BMX legend Rick Thorne likes to stay busy.
The Kansas City transplant's had his hands in everything from TV (including a relatively famous episode of MTV Cribs) to music (his band, Good Guys in Black, opened for the Adicts in LA just a few weeks ago) to social media, Thorne is always finding new ways to keep himself entertained when he's not riding his bike or taking care of his two young kids.
Thorne's latest project, art-driven clothing line Thorns and Grit, brings him to a partnership with heralded OC skateboard/punk rock/tattoo artist Steven "Grit" Lombardi to create the dream they both have of a clothing brand that isn't pigeonholed into a single style.
"It's not a BMX brand, it's not a skateboarding brand, it's not a music brand," Thorne says. "It's about art and music and the lifestyle of it all. Life's a ride."
Although many of the designs will likely have a few consistent themes (humor, action sports and music references, etc.), the foundation of the brand comes from the things that Thorne and Lombardi know best, from subject matter to attitude.
"It's an art brand for the world," Thorne says. "The things we put on our shirts are things we actually do. It's not just the music and the art, but also being positive. I'm all about PMA (positive mental attitude), and I've reached parts of my life where I've lost that, but I always try to express it now."
Between Thorne's experience in nearly all forms of entertainment and Lombardi's extensive history as an artist, the duo certainly has the background to do almost whatever they want with the brand. For Lombardi, who left the corporate life of designing graphics for everything from the biggest skateboard companies (Baker, Deathwish, etc.) to world-famous rock bands (Pearl Jam, NOFX, Bad Religion, etc.) to become a freelance artist and spend more time with his wife and two sons, Thorns and Grit represents two things: freedom and fun.
"A lot of companies want to be serious all the time, but that sucks the fun out of it," Lombardi says. "We want it to be fun the whole time. It's like skateboarding. Skateboarding is fun the whole time. If it's not, maybe you shouldn't be doing it."
While most modern brands tend to find their niche and stick to it, Thorns and Grit plans on simply following their inspiration to wherever it goes next rather than looking at the trends and marketing strategies of other companies. After all, if it wasn't for following dreams (and social media), Thorne and Lombardi likely never would've met.
"We met on Instagram when he commented on one of my photos," Thorne says. "I had just left a clothing sponsor and I had this dream of finally doing my own clothing. I checked out his work, and the rest was an internet romance."
As to where those inspirations will lead them, it's still a mystery to the two founders. Both have built solid reputations and networks in their respective fields, but neither knows exactly what Thorns and Grit will grow into. Collaborations? Maybe. More than just t-shirts? Probably. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess.
"We just want to let it evolve naturally and not put restraints on it," Lombardi says. "We just want to grow it and learn with it."
For more info on Thorns and Grit, follow @thornsandgrit on Instagram and check out their web store. To learn more about the founders, check out Rick Thorne's website, Instagram and Twitter (@rickthorne) and Steven Lombardi's website and Instagram (@grittyarts).