We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexander Southworth and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alexander, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The success of my brand is centered on creating intentional art in a mass produced world. All of the illustrations I produce for my printing have taken me on-average 50-75 hours to draw.

My work is very narrative and explores many common archetypes through images of nature. I think people connect with it because the images tell a story.

While I do have a webstore, I have focused more time on direct sales at events, shows, arts markets, etc. I think it helps to have the products in front of people in a physical space. Especially because about 75% of my sales are clothing items.

I keep costs lower by doing all of my own screen-making, printing, packaging, shipping and work at markets. Making everything myself takes more time but it signifigantly increases profits as I almost never have to outsource work to make my products.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Most streetwear/t-shirt brands feature clever images or iconic brand logos that may not have taken a long time to design. My brand is different because I take anywhere from 50-70+ hrs to illustrate my designs by hand. I then make my own screens and screen print the images myself. My aim is to create boutique-scale wearable art in the form of a t-shirt. T-shirts are a ubiquitous staple in the wardrobe of most Americans and I think it is important to make clothing that is unique, beautiful and that makes the wearer feel good. I think the time and intention I put into my illustrations and prints sets me apart from most t-shirt and streetwear brands.

I’m most proud of operating a successful, scalable art business without going the gallery-route. I love art galleries but have found them to be insular and at times hard for small artists to break into. There seems to be a level of (understandable) gatekeeping happening at many successful galleries. I am fortunate enough to live in Portland, OR – home to the largest continually operating outdoor arts market (The Portland Saturday Market). By selling my work at markets, festivals and events I get my products directly in-front of consumers. They are able to ask questions, feel the product, try on different sizes, etc. I think this has been critical to my success.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Favorite Spots in and around Portland:

1. Hà VL – Amazing, hole-in-the-wall, family-run, Vietnamese soup restaurant. They feature a rotating menu of two daily soups. They’ve also won James Beard awards!

2. Colombia River Gorge waterfall hikes – you can’t visit Portland without taking a short trip out to “The Gorge” to immerse yourself in some of the jaw-dropping beauty of our area. Multnomah Falls is the most famous but I recommend the Latourell Falls hike as well.

3. The Portland Saturday Market – I would be remiss as a PSM vendor to not mention the market. The United States’ longest continually operating arts market runs every Saturday from March through Christmas Eve. The market stipulates that every product a vendor sells has to be made by that vendor. There are over 200 vendors creating amazing products!

4. The Starday Tavern – My favorite dive bar in Portland, serving stiff drinks and good times in the Foster-Powell neighborhood of SE Portland.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A shout out to my close friends, especially Rufus S., Gaspar F., Sierra G. and Amanda B.!

I’ve been able to hire a close group of friends to help work my booth at large events. There is a ton of prep work that goes into these events and my close group of friends have made themselves available to help with inventory, tagging, retail sales, bookkeeping and logistics.

Like many creatives, I can get in over my head attempting to do every thing myself. Being able to hire trusted friends on the occasions that I do need extra help outside of the core creative work that I do.

Along with helping, these folks have always given me a lot of encouragement in my business and creative practice. They seem to believe in the products I make and enjoy helping me when needed.

I do pay my friends for their time, which I think is super important.

Website: www.jungtelly.com

Instagram: instagram.com/jungletelevision

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jungtelly

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