INTERVIEW: Normal Parents
Founded in August of last year, Normal Parents started off as a simple idea and has expanded into a community of artistic minds. Based in Minneapolis, Normal Parents branches out into different avenues of art: clothes, art galleries, and soon enough: music. I recently spoke to the fine people of NP this weekend about their origins, plans for the future, and much more in the interview below.
I really love the name. Is there a story behind how you guys chose it?
The name itself came up as the title for a music project I was working on a few years ago. It was for a pretty droopy and solemn sounding album and I originally actually saw the name Normal Parents as something that could experienced in sad nostalgia. No one has Normal Parents, which is why people feel that they can connect to our abstraction of home. But, originally I definitely did not see it emerging into the public with such positivity and light. Now it makes total sense. You gotta shed light. Whatever light you got.
When Normal Parents was first created did it start out as an art gallery or clothing company?
It started out with one t-shirt. I never ended up recording that album, but I did still have the name lingering over my head for months. When I was in the shower one day last summer I thought it would be really cool to make a stencil and spray paint the words Normal Parents on a shirt. In excitement I posted a picture on Facebook offering to make and deliver one to anyone for free. Tons of people responded with requests so I just had to start charging money. That’s how the company started. So I guess it did start with clothing, but I would never refer to this as a clothing company. That’s one of the reasons that I opened the art gallery was to start showing people that there is more to the NP world than just cotton garments. We want to create a whole world of experiences that people can use all of themselves to interact with. Soon there will be music, candles, bath bombs, skateboards and hopefully short films. I going to make things that people can use to represent their own abstraction of home and not just mine.
Is there one person that designs all the pieces or are there different people?
Caleb does all the art and designs. He is the brains behind mostly everything that goes on here. However, most ideas are always run through our production manager, Hanna. She has a knack for seeing the things in the big picture. Soon there will be new projects that are extensions of Normal Parents. We have two bands of our own that will be showing their faces this summer. The first and our favorite one will be a band called The Happy Children. You can find them through all of our social media. They play shows in the Twin Cities.
What artists inspire the pieces you/you guys create?
I’m very inspired by talking to my dad and I’m always juiced by my friends. I often times get soooooo damn inspired by my little brother and also a little girl who lives by my mom. A long time ago I made a post about how she was the CEO of the company. I still stand by that. I even gave her a bit of money once and she just bought some candy. OH WAIT wait wait. I LOVE Death Grips. I’m inspired by Death Grips. They have created a whole world and character through the internet that is completely unique. They are amazing.
It’s awesome how you guys play off youthful themes on your clothes. I have to say the ‘Trump Sucks’ one if my favorite. What’s the process when you guys design your clothes?
Thank you. I just recently looked up other anti Trump Shirts and saw that tons of people are making Trump Sucks shirts now. There weren’t any when I first made the shirt, but who really knows where the first one came from. He does suck. There are always ideas for new shirts and they all come about differently. I end up sitting on a few at a time wondering which one I should really hit the gas on. I’ve got a few new shirts that will be coming out before the end of the summer. I did a painting a while back of the ocean that I’m going to release on a shirt this month. I guess recently though we have mostly been focusing on the limited edition Hippo Campus baseball tees. They’ve got em on tour right now and are apparently selling tons. They are a one time run so maybe some day they will be worth some money. Those guys are killing it.
Sadly, I’ve never been to Minnesota but it’s clear that it’s a very artistic, supportive community. How does living there play a role in the company?
First off, you gotta come by. It’s the unknown perfect city. Our winters weed out all the fakes, leaving behind a lot of strong families. We actually just moved back here from Washington. We were out there for school for a couple years but that ended up not really working out so we came back. I thought being in Minneapolis would be a huge game changer for the company, but I think the biggest advantage so far is just being close to family and friends. Obviously being closer to our friends in Hippo Campus was nice because we wouldn’t have been able to do the collaboration baseball tee and they are just inspiring guys in general, but we aren’t super involved with any scene here necessarily. As of now we actually get more orders from outside Minnesota. It seems like we are getting more popular in Colorado, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Illinois and Olympia WA. We sponsor a crew of skateboard kids in Olympia who are amazing. You should check out the Normal Parents skate team on our Instagram.
What does NP have in store for the rest of the year?
Right now I’d say keep your eye out for our band, The Happy Children. It’s an amazing indie rock trio that plays super melodic music through unconventionally arranged pop songs. You can find them through all of our social media. That’s the newest project that I think will have the biggest impact. We are really excited to start showing people that this is not just a t-shirt company or clothing line. This is a movement. This is an abstraction of home. This is a whole world created for YOU to use whenever your Normal Parents aren’t quite there.
Written by Cameron Capers
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