Sumofish- Behind the Artist
- Aug 09, 2017
Brandt Fuse is the amazing artist behind the creative designs on Burnwater t-shirts. We sat down with him recently to find out a little bit about him, his process, and his inspiration.
MEET THE ARTIST: BRANDT FUSE
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a 4th Generation Japanese who grew up in Hawaii then went to college in St Louis MO where I studied illustration. My solidified passion for Japanese culture and art inspired me to study abroad in Osaka Japan for a year. I enjoy the aesthetic of Japanese brush painting, ukiyoe prints, and street graffiti, which influences a lot of my artwork. In terms of passions, I love Japanese food, fishing, cooking, bbqing, drinking beer and Japanese whisky, golfing, gambling, which are reflected in a lot of my designs. I started down the T-shirt route working at Cane Haul Road printing T-shirts during college summer breaks. I learned a lot about T-shirts there and decided to start my own brand.
What inspires Sumofish designs?
I imagine what I would want to wear- what would look cool on a T-shirt. I would combine different unrelated items into interesting characters, for example: rice cookers and fish, octopus and craps table, etc. Usually depicted are stuff that I like- sea creatures, Japanese food, beer, and other things you see on Sumofish shirts
How did Sumofish get started?
I moved to SF in 98 and worked at a graphic design firm until 2001 before freelancing. One of my first jobs was to design a basketball champs T-shirt for a community league. I did a sumo air-jordan pose and after that was well received, I did a line of sumo T-shirts and sold them at Kinokuniya, Nikkei Traditions SF, and local festivals and fairs. One of the designs, a blowfish with a sumo belt called 'Sumofish' was one of the most popular designs so I thought it would be a good name for the brand. The brand evolved from just sumo designs to all things from Japanese culture and food, to character mash-ups etc..
What advice would you give to all the artists out there?
Stay true to the subject matter and processes that you are passionate about.
You can now get your Octo Tee here!