Pehota Origin Story
Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Behind the Scenes of Creating Pehota
I figured that the best way to start doing this whole blog thing would be to kinda talk about how Pehota started. While it started as a way for me to create my own t-shirts, Pehota quickly became my outlet for all things creative and art related.
How Pehota Came To Be
I was a sixteen-year-old high schooler that had just realized that I really liked to draw and was good at it. Up to this point, I had always liked drawing but it was something I wasn’t proud of and would usually be all shy about it. I guess that’s pretty normal high school behavior, reluctance to standing out or being a source of attention for something I hadn’t owned up to yet.
*The first Pehota t-shirt graphic.
Why Start A T-Shirt Brand?
I was drawn towards the idea of making t-shirts though because I loved graphic tees but hated paying for something that was predominantly a logo. I figured I could just draw my own shirts and that would be way cooler. I bought a little silkscreen kit and started learning how to print my drawings onto shirts. My friends Griffin and Ryan helped me try to figure it out on the first go, to no avail. It took a lot of youtube accompanied by countless trials and even more errors. Printing out of my parent’s garage came with all kinds of challenges such as controlling the lighting, making sure screens stayed clean, washing the emulsion out without flooding the place and so many other issues. It was such a pain in the ass but it was worth it.
Seeing my friends wear my art was a game-changer. I went from hiding something I was good at to putting it onto a canvas that people could wear and share with each other. At the same time, I was able to maintain anonymity. I wish I could say it didn’t go to my head a little bit, but I can’t. Some of my friends called it the “humble brag”, the instances that I would find opportunities to subtly plug the fact that “I made that,” into a conversation. I mean, who doesn’t like some recognition for something they’ve made but sometimes it just got annoying. Over time, I’ve learned to let my art speak for itself and that it doesn’t need a commentary but that definitely took some time to come to terms with. Leaving my parent’s house to go to college worried me. I might be unable to continue everything I’d worked on.
No garage = no silkscreen
Going off to college
But by this time, I had figured out all the quirks to successfully printing in the jankiest of conditions. All my garage learning had prepared me for the freshman dorms. I brought all my crap and thankfully, I had some pretty rad roommates that were happy to have shirts printed out of their bathroom.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of printing in the dorm because it was really a sight to see. I had trash bags tapes across the bathroom door, screens stacked in the shower, a printing press balanced on a table, held down by as many heavy things as I could find. Basically I just took my whole garage set up and took over our bathroom, throwing trash bags and towels wherever there was light.
This process of me moving places and dragging along my printing set up continued one last time into this crazy big house that my buddies and I got to live in for a year. Somehow I got my own room just for printing, serving as half surfboard room, half shirt printing room. This was where I realized that I couldn’t continue to print my own shirts, try to grow my reach, improve in my own art, keep up with classes and work a part-time job. It was so hard to balance everything and I felt myself burning out. I couldn’t keep up with it and so Pehota would always end up taking the back seat. I put so much pressure on myself to make Pehota into something that would sustain me because I was terrified of working a job I didn’t enjoy. All this self-inflicted pressure started to suck the fun out of it. My escape started to turn into a chore.
It was right around this time that I started working with Logan over at Pacific Paradise Apparel. He was starting his custom printing company and had invested in a DTG printer. It was the first I had heard of these revolutionary machines. With Pac Paradise, I was able to focus all my time and energy on the design and business aspect of Pehota while he fulfilled orders. My struggles of trying to keep track of orders, inventory and production were all over. I set up a website, learned how to use photoshop, got a chance to travel across the world, all while still being able to make shirts.
Now we’re pretty much all caught up.
I just graduated from San Diego State University with a business degree. At the moment, the job market looks pretty shitty and my future is as unpredictable as the year we live in. Pehota is getting more attention from me than it has gotten probably ever, but I am still just trying to have fun with it. I can only pray for it to become something sustainable but as of now, Pehota remains my way of sharing my art with friends, family and anyone else that appreciates my art. It is how I apply my newly acquired business knowledge, how I push myself to learn new skills, to take risks and to overcome the fear of failure.
At the end of the day, Pehota remains a passion project that hopefully one day, becomes something more.
Thank you for reading my first blog! Now go have an absolutely amazing day :)