted that I'd accidentally become an artist and this is just my life now. Sure, I'm not super comfortable with it but something about life and comfort zones.
But back to the shirts. FINALLY WE CAN TALK ABOUT THE SHIRTS!!! Back in October of last year Shawn asked me if I'd be willing to do like a pop-up collection in 2018. Obviously I was all "heck yes" because 1. that thing about doing projects for friends, and 2. THIS MEANT THAT THE ABIH TOUR WAS ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY HAPPENING. I forget exactly what Shawn actually asked me to make but after thinking about The Matches' diy punk roots, how their current fanbase actually dresses, and how I could really make this project about me I decided I was gonna do 20 completely different vintage shirts and sweaters embroidered with my artwork. Shawn was surprisingly cool with this and I basically spent the next few months embroidering shirts in my practically nonexistent spare time and secretly dying inside that I wasn't allowed to talk about it because at this point the tour wasn't even announced yet.
BUT!!!! The tour starts tomorrow and this is all out in the open and if you're going to a show GET YAS A SHIRT CAUSE THIS AIN'T HAPPENING EVER AGAIN. I have no idea how this is all going down, that's out of my hands (literally, I dropped them off with Pablo yesterday) but, I mean, this is your warning to take whatever (legal?) means necessary to get yourself one of these babies. Theres only 20 of them and like, a lot more than 20 people going to these shows.
I'm not going to lie, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (ok really mainly just tears) went into this project and the imposter syndrome is REAL, guys. I almost quit SO MANY TIMES. I mean, I'm low key still waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out and say I'm being punked cause this just doesn't seem real (omg I just dated myself with a reference, didn't I?)
But before I leave here I just want to say a few things: 1. If you've got an idea or a creative itch to scratch, just do the thing. Best case scenario it opens up all kinds of new doors and totally changes your life fore the better, and worst case, at least you did the thing and you're happier than you'd be if you hadn't. 2. If you're a creative that's struggling with everything that you do not going the way that you want it to, just keep doing things until something works out. I'm sitting on over a decade of experience at failed creative ventures and only just now have something that's kinda working for me. and 3. If you're ever faced with a chance to do something nice for someone else, no matter how small it seems to you, do the thing, cause it might end up turning into a big life changing thing to that person.
And one more thing: thanks so, SO much to all the rad folks who have supported me through this crazy ride. You know who you are and I wouldn't be here without you. Also great job for making it all the way down here, I mean I almost didn't.