Partners Dave Tree and Tyler Sweet opened their shop recently at 281A Mt. Auburn St. You won't find your average T-shirts in the store, and many of the items on sale are not T-shirts at all. Tree said they will print on anything the can find, including furniture and skateboard decks. (See photos on the right of the items for sale at the store)
"If you can get it flat, I will print on it," said Tree, who got his art degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Both owners have backgrounds in music, too, playing locally and with some big names, too.
The store will also host local artists, and on Feb. 16, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. a group show will open. The public is welcome.
SweeTree Ink takes over a space that was most recently the campaign headquarters for state senate candidate Bob McCarthy, and before that was a leather repair shop and long ago a real estate agency, Tree said.
Watertown Patch recently caught up with Dave Tree:
1. Watetown Patch: What is the story behind the name of your business, Sweetree Ink?
Dave Tree: SweeTree Ink is derived from Tyler Sweet's last name and my last name Dave TREE we share the T to be cool and the Ink is for all the ink we use, we have gotten confused for a tattoo shop because of the "Ink" but there is more than one kind of Ink.
2. You describe Sweetree Ink as a silkscreen shop and art gallery. What will people see when they come into your shop on Mt. Auburn Street? What kind of art is on display?
Tree: The sign out front was hand painted by myself, the window display has 2 different furniture pieces that have been printed and painted, when you enter the gallery on your left is a clothes rack filled with all original silk screen prints, to your right and the back the walls are covered with art works all made by myself.
3. How is your business different from other silkscreen shops or T-shirt makers?
Tree: I have worked for many silk screen shops in the past all are a little different, we try to be more of a custom print shop, we print on T-shirts and garments but we also print on guitar cases, drum heads and skateboards. We have an in house art department so we can help a client create an image or a logo. We have no minimums (order size) and we don't price by scale, we are also owner operators so we do all the work ourselves from taking orders, creating art and then printing it all. We also have an art show once a month, right now its all my art but the next show on Feb. 16 will be a group show with a number of local artists showing their work.
4. Your website says you have over 20 years experience in the business. What did you do before opening Sweetree Ink?
Tree: Before we opened shop Tyler has been touring as a guitar tech for Brian Setzer from the Stray Cats. I have worked in different silk screen shops since 1990, I toured recorded and sang in a band called TREE, DJed at WBCN, silk screened and painted for fine art shows I have exhibited in all over the country, and have been living in beautiful Watertown for the last 6 years.
5. Why did you choose to open Sweetree Ink in Watertown?
Tree: I live here in Watertown and really love it here, the people are very nice, the food is amazing, North Beacon Autobody keeps my van running awesome, the land and the river is a blessing, and my landlord - the Ovians - are hands down the best landlord I have ever rented from, if you need dry cleaning go to Paramount Cleaners and while you are there come next door and give us a visit.