Berkley Art Bash Preview: Chris Gorski has People in Detroit

Chris Gorski has people in Detroit … and Antarctica, and South Africa, and Bejing, and Brazil …

It’s the shirt that has put his T-shirt company, DetroitGT on the map.

Gorski’s love for T-shirts and Detroit stems back from when he was a kid back in the ’70’s when his mother got him a now-iconic “Say Nice Things About Detroit” T-shirt, which was made famous at the time by Emily Gail and her Say Nice Things About Detroit store.

“I learned how to make T-shirts in high school when I took a silk screening class,” Gorski says. “I made T-shirts for my friends, and it caught on from there.”

Gorski eventually went onto advertising and was last a creative director on the Chevrolet account at Campbell-Ewald until Chevy pulled the plug on the account in 2010. That was the opportunity that led him to creating T-shirts on a professional level.

Catchy graphics and positive vibes are what his clothing is all about. (“I always say something positive; never negative,” Gorski says.) Shirts are made in limited runs, and if he takes them out of retirement, he’ll change them up in different colors.

Among the cool graphics and positive messages, Gail’s “Say Nice Things About Detroit” T-shirt is a mainstay in the inventory. The most popular are Gorski’s “I Have People in Detroit” shirts.

“People from all over the world have bought it, and people who live here send it to people they know,” Gorski says.

Gorski has also spread his love to other communities, as well – Ferndale, Royal Oak and Berkley. The Berkley shirt, which has a graphic of a ’57 Chevy with a ticket on the windshield that says, “Berkley … Where friends don’t let friends park on the street overnight.”

That’s just the law,” Gorski says. “One of my friends lives there. In the dead of winter, we lost power, and I stayed there for a few days. He kept telling me not to park on the street.”

What Gorski doesn’t sell out of places like Yellow Door Art Market, the Rust Belt Market and the Art-Is-In Markets at 12 Oaks Mall and Laurel Park Place, he sells at art fairs and events out of Leo, his black 1979 Chevrolet short bed step van.

“He’s named after my grandfather, and he has red wheels,” Gorski says. “He has red wheels because that’s what my grandfather did with all of his cars. People aren’t coming to see me; they’re coming to see Leo.”

But somehow, a DetroitGT T-shirt is always a nice reminder of Leo.

Gorski and DetroitGT will be selling shirts and hoodies at the Berkley Art Bash on Saturday, June 9, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 12 Mile Road between Tyler and Wakefield streets.

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