“We need more Cathedrals, photographs, paintings, poems, and stories created by people with supernatural faith to remind us all of what we struggle to believe. God is real. God is with us. God longs for each of us to be with Him forever in heaven.”
Katie Warner interviews Catholic artists and artisans about their crafts, asking how their art impacts the Church and their faith impacts their work.
Tell me a little about who you are and about your craft.
I went through Catholic schooling, married my high school sweetheart and am now a father of one (so far) living in San Diego, California. I love scouring YouTube for old videos from Venerable Fulton Sheen, contributing articles to Those Catholic Men and testing software for a living. In my shrinking free time, I run my Catholic Apparel brand SIGNUMX where I am trying to make an impact in the Catholic world through threads.
When did you start writing? What inspired you to do this as a career, part-time work, ministry, or hobby?
SIGNUMX was born in 2017. While this is my side hustle, I spend a great deal of time on the business because I do everything for it (website, social media, design, marketing, sales, etc.). There aren’t really any brands in the Catholic world that are stylized like Volcom, Billabong, for example, and I sought to fill that void. I sought to produce a lifestyle brand where people could join this movement to bring others to Christ in a subtle, SoCal (Southern-Californian) way. Everything starts with, “What does SIGNUMX mean?” and then the rest is up to you to become that fisher of men.
How does your faith influence your business?
My faith is 100% my brand. SIGNUMX is our take on the Latin phrase: Signum Crucis, the Sign of the Cross. The X was adopted to represent both a cross and sword, reminding us of the strength we find in our faith amid spiritual warfare. I wanted to wear clothes that fit my style and visibly expressed my Catholic faith.
Can you pick a favorite work you’ve done recently? Tell me a little about it.
I’m proud of our latest T-shirt that I designed and printed. It’s called “Fishers of Men” and has designs on both the front and the back. I’ve always grown up with surf/skate-style apparel because we live near the beach and so I attempted to replicate that style here. There’s nothing extremely intricate about the shirt and I leverage the wonderful world of commercial-free images to help me out with some designs. I boldly put “Catholic Apparel Co.” in big letters on the shirt. While I normally like subtlety, I really wanted to try and bring something new to the Catholic clothing world. I wear it any chance I get!
Why do you think Catholic art has such an important role to play in the Church?
Modernity is on a quest to eradicate anything sacred. What makes our [art] so different is that it doesn’t seem to be for man. When you walk into a Church, it’s easy to question why so much money would be spent on one building, but the moment when you see the light shining through the stained glass, as the priest raises a gold-plated chalice to the sky, you begin to understand: art is how we attempt to communicate with God.
To whom do you turn for inspiration?
Venerable Fulton Sheen is a gift from God. I’ve gone through as many videos as I can find on YouTube because I am profoundly moved every time I hear him speak. He captivates both children and adults alike. He was such a showman but never a showoff man and I have always admired his approach to evangelization. Someday, I hope to be half the man he was.
Name one piece of advice/wisdom that has had a great influence on your work.
While a lot of wisdom from saints, apologists, and the great Catholic works mean a lot to me, I find that what keeps me motivated to push forward comes from a simple quote from Jordan Peterson: “Clean your room.” This statement is profound to me, because it was the catalyst for me to take ownership of my failures, grow up, and embrace the responsibility I once shirked. If I ever want to make an impact in the world, I had to start with my room. After my room, I fixed my prayer life. After my prayer life, I fixed my relationships, and so on.
If people want to explore your work in more detail, where can they look?
Check out our shop here: thesignofthecross.com
Social Media here: instagram.com/signum_x and twitter.com/signum_x
and articles here: thosecatholicmen.com/author/zach-blodgett/