The city of Memphis is considered to be the home of delicious barbeque along with having some of the best talent in sports, especially basketball. With food and sports being the talk of the town, art is another great aspect of Memphis that should be in the conversation.
Take the Five in One Social Club for example. The establishment has been in Memphis for a year and has already made its mark in the art industry.
Michael and Alice Andrews, who celebrated the Five in One Social Club one year anniversary last week, are originally from Wisconsin and came to Memphis looking for a perfect location to start their business. They eventually found the perfect spot on 2535 Broad Ave.
“We moved to Memphis seven years ago and started an art space called Five in One and social club was part of that, like a component of that where artists can get together and hangout and draw on their sketch books,” Alice said.
"A year we heard about a program called MIM Shop. MIM Shop is a small business that the mayor’s innovation team is running and we heard of it like a grant. So we heard about that and thought well what if we turned social club into a business where we taught people how to do things and open a store where we sold things made by all of the awesome local artists that we know," she added. "So that’s how we got started. We applied for a grant and we won the grant and now it’s a year later and things are going pretty good over here.”
“Everybody loves the T-shirts. Since they are all Memphis themed, which I think is the biggest reason why they are so popular because we totally believe in Memphis. It’s all made in Memphis,” Alice said. “Michael draws his inspiration for designs from things that are local. Like right now, we have the Invest in Good Times, which is graffiti from the Tennessee Brewery downtown and Orange Mound T-shirts."
As customers spend their money on the variety of shirts the store has to offer, Michael and Alice are already in the procress of making more shirts with their screen printing business.
“We make the T-shirts ourselves. So Michael makes the designs and we print those ourselves. We also print the posters. I do a lot of the sewing for the stuffed animals and the bags,” Alice said. “Then I have 15 artists who are vendors with me so they make all kinds of things from cards and coloring books to jewelry and purses.”
A lot of people have come into the store disappointed with the T-shirts for sale and have asked for one customized t-shirt for their own purpose. The cost for one printed T-shirt is $350, Michael said.
Not only the T-shirts are popular, but the rug of Jerry “The King” Lawler is another unique item that wrestling fans would love to have inside their household. Lawler started out as a wrestler in Memphis in the early 1970s and quickly became one of the fan favorites to ever step into the squared circle.
One of the customers couldn’t recognize what person was on the rug and Alice quickly said, “It’s Jerry Lawler come on,” as she was smiling at the clueless customer. The rugs are only made during Labor Day weekend.
“This is a fun thing we do on Labor Day weekend. We did it last year and we are going to do it again this year. It’s called steamroller printing,” Alice said.
“So what you do is take a big piece of wood and cut the images into a woodblock. Then you cut your image out of the wood. Normally when people makes this kind of art, it’s small and you print them on paper. So we use really big sheets of wood that we get from the Home Depot (4 by 8)," she added. "So we cut all of the images and then you roll your ink on top to create your drawing and then you take them out into the street and lay the fabric down on the top of it and rented a steamroller. We drove it (steamroller) over the block and that prints your image.”
Last year, customers were able to pre-order them for $175. On Labor Day, the rugs went up to $250.
The small rugs are now $250 and the large rugs cost $450.
The social club is mainly used for the creation of the products along with the customers purchasing the items, but it has also become a place for couples to rent out for special occasions.
William Justice, son of University of Memphis Assistant Professor Candace C. Justice, and his fiancée Julie Jeschke, are looking for a place to use for their wedding reception in June. William is a regular at the social club, but Jeschke is a newcomer to this horizon of art on Broad Avenue.
“We were planning to have a reception here but we think we may have more people than expected,” Jeschke said.
The wedding reception will have at least 150 people attending and as a result, the social club is too small to hold the event.
Outside of the planning for the big day, Jeschke enjoyed her first time at the social club.
“It’s a great atmosphere," she said. "I like all of this stuff.”
If customers are interested in learning how to make designs for a T-shirt, photograph or even a poster, Michael and Alice can assist you as they teach a class on Monday and Saturday evenings.
On April 28, people will learn how to make fused plastic wallets. If there are any wrestling fans available on May 3, they should come to the social club as Michael and Andrew will teach them how to make Mexican wrestling masks.