“I feel great today, as if there is a change in the universe that is in my favor. I also feel extremely optimistic about life, and that outlook has not and will not change.”
A while back Justin Gandy took me on an adventure to the Noxubee Refuge in Starkville, Mississippi. It was my first time ever going there.
I learned that he knows just about the name of every tree, flower, and plant that our Creator has placed on this earth.
After a few lessons from him, I quickly learned what a Crepe Myrtle and a Ginkgo tree looks like, and honestly, after all the lessons he has given me, those are probably the only two trees I recognize instantly.
Aside from that, Justin has spent countless hours learning and working in Adobe Creative Suite on his MacBook, whether it is doing landscape architecture projects in AutoCAD or creating graphic logos and clothing designs in Photoshop or Illustrator.
He admits that being a Landscape Architect student at Mississippi State University has not been the easiest, actually he stated, it has been “one hell of a rollercoaster.”
“I’ve had wonderful experiences and terrible ones, and I’ve wanted to quit thousands of times, but somehow God keeps pushing me forward,” says Justin.
Justin was born and raised in Starkville, and since the day he was born, he has always felt he was destined for greatness. He began exploring his creativity at a young age being mostly inspired by his older sister’s artwork.
Taking a day off from his studies and designing, playing Call of Duty on his Xbox, Justin reminisces back to a time when he first picked up a paintbrush.
“I remember when I was little, I would watch my sister draw and paint,” says Justin, remembering his sister’s still life drawings. “But I was about 6 or 7 years old, and I remember painting this large apple, it was red with like yellow and orange in it,” said Gandy, adding that the painting was “pretty dope.”
Inspired by the works of Salvador Dali, Michelangelo, Ad Reinhardt, Vincent van Gogh, and Keith Haring, Gandy said that these artists has helped shaped him into the artist he is today.
“I try to incorporate all of these artists and more to create a sporadic, precise, and minimalistic design. These artists do not just help me design wise, they also inspire me to become more than an artist,” said Justin.
Any knowledge or past experiences that are abstracted into tangible mediums are his definition of art. “It is basically anything that we can experience with our five senses,” says Justin.
As a landscape architect major, he has explored the works of many great landscape architects and artists by going on case study trips. He has traveled to numerous cities in the United States and Europe, with Siena, Italy being his favorite city.
“The scale of the city and each contrade was unique,” said Justin.
Visiting those places opened his mind to a whole new world leading him in wanting to explore more.
Justin said he plans to visit many other places soon including Germany, Brazil, Japan, Australia, and Egypt.
In the summer of June 2015, while in his hotel room in Rome, Italy, Justin came up with the idea to start his own clothing brand.
After hours and hours of sketching designs using family and friends as models, he would send most of his designs to friends to see what they thought of it.
His family and friends felt his designs were worth pursuing.
“While in Europe, there were many nights I would stay up late without a television or the Internet, and because of that it forced me to explore my creativity,” said Justin from his biography page in omnistarkville.bigcartel.com.
Justin said exploring the great works of Michelangelo made him realize that being a designer does not isolate you to one particular field.
“There were many nights I would stay up late without a television or the Internet, and because of that, it forced me to explore my creativity.”
“Michelangelo inspired me to be more than a Landscape Architect,” Justin wrote.
When designing for Landscape Architecture and OMNI, Justin would usually channel experiences and emotions he feels. “When I design, it’s purely from the soul.”
Originally naming his clothing brand “Believe,” and after months of thinking of another name, Gandy changed his brand’s name to OMNI, meaning all or for all.
“I want people to know that this brand is art. It is not just clothing. It is art that is meant to motivate and inspire people of all walks of life. I want people to feel empowered, rebellious, yet unified in my clothing.”
Justin has also studied the works of Jean Michel Basquiat. We visited the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia a while back; we went to every level of the museum. Finally, we find the room in which Basquiat’s work hung delicately on the wall.
He stared at Basquiat’s vibrantly colored figure painting “Catharsis” for a few minutes and then began reading his biography on wall next to it.
“I’ve got so many design ideas in my head now,” Justin says, while walking out of the elevator of the museum.
When it comes to designing and researching other artists and designers, there are only a select few he pays very close attention to.
“I am mostly inspired by Yves Saint Laurent himself, Rick Owens, and Rock Bands. I also like skaters and their street style,” says Justin. “I’m very selective with fashion, but I’m usually on the side of the more black the better.”
Justin’s style comes off as precise, sporadic, and versatile. He draws inspiration from everything he experiences in life. “If it’s a girl twirling her hair while walking down the street in a bikini and platform heels,” he laughs, thinking of this very image he saw in Portland, adding, “To God’s design of the cellular structure of fish scales under a microscope.”
Justin says he mimic a lot of styles from different design disciplines. “This helps me to learn more than I would just using my own style, this randomness I love about art and this madness is combined with my ideal of crisp lines and that is when you get me and my style.”
“So yeah, I don’t think I actually have a style. It’s the No Name style,” says Justin.
With a plethora of projects being produced at this very moment, in landscape projects and clothing designs, Justin tells the young creative and even the older ones that you have to go out and experience life before you can design a masterpiece.
“Every piece is a collection of you over a period of time,” says Justin. “I want people to realize that they are modeling every single day of their lives and that people are art too.”
“I wanted OMNI to be art for the masses, not just elitist.”
Justin has experienced many things in his 23 years of being on this Earth, and he does not plan on stopping any time soon. After he finishes his degree in Landscape Architecture, he plans on working at a firm that only specializes in neighborhood design.
He also plans to focus more on OMNI. “I see OMNI being established, growing, and becoming a force in my community,” he says.
“I wanted OMNI to be art for the masses, not just elitist,” Justin says.
This is only the beginning of Justin’s story. He has so much more to share with the world.
His advice to young people and older people is that everyone blooms in different seasons. He says do not be quick to judge because your season just may end while your competitors flourish.
“We are all different, but we have the power to ignore those differences.”
Justin’s motto: “I may be late, but you don’t know what I’ve been through to get here.”
Photos of Justin taken by: @tdmadeit
For more information about OMNI Clothing, go to www.omnistarkville.bigcartel.com.