By Crystal Proxmire
Christopher Gorski is a 42-year-old Ferndalian who turned his hobby into a unique tee shirt business. Find him in the Rust Belt Market or at various events in the famous Detroit GT truck Leo. Learn more about this fabulous business at http://detroitgt.com.
How did Detroit GT get its start?
DetGT was a hobby that transformed into a business after being laid off from my 15 years in the ad business. I put my to loves together and a business was born… Graphic tees about Detroit and vintage automobiles. I purchased Leo, a rare 1979 Chevy P10 step van, and planned to travel the metro area to art fairs, music events and car shows and sell my tees.
Are you surprised by your success? What are some of your accomplishments with your company?
I am surprised that my business has grown so much so quickly. The Rust Belt Market added a tremendous boost when they invited me to pull my truck and vend in the spring of 2010. It went so well I had to purchase another truck (JB a 1969 Chevy C10 pick up) to fill in at the Rust Belt for Leo as he had summer events already booked for the year.
My major accomplishment is the continued addition of stores that request my brand… Some even have requested I purchase another truck and us as a display in their store!
Other accomplishment… My brand is global! People send my designs all over the world and the USA. My shirts are worn in Antarctic, Beijing, South Africa, Brazil, and across Europe! I’m very proud of that. People tell me all the time where they have family and plan to send it.
What are some of your most popular items?
My most popular shirt continues to be the “I have people in Detroit” tee. We all have family and/or friends that have moved away from the D. And it becomes the perfect gift for adults, kids or babies! Our second, and newest, tee “bitch, please. I’m from Detroit” is becoming equally popular!
What is your favorite?
My favorite shirt is “Detroit. Keep it together.” which was created during the 2008 economic downturn. I used a Cadillac sedan with multi colored fenders and doors to symbolize the hang in there attitude. This design’s completely hand drawn, even the type is hand drawn by me.
Have you done any LGBT-themed work? Why or why not?
We created a limited edition shirt for 2011 Motor City Pride “Detroit Cock City” tee. It was a head turner and fun. One that did not make into production was “second class citizen” after the North Carolina anti-marriage equality vote. I was fired up after that and was feeling very political. But soon after President Obama announced his support for marriage equality and it simmered my anger.
Where are you from and how did you end up in Ferndale?
I was raised in Dearborn Heights. My love for Detroit drew me to the Corktown community where I lived for six years until my landlord refused to sell the townhouse to me. Near that time, I visited the Funky Ferndale Art Fair and on my way home the owner of my current home in Ferndale was placing a For Sale by owner sign in the yard. I stopped, took a look and placed a deposit the next Tuesday and became a Ferndale resident.
How did you learn to do all this?
I’ve been an artist since I was a child. I was drawing on blank inside covers of my coloring books before I even began coloring in the inside. I learned to silk screening in a vocational class and received my bachelors of fine art from College for Creative Studies in Detroit where I developed a good design sense. My business side is still a work in progress. I learn something everyday.
How do you balance being creative with running your own company? What are some of your challenges?
Owning a business is a full time commitment. You are wearing many hats throughout the day. It helps to set a plan for each day. Follow this task list to stay on track. Without a task list you can be driving away from the important stuff like being creative and having free time.
What is your advice for other young creative people?
Keep a sketchbook and spend time in it each day. Draw, write, scrapbook, doodle, collage … whatever. Just express yourself in it … You can find yourself and develop into a better creative.