High concept, low art: The Foundry perfects the look.
The Foundry has a Nissan Xterra parked centimeters away from their front door. Neurotically, I picture the rampant fire hazards contingent upon a place known as “The Foundry.”
With no foreseeable alternate exits, I become aware that I am entering a potential deathtrap and prepare myself for factory worker immolation. Clearly, the Foundry workers operate outside the normal realms of human courage. Makes sense, they drive Xterras.
Companies such as Foundry are growing in popularity. Art-centric snowboard and skate shops contract out design and print work to fill their racks. Foundry obliges these companies’ demands with an amalgam of punk, skate and tattoo design with Northwest DIY emphasis, holding true to the impetus of thrasher counterculture.
The artwork is generally crafted by their talented resident artist, Brennan. However, The Foundry does link companies with complementing artists from their creative Rolodex. Armed with either in-house or outsourced designs, The Foundry prints onto tees, hats and beer coozies, whatever remains inanimate long enough.
Sometimes their requests lead them into more unexplored (and somewhat hilarious) terrain. After receiving an order for tie-dye shirts with an Oregon Duck color palette, they tie-dyed hundreds of shirts, bagged them up and took them to the local laundromat. Upon seeing Forrest holding a bag of freshly tie-dyed shirts, arms drenched in paint like some cartoon character serial killer, the owner protested, claiming potential damage to the washers/dryers. She finally relented after significant cajoling, but The Foundry’s nostalgia for all things tie-dye had waned.
“For now, I’m out of the tie-dye business,” says Forrest.
Forrest may have precluded any potential Hempfest contracts, but it’s of no concern. Business is thriving. Foundry is in the economy of designing cool, and they know cool like Calvin Klein knows the dimensions of Marky Mark nethers. While designers such as Michael Kors and Christian Dior satisfy those looking for avante garde or high fashion, Foundry deals in design for the common folk, what I refer to (starting now) as blue collar hip: Low-fashion (tees, hoodies) meets creative, inspiring design.
They make everything in the U.S. of America. With the exception of Forrest’s hairstyle.