MEET: Aisle6ix Industries
We've got these guys to thank for the shirts on our backs. Literally. St Peters-based legends, Aisle6ix, have been hand-printing our merch for years; translating artists' designs in to things you can wear. They've printed some 50 designs for us, and counting. They're celebrating their fifth birthday and we thought it a nice excuse to give them a shout-out and find out a little more about the magic behind the corrugated iron curtain...
Hand printing gives us complete control and the flexibility to make changes as we go. If we start printing a colour that you’ve asked for and then you decide it’s not actually what you want, we can stop, adjust the colour, and then start printing again. It’s all about producing the best possible product.
How did you personally get in to screen printing?
I’m a huge fan of Mambo. I use to spend my pay from my first job on all things Mambo. They were always creating original designs that inspired me to start Aisle6ix Industries as a T-shirt label. I’ve always been interested in screenprinting as an art form, so in my 20’s I studied screenprinting at Tafe one night a week.
Photo by Billy Zammit
And how did Aisle6ix get off the ground? What’s changed in the five years?
I moved to London a few years later and worked in a print shop called Photofit. That was such an important learning experience for me, and so much of what I learnt in that print shop I use in my business today. I stayed in London for two years then moved to Melbourne and worked in a print shop called Screenplay.
I later moved to Sydney and participated in the Australian Government run NEIS program. Instead of getting the dole you do a small business course, write a business plan and then you put that into action. So Aisle6ix Industries was born. I shared a studio with a couple of mates and the business has grown from there. Seven years later and Aisle6ix is busier than ever, it now employs 6 people and we ship t-shirts and prints all over Australia. Every year gets busier and busier and we’re always expanding our printing capabilities by printing on different formats.
You guys have done a bit of live printing at events over the years - any memorable hijinks or mishaps over the years?
We love live printing. It means we can get out of the studio and show people what we do. It’s awesome to see the look on people’s faces when we lift the screen up after printing their T-shirt or Tote bag that they’ve designed. They get to see their artwork appear instantly.
What’s your favourite type of job to do?
We love printing great artwork and we’ve worked with some amazing artists that trust the studio to take their original artwork and turn it into a great T-shirt or poster design. An example of this would the Beer Wizard T-shirt by Glenno or Beer is a Girls Drink by Ginger Taylor, both are great artworks that push the studio to honour the quality of the artwork.
What do you listen to while you work?
We listen to music all day and it’s very varied. Deciding what to listen to is the first serious decision we make in the studio each day. You can take a listen of one of our playlists here.
What’s the first gig you ever went to?
Dire Straights at Bruce Stadium in Canberra in 1991 and Hothouse Flowers were the support act. I was 16 and a friend of a friend was working security so he let us sneak in for free. It rained the whole time but we didn’t care, it was such a great night.
And the last?
I went to Coachella for my honeymoon and loved seeing LCD Soundsystem, Guns N Roses and Ice Cube. It was easily one of the best festivals I’ve been to.
Images by Billy Zammit.
Join the Aisle6ix crew and friends in a celebration and exhibition of the past five years. Friday 18th May, 6-10pm. COMMUNE, 901 Bourke St, Waterloo.