I've been doing REBEL8 for so many years it's hard to remember what life was like before the brand. I used to get asked a lot about when is the ideal time to quit your day job and focus full steam on your own company. I think many entrepreneurs struggle with timing; when to take that big leap and stop sitting on the fence and go all in with your passion. And the answer is usually not very clear. But instead of guiding anyone or telling them what they want to hear, I just inform them that I've never seen a company succeed early on without the founder being so absurdly dedicated to the vision and that they'd be willing to die for it.

In 2005, I decided to go all in with REBEL8. I was still in art school and being groomed to showcase my advertising portfolio to agencies in hopes of landing a job. I remember when the Academy of Art University wanted me to make business cards, go on job interviews, and consider an internship at a reputable agency in San Francisco. It was during that exact time I made a bold commitment and vowed that I'd make REBEL8 work, or die trying. I refused to make those business cards. I refused to go on any job interviews. I stopped working for anyone else too. And I dropped out of school to the dismay of everyone around me.

The next months were rough. I was hungry as fuck. Literally. But I was hungrier to make REBEL8 a success. I committed with every atom in my body to the goal of making REBEL8 just big enough to survive. Nothing else mattered. 

So what was I doing for work before REBEL8? I had hella different jobs. Some were so short-lived they were more like gigs, not jobs, and definitely nothing lasted long enough to be considered a career.

One of my fondest memories was painting houses with a few of my dearest friends in the summer months. We were interior house painters. We'd have to be on site no later than 6AM. That was especially challenging because we'd typically party at least until 1AM nights before. My homie Mar Dogg got us all hired and always had that early AM blunt ready to go. I actually just hit him up, telling him I was about to write all this and hoping he'd have some photos to share. Unfortunately, he didn't. This was like '99 or some shit. None of us had phones. We were hella healthy back then too; smoking our greens, eating chocolate old fashion donuts and getting so unbelievably high that by the time the paint fumes hit us we were already exploring outer space.

That is the inspiration behind the ILLEGAL BUSINESS USA PREMIUM TEE.

The verbiage "ALL CITY" is a graffiti term for being known for one's graffiti throughout a city. The iconic San Francisco city skyline on back and front is an updated version of the late Herb Caen's daily column header image in the SF Chronicle.

I got the inspo for the oversized paint brush from this Dunn-Edwards snapback. We spent a considerable amount of time exploring curved REBEL8 scripts, but ultimately felt the boldness of a roller would be more fitting to the graffiti reference.

On another personal note, this graphic is extra fire because I got a chance to work with my friend Josh Bruner on it. I first met Josh while he was a designer at TRUE, a San Francisco streetwear boutique on Haight Street. I didn't want to do this graphic with someone that didn't understand all the references and nuances. I wanted to have constructive conversations about San Francisco and have everything about this be soaked in authenticity.

It's been amazing to reconnect with my past through this new chapter of REBEL8. I hope you dig the results. I sure like sharing stories with you.