Adam Sikorski's Coloradical shop opening on East Colfax Saturday
When Adam Sikorski designed the first Coloradical T-shirt four years ago, he intended it to be just one more thing in his repertoire of designs. He didn't suspect that it would become his best-selling design, let alone that it would become a brand of its own.
Adam Sikorski, founder of Coloradical, is opening a shop.
"It's been a really interesting thing, because I never sought out, really, to make it into a brand," he says. "It was just kind of an extension of what I was doing, and I kind of always viewed my T-shirts as a good way to get my art to people. That was always the goal." And it worked so well that now people will have another way to get his art: at the Coloradical store opening this weekend at 3109 East Colfax Avenue.
Sikorski grew up in Aurora and studied printmaking at the University of Northern Colorado, inspired by how the technique can get art to the masses. And he soon found that the one of the most successful ways to do that was through T-shirts. "Everybody wears T-shirts, everybody owns t-shirts," Sikorski says. "But not everybody owns art that they hang on their wall. Not a ton of people actually buy art, made by artists, from the artist."
In he freshman year of college, Sikorski began making hand-stenciled shirts that said "Drunc" -- a play on "drunk" and "UNC." But he quickly learned that selling T-shirts to drunk students at parties was not a great business model. "The thing was, everybody had already spent all their money on alcohol. And then, people had a terrible memory, so they might find out about them when they were drunk, but they were not necessarily going to put it together later," he explains.
Sikorski's T-shirt designs became more successful when he started marketing them to people who were sober. Classmates began to approach him after he'd shown his work at class critiques, saying they wanted to buy his shirts. "That kind of happened a few times and I started thinking, 'All right, I can start selling these,'" he says. So he began operating a business out of the back of a print studio, selling the shirts to local stores.
After college, Sikorski moved to Denver and continued to sell shirts under the Adam Sikorski brand. He would design three shirts a month, but sometimes it was hard to find inspiration. "There'd be many times when I'd just be sitting there, pondering what I'm into, what maybe people would like, that wouldn't just be some weird inside joke that I had," Sikorski says.
It was common for his roommate, Brian McFadden, to give Sikorski ideas for shirts. "Brian would come into my room -- and this happened several times -- and he would always exhale this huge amount of pot into my room, and then say, like, 'How about a shirt that says Coloradical?' And I'd just be like, 'Get out of my room, dude,'" Sikorski recalls.
The original Coloradical flag T-shirt.
But after hearing the idea multiple times, Sikorski finally decided that perhaps it could work, and created the design around the Colorado flag. It quickly became a bestseller, and as stores that stocked his merchandise requested more Coloradical T-shirts, the brand was born. "After a bit of me making new designs and releasing them, I just realized it was a good idea to make it its own separate brand," Sikorski explains. "Coloradical has done so well that I don't have enough time to do the other thing at all. It's pretty lucrative and I enjoy doing it, and it comes across to more people."
Continue reading for the full story on the Coloradical brand and the new shop.