Michael Sieben Interviews Mason McFee For Locally Sourced


Mason works out of his backyard design studio on projects for Hello Maseman, his own design firm that he established in 2012 and Elmer Gomer, his custom embroidered patch company. Mason’s work is currently being shown in the Austin-based group show, Locally Sourced, now open at the Volcom Garden in Austin, TX. The show’s poster actually features one of his pieces of work and is also available on a limited edition tee as part of the Volcom Garden exclusives collection.

I met Mason McFee when he was a student at the University of Texas at Austin in the early 2000s. He was a frequent visitor to the art gallery I co-owned at the time, Camp Fig. One afternoon he stopped by the art space, we chatted for a bit, and then he gave me a package filled with his graphic-design work, a portfolio of sorts. I was stoked on the samples, but I had no idea what to do with them. I was broke as hell and certainly couldn’t afford to hire him to do anything. Nevertheless, I was really impressed by his proactive attitude. In hindsight, maybe he was trying to get a show? If that was the end goal, he’s reached it—approximately 15 years later. Mason was at the top of my list when I started thinking about artists to participate in the “Locally Sourced” show at the Volcom Garden.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching Mason grow from a young, quiet student into an older (still quiet) contemporary of mine. I’ve drooled over some of the freelance clients he’s picked up and have watched his work develop, grow, and become something really stripped down and beautiful. It was a no-brainer to ask him to create a design for the show’s flyer, which also became a limited-edition t-shirt only available at The Garden here online on volcom.com. I could go on and on about how much I respect Mason, but I thought it might be cool to get some words from the man himself. Here’s a quick interview I conducted with him yesterday:

So, Mason, keeps you in Austin? What do you love about the creative community here?

MASON MCFEE My solid crew of friends and family that live nearby definitely keep me here. There’s a bit of humility to working in the arts here in Austin. It ain’t easy!

Your work, to me, exudes a sense of childlike imagination. Do you try to tap into that mind space when you’re making art or am I off base here?

MASON MCFEE I don’t necessarily try to tap into any space, but I think stylistically I like to work in a raw and unfinished method.

The graphic you did for this first show at The Garden, does it have any specific meaning or is it just graphic exploration/experimentation?

MASON MCFEE The graphic for The Garden was inspired by cactus in my backyard. I do a lot of loose drawings and this was one of them.

Mason McFee’s artwork from the “Locally Sourced” art show alongside a reissue of Michael Sieben first Volcom Featured Artist graphic are inaugural releases in Volcom’s new series of monthly drops for the Volcom Garden exclusives collection.

How did you get into making patches and doing embroidery?

MASON MCFEE I wanted to learn to sew the edges of hand painted patches I was working on. I eventually just started using the sewing machine to draw and kept trying to get better at it.

If you were to curate a show at The Garden, who would you like to include?


What are you currently working on that you’re excited about?

MASON MCFEE I’ve got a collaboration coming up with a vintage-clothing company here in Austin that will be a step into more wearable goods, other than t-shirts, of course :)

What’s your advice to the younger creatives out there?

MASON MCFEE Keep on trucking.

A few patches Mason made special for the Volcom Garden!

See more Mason’s work by giving him a follow on Instagram at @mase_man and @elmergomer.