Motobi Tees Launched!

If at first you don’t suc­ceed: ver­sion 1 of the Motobi Xmas Sale.

12th December, 2018: I stole time at my desk at Lema Concepts, with a dead­line press­ing, to build a page at mradot​.com/​m​otobi. That was ver­sion 3 of this web­site, a static build on the Bootstrap 3 framework.

Back then, I was clearly a writer with a design hobby: the top­fold alone was almost a hun­dred words.

The Motobi thread actu­ally takes us two years before that, to September 2016. Somehow my photo manip­u­la­tion exper­i­ment led me to draw some­thing that reeked of hal­lu­cino­gens. I showed it to my friend, Charles and Alfred, who clearly arrived at a sim­i­lar diag­no­sis. Somehow though, I felt good about it. It felt like I was finally Touching The Zeitgeist.

I’ve had a com­plex rela­tion­ship with this cul­ture. It started with a healthy dis­like which grew briefly into a knee-weak­en­ing terror. ‘Briefly’, because there was this lady who was a big part of my child­hood, and she bribed a motobi to put his demon mask head on me. After that, fear melted into iden­tity crisis: I have seen the enemy, and he is me.

I don’t even think I ever out­grew this unease, even as motobi cul­ture grew up as well, taking on sim­i­lar­i­ties to biker cul­ture. One troupe has graf­fiti on its home turf. There are many inci­dents of mem­bers intim­i­dat­ing dri­vers and pedes­tri­ans during their parades. On February 14, when I encoun­tered a small pro­ces­sion on my way home from work, the driver of my taxi told me not to eat the little choco­late bars they threw into the car. But I’d seen the candy thrower clearly, and it was a middle-aged teacher lady.

Carnival cul­ture is a thorny sub­ject, all around the world – and I don’t have much in common with it. I don’t even like the idea of ‘release valves’, because I believe in find­ing where the pres­sure is coming from. But I’ve worn the mask. I’ve breathed the fumes. These are my people.

Is that my con­clu­sion? No – but I started this post to shill my tshirts, for­get­ting that blog­ging has always my door­way to intro­spec­tion. Let’s move on.

Said David Maja: “Why does your pro­file pic look like a medieval knight and a fetish priest had a baby?”

I’ve had a Cotton Bureau account since December 2019, when I pub­lished Motobi #1 there. I seem to remem­ber seeing one sale, acknowl­edged by a very funny email from the Cotton Bureau team, explain­ing what I can do with the 3‑dollar profit. Not sure what hap­pened, but my records now say I’ve never made a sale. I didn’t bother too much about it, or the CB system; always intended to figure out pro­duc­tion, source tees from a local man­u­fac­turer, and do this thing for real. I did a heavy pitch with Key Textiles, leav­ing them 10 shirts I had taken along as samples.

I’ve sat with the tal­ented Herman Kudiabor of Brinnex, more times than I care to admit. I actu­ally paid money down once, for an order. Russia invaded Ukraine that after­noon, and since I had stopped jour­nal­ing before that, we prob­a­bly don’t want to open that can either…

I have researched dig­i­tal print­ing; I have schemed for a eco-friendly screen process. I have saved so many pro­duc­tion and admin­is­tra­tion tools (shout out to Solidus​.io). My col­league from Lema, look­ing over my shoul­der as I assem­bled Motobi 1.0, caught the bug and turned his own graphic tee obses­sion into a startup: Merchup​.studio. I designed a debut col­lec­tion for them, look­ing for­ward to good things there in future.

But the main thing remains AliZwell. When I decided that I had to incor­po­rate my design busi­ness, a pro­fes­sional, cor­po­rate-facing brand would have been the default choice. Instead I went with AliZwell, a joke I shared with Charles back in 2015. It’s clear that I really want to share the play­ful side that graphic tees bring out in me, even when it does­n’t pay. But if you will pay… that’s a dif­fer­ent story! I have so many tee designs stocked up, it’s almost trou­bling. And wall prints, and phone case ideas, and stick­ers… If you’re inter­ested, AliZwell is offi­cially launch­ing out: come get some art on your chest.

Buy Motobi Tees on Cotton Bureau

Really enjoyed making this prod­uct trailer: VSDC Editor for video, Reaper with Spitfire Labs and VSCO Orchestra for audio. 

An aside:

This site build (ver­sion 7 if I count right) was intended to remove the bar­rier to writ­ing and shar­ing – and yet I haven’t shared any­thing since I set it up two months ago. Thanks to the improve­ments in the WP Gutenberg inter­face, and the sim­plic­ity of the new theme, I can almost keep pace with my thoughts. Will try to keep coming back here to think.