Offthemag: Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your educational background?
My name is Jose Cotto, I am currently finishing up my last semester at the UMass Amherst where I am majoring in Architecture. I am originally from Worcester, Ma and grew up in Great Brook Valley. The Valley was not the most positive environment for me and I saw everything from watching folks shoot up drugs to folks getting shot. Luckily I never got in too deep in the streets to the point where I was stuck and I was fortunate to have some very influential role models in my life when I got to high school. But this is about the brand… So if folks want to know more about me, they can catch me on facebook or check out my website jccotto.com.
Offthemag: How would you describe your inspiration for Jointed Creativity?
My inspiration for Jointed Creativity definitely came from growing up in the projects as a child and the fact that the one thing that I always had around was art. My brother always drew, one of my close cousins is a dope artist and another one is a pretty well known tattoo artist in Florida. Art was always around. It was an outlet for me at times where I could have easily gone into the streets. I would go as far as saying that my love for art saved my life. Given my position in life now and my passion for networking, art, and community work, this is something that just made sense to me. I wanted to create something that would spark conversations and inspire people to do something in an effort to create a cyclical process of folks inspiring and working with each other.
Offthemag: When did you realize you wanted to orchestrate such a positive collection of ideas?
I didn’t always have that mind state, but in high school, my mentor/pops Sean Harris really instilled the importance of being positive and being influential in the lives of others. Through all his support I became much more involved in community work & I saw the importance of working with folks, especially when we are fighting the same struggles. Once I came to UMass, I linked up with brothers Chris and Rec from TRGGR Radio and they were about this ‘building’ movement as well. So surrounding myself with people working towards positivity changed my perspective on things. I see the individualistic ideologies that our present in our society and I wanted to move away from that. Collaboration became the only way for me to think about how to go about things…
Offthemag: How and when did Jointed Creativity begin?
Jointed Creativity began in the Spring of 2008. I was a freshman and I was broke. I was thinking of what I could do and I thought I would try to put out a clothing line. At that point I was also selling gear on campus, but I wanted to sell my own stuff. So I taught myself how to be efficient enough in photoshop and just started cranking out designs. That summer I would be on my laptop for 8-12 hours a day… I was really invested. Once I got back to school I was still broke, so I never put anything out. Over the last 3 years I have always looked at my designs and would think about how I can get it done. Then last spring, my boy Henry (@henoliveira) and I came up with this idea to make stencils of UMass Alumni. And then the light bulb came back on. We stenciled around campus and people that saw it like it so I decided to work on the brand again and use some of the stencils as a springboard. It’s been a long process, but I feel good about the timing of everything. I needed time to develop myself and my own personal brand before I could put anything out. I’m happy with how things have turned out and the message I’m trying to get across.
Offthemag: Who is your ideal market & who you are outreaching to?
My ideal market is everyone. Right now I’m obviously using my college network as a way to build the brand, but we want to reach the masses. I want folks that represent the message I’m trying to convey to have a brand they can wear proudly. In terms of outreach, I’m just looking to connect with community efforts and other positive people that are doing good things. For this Fall/Winter collection, I plan on taking some of the profits and purchasing toys for inner city youth in Springfield/Holyoke for the holidays. I’m also going to be supporting one of my friends Sam, who has started a non-profit called Sneakers 4 Success … Which will definitely make some noise, so check them out and stay tuned on that project as well….
Offthemag: How long does it usually take you to come up with an idea or become inspired for a collection? Describe the general process you go through.
I’m constantly thinking. So it’s just a matter of getting things down on paper or my laptop and working out the ideas. Usually I’ll be talking with somebody and an idea is triggered from the conversation and once I get back to my room I’ll try to see what it looks like. Then I’ll show it one of my friends and bounce ideas back and forth. It’s a constant process and it never ends. Even the designs I have now, I am constantly thinking of ways to enhance them. In regards to this Fall/Winter collection, which is not finished by the way, I just wanted to get some product out to build the awareness of the brand. The Dr. J and Jeff Corwin tees which started out as stencils were inspired by my interest in the history of UMass… Some of the other designs I have planned out are definitely inspired by politics and the struggles people are facing in underrepresented communities.
Offthemag: What are you telling your market & fellow “Movers & Shakers” thru your latest collection?
The latest collection is about getting people to make moves. The tag lines I used for the Dr. J and Corwin tee represent the individuals, but they also represent the idea that you have to be active and go for it. “Learn To Fly” is self explanatory. Don’t be afraid to go after it. Set the bar high and find a way to reach it. The “Go Wild” tee speaks on the idea that sometimes we are hesitant in our work. We care about what others think or have to say and we hold back. What I’m saying is forget all of that and go crazy in your work. Invest yourself so much in your work that it’s all you can think of… Once you get to that point, you won’t even notice the negativity coming from others.
Offthemag: Should we be on the lookout in the near future for a new gear? Collaborative efforts? WHAT?
Absolutely. I am always looking to build. Anybody looking to be a part of the movement, let me know! Let’s get it done… But I plan on adding a few more pieces to this current collection as well as releasing some more color options for the stuff I currently have. I’m hoping to get some work in the near future with my brothers from Black Market Wares, who have a dope up and coming line as well. I’ve been working with some local music artist as well as some poets to get people to raise awareness for the brand by wearing Jointed Creativity at their shows. I also have plans of branching from just t shirts. Jackets, sweaters, hats are all on my radar for things to come. Maybe not in 2011, but definitely Spring 2012.
Offthemag: What are some of your accomplishments as a collaborative brand team have already made or would like to make?
We are just getting up and going. I’m not sure how much we have accomplished. But I can definitely say that folks are on board with this movement and for me that’s the most important thing. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback and people appreciate what it is I am trying to do. But like I said, we just got it going within the last month, so it’s just a matter of time before we begin to make the impact that we want.
Offthemag: Where can we buy your brand?
You can go to www.jointedcreativity.com!
Offthemag: What networking sights can we find you on to keep updated? Twitter? Facebook? Tumblr? Etc.
We are everywhere! facebook.com/jointedcreativity , @JointedCreativi, and we also have a blog that is linked on our website. But definitely follow us and like our page… I drop promo codes for savings pretty often! In fact, in honor of the opportunity to do this interview, anyone that enters the code ‘official’ during the month of November will save 15% on any order! That’s how we do things out here. It’s all about building and supporting one another…
Offthemag: Give your fellow “Movers & Shakers” a word: Quote &/or inspirational saying, etc.
Remember that your network is your net worth. Build connections with folks. Go hard in what you do. Finish your race. And remember to always CREATE.INSPIRE.SUPPORT. That being said, Jointed Creativity is more than a brand. We are a movement of MoversAndShakers working towards positive change and if you’re about the movement, we hope you join us in our efforts. LASTLY! Shout outs to the whole Official team! I really appreciate the support and I looking forward to building with you all again! Keep pushing!