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A recent photoshoot taken for his new lookbook

Interview by The New Pistol Clothing

DIRTY ROTTEN MAY SOUND LIKE LEFTOVER FOOD THAT’S BEEN IN YOUR FRIDGE FOR DAYS. BUT HE’S GOT KNOWN BANDS, STRANGERS AND EVEN HIS OWN FAMILY WEARING THEM. WE SPEAK TO FOUNDER MARTY ROWNEY TO FIND OUT WHAT GOES ON INSIDE HIS HEAD.

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Dirty Rotten – How did you come up with this name? And what does it mean?
The name ‘Dirty Rotten’ actually was made up by my buddy Josh Ku who originally started the label with me. I’m not exactly sure where he came up with it but it really seemed to fit my drawing style, seeing as I was mainly drawing grotesque monsters and zombies. Lately though I’ve really embraced the name as it generated the idea of the ‘Rotten tooth’ logo.

Where do you draw your inspiration for your t-shirt designs?
Well the latest range were mainly inspired by tooth puns like ‘You can’t handle the Tooth’ and ‘The Tooth is out there’ and it’s a direction I really want to follow as it’s super fun and I think it gives the audience something to connect with. Otherwise designs either come about just as weird ideas I think up or inspired by anything I see when I’m out and about. You can literally find inspiration anywhere!

Name a few artists you feel you are influenced by
I’m most influenced by artists and designers who work with clients inside the hardcore rock/metal genre. Guys like Dan Mumford and Godmachine have always been a huge influence on me but lately I’ve been taking a lot of inspiration from guys like Tom J Newell and an Australian designer Stay Bold. They’re style of work just speaks to me the most and for me communicates the idea or message of the work most effectively. There’s also a few local artists who have helped to shape my work today and I’m lucky to have creative friends to help steer me in the right directions.

What are you working on right now for your next artwork?
At the moment I’ve just been working on some different merch designs for bands and finishing creating the Dirty Rotten tooth mascot which was super fun. Other than that I don’t have any major projects as I’ve just released the Spring/Summer range so I’m taking it easy for the rest of the month before the process starts all over again.

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Where do you see your label growing into in the future?
World domination is the name of the game haha. In all seriousness I’m not sure exactly where it will grow too, there’s my hopes for where it will go and then there’s how it will actually go, at the moment I’m pushing it further into the punk scene audience so I hope it will take hold as a known label in that industry, but the big idea behind the brand was that it would always be a label that anyone, no matter what they’re into,  young or old, can be happy to rock. This has pretty much been one of the biggest challenges; I’ve spent a lot of time waiting to see exactly who to market towards as I never wanted to get tagged as a specific label like surf or skate. My overall goal for the label is to keep it boutique, I really like the business model that the brand Johnny Cupcakes has taken and it’s exactly how I want Dirty Rotten to be run, a unique brand with a special experience every time. The difference I see with Dirty Rotten is we are focused more so on illustration and it’s my dream to be able to give back to that community and help promote the talented individuals I know who aren’t getting the exposure they deserve.

HE SAYS “IT CAME OUT OF A DESIRE TO BE ABLE TO GET MY ILLUSTRATIONS OUT THERE.”

How important is getting known bands like Tonight Alive to wear your clothes as a form of promotion.
Getting the guys in Tonight Alive to rock my stuff has been one of the coolest things that could happen to this label. Those guys are super supportive and it’s important to have people like that seen in your threads to help get the message out to kids that if they believe in the brand enough to wear it must have something going for it. I like to think of it as building a family around the brand, by surrounding the label with people that are looked up to and who are doing amazing things, not just bands but good people who are making the most of what they’re doing helps to create a positive culture associated with the Dirty Rotten and hopefully inspire people to become a part of that culture.

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What made you decide one day – “I’m going to start a clothing label”
It came out of a desire to be able to get my illustrations out there. I knew for a while that I wanted to become a freelance Illustrator but I wasn’t getting consistent work and was sick of just posting up pictures of my stuff just stand alone. It was then I knew I wanted to try print some tees and that’s pretty much how it started. I guess I’ve always been inspired by brands like Mambo and always loved tees which had really good illustrations so I think that the impulse to print my own has always been there.

What’s your fave colour?
I really don’t have a favourite colour I guess, maybe blue or green…..I’m most interested in colours that contrast and really make each other pop!

Are you a better Surfer or Designer?
Haha I think I’m pretty average at both but I guess I’ve had more success with my designs so I’ll have to say Designer.

What’s your most fave piece of design you have Illustrated and Why?
Hmmmmmm this is a tough one. I  think I’ll have to say this comic book thing I made up last year. The story makes no sense and some of the illustrations are pretty shabby but it’s 16 frames I had to finish in a week working up to 16 hours a day just to get it done. It’s also printed 1m x 1m and is up on my wall acting as a constant reminder of how hard I can work if I have to haha very sentimental.

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Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dirty-Rotten/229146023762123
Website: www.dirtyrotten.com.au

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