Speaker shares ‘Mojo’ with students

January 29, 2009

by Donyelle Davis

Louisiana Tech Enterprise Center presented Doug Kennedy, local entrepreneur and co-owner of Mojoware, at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 as a part of the center’s Art and Entrepreneurship Speaker Series.

Dave Norris, director of the Enterprise Center, said the objective of the series is to give students and artists in the community good examples of artists that have become successful.

“We want to bring someone to the community that can answer questions about what to do after school,” Norris said. “[We want] to encourage students to finish whatever [project] they are working on.”

Kennedy, a Tech graduate, said he and his twin brother John, started Mojoware in 1989.

“I graduated in ’86 and I knew I didn’t want to work. My brother was a stockbroker, which he didn’t like very much,” he said. “So we decided to try out [selling] T-shirts.”

Kennedy said Mojoware premiered in the Pecanland Mall in Monroe, but it wasn’t until they appealed to the Japanese market that they began to reach the peak of their success.

“I used mostly black and white designs,” he said. “I was influenced by the [voodoo-like] New Orleans style and everything I did was hand drawn.”

Kennedy also said his work has been featured on actors such as Hillary Duff, Brad Pitt and Seth Green, who wore a Mojoware shirt in the film “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.”

“I’m always trying to do different things with the T-shirts,” he said. “I’m getting into photography and experimenting with dying the shirts. It gives the shirts an earthly, hippie feel. I’m just playing around with different techniques.”

Kennedy also said he strongly encourages students to emphasis on drawing by hand and to not rely on the computer for graphic design.

“In school you have to do every exercise and take it with you,” he said.

He also said it is important for students to not get discouraged while trying to get their work to the public.

“It’s important to start [your work] rolling in some direction,” he said. “Some things people aren’t going to like, but it’s OK, move on and get [your work] out there.”

Reuben Delery, a sophomore communication design major, said he could relate to Kennedy’s laid back attitude and urban deigns.

“He inspired me because his style is similar to mine,” Delery said. “I don’t spend all night on my work. I’m laid back. He’s laid back and successful. So it can be done.”