I’m happy to present the latest T-Files interview with accomplished Angeleno artist Francisco Reyes Jr., a/k/a Never Made. Francisco is an accomplished artist/illustrator, and he also works at Studio Number One, alongside talent like Shepard Fairey and, formerly, Cleon Peterson. With Never Made, Francisco presents his creative vision across a wide range of items, including lapel pins, T-Shirts, sculptures, and limited edition screen prints. He has also worked with brands like REBEL8, Hurley, Primitive Skateboards, Epitaph, Hellcat Records and Urban Outfitters. Big thanks to our mutual friend Eddie Zammit, Melbourne’s own tee game Godfather, for connecting us earlier in the year. I’ve really enjoyed following Francisco’s art and design work, and was eager to learn more.
Where are you today? I am currently in Echo Park, California working under Shepard Fairey at Studio Number One. After work, I focus on running my personal brand, Never Made.
What are you doing/working on at the moment? I just wrapped up doing the first ever Complex Con. I am now gearing up for Designer Con 2016!
Rad! What was your introduction to art? For as long as I can remember, I’ve been visually stimulated by anything that I thought looked cool. I found inspiration anywhere from videogame packaging to VHS covers. I would always try to draw and copy my favorite stuff. Once I got into skateboarding, I was super inspired by the brand logos and deck designs. I remember getting the CCS catalog—not in order to buy anything, but to draw inspiration from the rad board and t-shirt graphics. Eventually, that interest manifested in my pursuit of a career in graphic design.
Are you self-taught or formally educated? A little bit of both; I was introduced to Illustrator in 11th grade and fell in love. I continued to tinker with it up until the end of my senior year– the interest stuck, prompting me to go the formal route. I enrolled in art school where I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design.
Have you had any lucky breaks or big challenges along the way? They say luck is when preparation meets opportunity, right? I had been working odd jobs by day and honing my skill at night. I landed an internship at Studio Number One after a chance encounter with an old friend of mine. That internship turned into a full time position; my hard work had finally paid off. I had always dreamed of meeting Shepard, so landing the internship was a dream come true. Having it turn into a full time gig was beyond my imagination.
Nice. How long have you been involved with Studio Number One and how has that impacted your work do you think? I have been at SNO for about 5 years. It has impacted my work tremendously. Being able to work amongst artists like Shepard and Cleon Peterson has been a continuous source of inspiration during my time here. I have become 100 times better at design because of it. They have set the bar so high, that it inspires me to do my best. Shep is not only a boss, but a friend. He supports everything I do with Never Made, which is awesome.
How has living here in LA influenced your work? I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so I don’t know anything else. I will say that there is so much diversity and art throughout the city. I love it! We have people moving to LA from all over the place, so it’s an awesome mix.
Is there a meaning behind the Never Made alias and why you adopted that as your personal art brand? Absolutely. Never Made can translate to ‘Never Finished’ or ‘Never Done’. In essence, it means that this is an ongoing project with no real end in sight. I can do anything with it. It is my creative outlet. It doesn’t limit itself to print or apparel– I might want to design a car someday, who knows?! Like Walt Disney said about Disneyland, Never Made will continue to grow as long as there is imagination in the world. My parents were immigrants who worked hard their entire lives to provide for my siblings and I. Never Made is also a nod to them. Nothing was given to them; they have earned everything themselves.
Do you have any plans coming up that your fans can look forward to? I am interested in expanding my apparel line. In the more immediate future, definitely making my mark at Designer Con!
Do you have any good books or movies or music you’re currently enjoying which you’d like to share? I just got Aaron Draplin’s book, Pretty Much Everything. I highly recommend it. I’ve also been keeping up with Westworld on HBO; it’s such a good show! Music? I’m all over the damn place, but right now “Currents” by Tame Impala and “Urban Flora” by Alina Baraz are on heavy rotation.
Thanks! You can follow Never Made on Instagram for more great work.