Pack Rats: Filth Mart
By Jess Rotter
June 3, 2016
When we first conceived of the Pack Rats series, there was no question of highlighting our friends Mike and Maggie’s collection of rare rock shirts with an up close and personal shoot of their wonder store full of outrageous eye candy ranging from hand drawn, sought after, airbrushed, and bedazzled graphics from the ’60s and 70s.
Illustrator and vintage curator Mike Sportes opened Filth Mart in New York’s East Village in 1997, then moving the magic to the west coast with his wife Maggie Fox (a stylist and artisan) in 2007. So many treasures inhabit the LA shop, including Peter Max sneakers, Stanley Mouse direct-to-garment scribbles, and Neil Young lyrics spread across tees in iron-on glory. Whether official art or intimate bootlegs, Filth Mart has proven itself an inspiration station
We should also mention they have their own Filth Mart t-shirt label, which features Mike’s graphics harkening the era — and love — of true rock n’ roll. It was a pleasure spending a sunny LA morning with these pack rats. Enjoy the experience.
THE PACK RAT HIGH FIVE
1. Why t-shirts? What brought you to the passion of collecting?
whats not to love about t-shirts? they are a great documentation of iconic rock/pop culture images. they provide endless inspiration for projects we work on today.
2. Tell us about your favorite pieces…
Anything from Kelley/Mouse, T-shirt Explosion, Hip-o-potomus , Winterland, Fifth Column, Lonely Ladies, Star Shields air brush
Beggars Banquet all over print promo shirt (looks like the urinal wall from the album cover)
Fillmore East Farewell show
Atlanta International Pop Festival ’69
Some crazy fan made pieces over the years…air brush, hand painted, personalized with signatures, et al
3. What was your latest aquisition? Any ‘holy grail’ piece you’re lookin out for?
A crazy group of many Lonely Ladies San Francisco tees. Oversized portraits of pop icons. Mail order shirts from ads in the back of magazines such as Oui, Hightimes, etc.
4. Do you have a special moment to share regarding your collection?
1997, Rochester, NY…House of Guitars. motherload!
5. What are some inspirational records in your life? Do any connect directly with your collection?
If I Could Only Remember My Name
Wilson and Misty on the contemporary tip
Not too much of a connection to our t-shirts. Very little tour merch was made pre ’74 aside from the odd promo pieces.
One that does correlate is an insane Traffic tee from the Armory, NYC, 1974.
Photos by Shelby Duncan