Art World Expo Artist Spotlight: Simon Martin
by Alyssa Laube
Leaking awesome is a brand new t-shirt printing and design company stationed in Greater Toronto. The project, run by Simon Martin and his brother, had a humble beginning. It didn’t start out as a business venture, but rather a personal medium for self-expression. “To be honest, I just started making shirts for myself,” admitted Simon. “My desire wasn’t to make a business out of it, but people like my shirts, so I decided to sell them.” It seems to be simple as that. Simon received so many compliments on the shirts he designed and wore that he decided to share them with the world. Of course, the first step was to choose a name for the project.
“I went through many different names before coming to Leaking Awesome,” he explained. “One time, I made a Facebook status that read, “I’m leaking awesome,” to say that my awesomeness is just oozing out of me. When looking for names, I thought, “That’s kind of like my shirts.” So I settled on that name.”
Unfortunately, things got a little more complicated after that. Simon had the designs, the demand, the name and the end goal. The only thing he didn’t have was a way to efficiently produce the shirts. Because Leaking Awesome is still a relatively small company, it would be pointless to mass-produce hundreds of the same product. However, for t-shirt printing brands, that’s one of the only ways to do it. As a result of this system, Simon’s been left with a dilemma: deal with the unfitting circumstance of mass-production, or purchase his own machine? Thus, a Kickstarter was born.
“The Kickstarter is for a machine that allows me to create more custom(izable) designs, he said. “Currently, the custom shirts are poor quality, overpriced, and mass-produced. I would like to change that by purchasing a machine that allows them to be high quality, affordable,and personalized.”
To help raise money for this cause, Leaking Awesome will be selling the shirts they have made at Toronto’s Art World Expo. Their starter line-up, which will be released on November 7th, will be the Leaking Awesome’s first official designs. “I gathered from the reactions of those who have seen them that they were the right ones to start the brand with,” responded Simon, about how he chose the first designs. Fans can look forward to some of those posted on the web site, including the most popular twist on Nike’s iconic design, pictured below.
So Leaking Awesome is definitely on the right track; they just need a little bit of help to get to their destination. As it is, the company is just Simon and his brother. Although the company does have help from volunteers ranging from videographers to models, they participate out of their own good will. “People help because they like the clothes and believe in Leaking Awesome,” Simon added, and when it all comes down to it, that’s why he’s there, too.
“The goal with Leaking Awesome is to grow. If that means opening a store, awesome. But if it’s just giving a few people some cool t-shirts, I’m happy with that.”