The Goldblood Collective: DIY advocates and screen printing magicians put SLC on the map

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On a seedy block of South State Street, tucked between two nondescript businesses, is Goldblood Collectivethe multi-faceted company and love child of three local kids with ideas, drive and a passion for music and clothing.

What started as a streetwear and BMX store in August 2017 quickly changed shape, pushing owners Adrian Evans, Matthew Windsor and Shea Ledesma deep into Salt Lake City’s underground music and DIY scene.

(Left to right) Adrian Evans, Matthew Windsor, Shea Ledesma. Photo by: Jennifer Thayn.

“We got the spot and we were kind of like, ‘Now what do we do?’ “says Windsor. It’s Saturday morning, and Windsor and Ledesma are sitting in the collective on mismatched furniture near the entrance. Several freshly printed t-shirts hang in one corner of the room, emblazoned with clean, minimalist designs and logos. A sound system stands on the opposite wall with music playing softly in the background. They had a show the night before, and remnants of it can be seen all over the room.

“I know what it’s like to be a touring band and not know where to play a gig,” says Ledesma, describing how the collective grew from a store to a live venue. “We want to give bands the chance to earn at least enough money to get to the next city on their tour.”

In every way possible, the collective is now working to help support artists and musicians who are in Salt Lake City or who call the city home. Armed with a screen print at the back of the shop, they design discounted t-shirts for artists and bands to help them get their feet up and get their brand recognized.

The collective also works with other DIY spots like diabolical records, collaborating and sharing schedules, working together diligently to ensure that musicians have the chance to play their music somewhere. “We work with Adam Ty from Diabolical a lot,” Windsor says. “If he gets a double booking, we’ll take one of his groups and he’ll do the same for us.”

The dedication that Evans, Windsor and Ledesma have for what they do is amazing. The three opened their store without outside help, often struggling to pay rent and keep their doors open. Still, they’re doing what they can, driving Uber and Lyft for a few weeks to make ends meet. For them, it is the price they must pay to preserve and maintain what they consider to be a vital part of the community.

“There have been times when we have a show and only donate $20,” says Ledesma. “We give everything to the group. We want it to be worth it for them, at least a little. Maybe they can take the $20 and get something to eat.

A way that the Goldblood Collective stands out for giving local new-school rap artists a place to perform. In a city where the majority of underground music is rock-based, rappers of the SoundCloud variety have the chance within the collective to try out their sounds and host insane shows. “Certainly our craziest shows have been rap shows,” Windsor says. “They draw the biggest crowd by far, and people are really excited about it. It’s nice to be able to give these young kids a chance to put on a show, and it’s inspiring to watch them start their careers and gain fans. Some rap shows the collective has launched have been way too big for their little showcase.

Recently, they collaborated with local rapper T killer who works in Rose Park to renovate an old church and turn it into an arts center and community venue. Windsor said during their last show at the church, an event called The great image festival, 200 people showed up to watch the performance of young local rappers. “It was crazy,” Ledesma said. “I was sitting there pouring gas into a generator while it was running so that kid wouldn’t have his station cut off.”

Goldblood Collective's trusty screen printing machine.  Photo by: Jennifer Thayn
Goldblood Collective’s trusty screen printing machine. Photo by: Jennifer Thayn

“I spoke to the cops a few times there,” Windsor said. “They always ask me ‘What are you doing, man?’ I just tell them we’re doing a community show, because that’s what we do.

Recently, the collective has focused on producing clothing and merchandise for bands and artists. Ledesma says the day before he worked until 2 a.m. after the show, getting a local artist FebruaryFilth ready for an art fair. “I worked with her much longer than I thought I would, to prepare her,” says Ledesma. “She asked me how much she owed me and I told her we’d figure that out later. What was important was getting the shirts out so she could sell them.

The willingness to help and charity that the Goldblood collective exhibits is what sets it apart as a true advocate for community art in Salt Lake City. There is no “I” in the collective, there is only “we”, and that shines through in everything the three owners think. With big plans for expansion in its future, the Goldblood Collective seems to want to make a name for itself while keeping the philosophy and principles of DIY culture in mind in everything it does.

“DIY until we die,” says Windsor. “I really believe it.”

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