We’re kicking off a series of interviews with people all across the garment decoration industry. Our first interviewee is LT Magnotto, a man of many talents. In addition to his work at JakPrints and his company Seps.Ink, he is also a founder of Guardian Cold Brew . I think that delicious coffee (you can order beans online) might be what fuels him through all the things he does. I know it’s how we get going in the mornings at my house. Anyway, enough about my caffeine habit, here’s LT in his own words.
IK: How long have you been involved with printing and/or garments and how long since you have been “in” the industry?
LT: 16 years
IK: How did you get started in the industry?
LT: I was working for the artist Derek Hess designing his clothing line Strhess Clothing and decided that I should learn more about the printing process. His studio happened to be above a print shop that ended up being Jakprints.
IK: What is your current job title and what do you primarily do as your work?
LT: Apparel Art Director and Director of Embroidery. I supervise and assist a team of color separators as well as working with our embroidery department on process and quality.
IK: In your time in the industry what have you seen as the biggest change?
LT: DTG / Quantities. Job runs becoming larger and smaller jobs not existing a much due to virtual stores and one off printing.
IK: What is one thing you wish you knew when you were starting out in this industry/business?
LT: There are no secrets. I spent my early years trying to crack the “secrets” of color separations, but I’ve found that everyone is doing mostly the same things.
IK: Do you have a song or better yet a Spotify or other playlist that you listen to when you really want to get going?
IK: Share a story of a mistake you made that in the end you learned from.
LT: When rasterizing a vector file for color separation, turn anti-aliasing OFF it will save you so much time and unnecessary cleanup.
IK: Is there a print or a shirt or a product that you are particularly proud of?
LT: I recently got to do a simulation of a photo of a bottle with condensation on it. We recreated the condensation using HD gel inks. It turned out really nice. Ive always wanted to do one of those since the first time I dug Rick’s sample bag over a decade ago.
IK: Do you have a hobby or skill or interest or accomplishment that folks in the industry might not know about?
LT: I’ve toured for many years with my band Above This Fire and have a coffee company called Guardian Cold Brew. We brew and bottle a cold coffee beverage and sell our signature roast of beans.
IK: What is a big breakthrough that you are your company has made?
LT: Automatic platens that you can print the front chest and inside neck at the same time.
IK: What part of this industry do you wish you didn’t have to deal with?
LT: DTG and its nasty pretreatment.
IK: What’s the weirdest thing that happened to you in this industry?
LT: MHM afterparty Berlin Germany Fespa 200(6)?…
IK: What is your favorite decoration technique on one of your garments?
LT: I love big honkin’ halftones. As we move into the DTG age, halftones that you can see with your naked eye will be a thing of the past. To me, halftones are part of the charm of the screen print.
IK: If money was no object, what you add to your business right now?
LT: I’d get every embroidery gadget known to man.
IK: What is your favorite t-shirt, however you want to define that.
LT: Anything Iron Maiden. I was always fascinated by their merchandise growing up. A few years into my career I got to do a freelance separation for some Iron Maiden merch. Its been pretty tough knowing that i peaked that long ago……..
IK: Do you have a project you want to start or goal in the industry?
LT: My goal has always been to create beautiful things with and for good people. Screen printing is the ultimate collaborative art form.
IK: What have you found inspirational lately?
LT: We thought the Trump presidency was going to inspire some great art… Buckle up!
IK: What have you read recently?
LT: I got this Stan Gets with Joao Gilberto unreleased b-side vinyl recently. The liner notes on the back described this large 36-room mansion that Stan Getz owned where they were all living and recording music at. All of the guests in the mansion were freaked out by Joao Gilberto and called him “the spooky elf”
IK: If you had an actor play you in a movie, who would it be?
LT: Pauly Shore
IK: What do you see on the horizon as trends in the industry?
LT: More on demand.
IK: What piece of advice would you like to share with someone new to the industry?
LT: Help each other out. Be open to change.