Chris Warner : Joe, please tell my readers a little about your self, where are you from?
Joe Garcia: I’m from Corpus Christi, Texas. I spend the majority of each day at my shop screening shirts and drinking beer. The little free time I have is spend reading, watching movies, and writing.
Chris Warner: Joe, You are the owner of "Fast Custom Shirts", you specialize in horror and exploitation shirts- why horror and exploitation?
Joe Garcia: These are the films I grew up with. Where other cities had ‘grindhouse theatres’, Texas had the drive-in theatre. Most weekend showing would consist of three films. The first was something from Disney, Bambi, the Black Hole, that sort of thing. The second was always something recent and mainstream, like Urban Cowboy. The last film tended to be something in the horror or exploitation genre. By the time these films came on, the kids were supposed to be asleep, but I always stayed up. I got to watch films like It’s Alive and Humanoids From the Deep at a very early age and they had a lasting impression on me.
Chris Warner: You have toured the country to various Horror Conventions, what one is always special to you?
Joe Garcia:Texas Frightmare Weekend, to me, is the granddaddy of all horror conventions. The size of it is insane, but it’s always well managed with a courteous and professional staff. The parties, both during and after the convention hours are tremendous and go on all night. The celebrity guests often party with the fans at the bar and occasionally show up at some of the room parties. To me though, the best part of any convention is the opportunity to meet and talk with fellow genre fans.
Chris Warner: You also make shirts for all occasions and for Indie films, do you take pride in helping the little guy get their name out there by them selling your shirts?
Joe Garcia: I’m a firm believer that our next Carpenter or Romero will emerge from the independent sector. Talk to any of the people making their own films and you’ll find that they’re in it because they have a passion for it. It certainly isn’t for the money. Most of them struggle financially to get their films made and will never see any sort of profit. The shirts in my “INDEPENDENT” section allows the filmmakers a chance to offer t-shirts of their projects without any cost to them. I’m glad to offer this service, and proud that the filmmakers allow me the opportunity to make the shirts.
Chris Warner: You have a huge collection of horror artwork, and collectables, what is your most prized possession?
Joe Garcia: Oddly enough, it isn’t something that could really be considered a collectible as it‘s not from a movie or anything like that. It’s an antique wheelchair that I found by a dumpster one night as I was throwing the trash. It’s a damn creepy looking thing and reminds me of the wheelchair in The Changeling, which is perhaps my favorite supernatural film. People that come into the shop always comment on it and some have offered to buy it.
Joe Garcia: There are several shirts I’ve made that I never thought would sell, but do. Most notably is the shirt based on A Serbian Film. It’s a truly offensive t-shirt, but people seem to love it.
Chris Warner: What are your thoughts on the current state of horror in Hollywood as of now,?
Joe Garcia: It’s pretty disappointing. Hollywood would rather regurgitate the same films over and over than take a chance on something new. I rarely go to the theatre anymore, and when I do, it’s usually to see something from overseas…that Hollywood will eventually remake.
Chris Warner: You are always a customer comes first business, where chains like Hot Topics are not, where did that come from?￼
Joe Garcia: From having been a customer myself. The majority of the shirts on the site are shirts I would like to wear. Hot Topic is a corporation, and you can be certain that the people at the head of that corporation don’t wear, have a working knowledge of, or give a fuck about any of the films, bands, or whatever represented on their clothing. There is very little difference between me and my customers. We’re into the same things.
Chris Warner: Who inspired you to become a t-shirt maker/artist?
Joe Garcia: People that I’ve worked for in the past. I grew tired of being in jobs that I didn’t really have a passion for and working for and with others that took no pride in their work. I’ve always drawn, painted, and things like that, but am dreadfully slow, so knew I would never be able to make a living out of it. With t-shirts as my canvas, I’ve managed to find something that allows me to remain creative and make enough money to pay the bills and have some left over for beer, comics, and DVDs.
Chris Warner: Finally sir, thank you for your time and if you have a website to plug or anything else please do so.
Joe Garcia: The website is www.fastcustomshirts.com. Many of the shirts on the site were made upon customer request, so if there’s something you’ve always wanted but never been able to find, shoot me an email and I might be able to make it happen.