Dead Ink Apparel is a line of horror inspired streetwear that was started in October of 2011.  The company is run by me, Justin Haines, a washed up graphic designer turned corrections officer.  I'm presenting a genre-crossing line of apparel with unique and eyecatching designs in which I've taken inspiration from not only horror, but also the skateboarding culture, loud music, art and a party lifestyle.  Dead Ink Apparel is a direct reflection of myself and the things that I love.


I graduated from Youngstown State University in 2008.  I took a screen printing course instructed by Jack Carlton and pretty much fell in love with the process and the result.  Although I could never really come up with stuff to print, I did like the class a lot, and decided to take screenprinting further.  I used the screens that we made in class to do my first series of t-shirts.  It was super DIY, and I printed with my partner in crime, Joseph Zappa (check out his store on Etsy…amazing prints!).  We traveled together selling our artwork at art festivals.  Some of the shows we did were the Hermitage Arts Fest, McDonough Museum's Christmas show, Artists of the Rust Belt, and Artie Gras at Quaker Steak and Lube in downtown Sharon almost weekly.  

After my first 3 shirts, I bought a 4 color press and all the equipment I needed to try and actually make some quality shirts.  I printed my own creations and also printed for my friend's bands Sam Goodwill and The Sewing Machine War, and also for wrestler Flyin' Ryan Burke.

I ended up getting a full-time afternoons job which prevented me from attending the art festival circuit, so I kind of just fell back and quit doing it all together.  The printing press sat in the basement and collected dust.

In 2004, somehow I caught wind of a horror convention happening in Strongsville, OH called Cinema Wasteland.  They were having a 30th anniversary reunion of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre along with some cast from House of 1000 Corpses.  I liked it so much, I started to go to more.  Horrorhound Weekend, Monster Mania, Chiller Theatre, and Horrofind Weekend in locations such as Indianapolis, Cincinatti, New Jersey, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.  I wanted to be a part of these conventions, and I think I figured out how.

I bought a book on how to start a small business and studied it.  I jotted down notes and did all kinds of exercises making sure I wasn't missing any aspect this.  Since my dad had his own construction company, I went to him for guidance on starting my own business.  He helped out a ton, and provided me with some incredible studio space.  I dusted off the printing equipment and moved it from my mom's basement to the new studio (which was equipped with couches, a big screen tv, and a refrigerator filled with beer).

I designed and collected several designs from a couple friends for the first series of shirts and the rest is history.