Horsebites AKA Richard Minino resides in Orlando, Florida, USA. His work has been a mainstay in the alternative punk scene for the last decade and his work has graced numerous great albums and tee’s. But these days his work can more often be found through his work as a member of the VNM and the Black Axe. Part clothing brand, part design powerhouse, the VNM are creating some of the most exciting work in the alternative scene right now.

We were lucky enough to snag Richard in a quiet moment and he created the superb Code Blue for us. We asked Richard a few questions about his work and his piece for us.

 Q: Hey Richard, How are you doing today?

A: I’m doing great. Starting off the new year right with a massive hangover. Other than that I’m just looking forward to getting VNM and The Black Axe into another level this year.

Q: Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time out to produce such an incredible piece for us; we’re a huge fan of your work, so it’s been an honor sir!

A: Thanks for asking! Not many people take the time to get artists together anymore to produce limited prints anymore. At least that’s what it feels like for me. So I appreciate it.

Q: You’re quite an influential designer and some might say (we do) one of the pioneers of an artistic style within the alternative art scene, tell us a bit about how you started out in the industry?

A: I was delivering pizzas and touring a lot with my old band New Mexican Disaster Squad. I was also going to school and taking some art classes but never thought it would take me anywhere and I figured I would just end up being a delivery boy for life or if I did graduate then I’d be stuck designing brochures or something boring like that. So I started doing work for my band and some people caught on. The band Strike Anywhere actually was the first band to believe I could do something cool and that meant a lot to me. I tried really hard and made some terrible shirt designs which I thought were awesome at the time and so did they. It was a big confidence booster. Once those were out some other bands that were fans of Strike Anywhere started asking me to do stuff for them. Keep in mind I didn’t own a computer or knew how to use one for design so everything was by hand. I eventually did my first design on a crappy version of photoshop and learned so much through trial and error. I then took a class at my community college in illustrator and then I felt really confident. It all kind of trickled from there until I was getting enough jobs to match my wages at the pizza place and I left for tour and never came back to work. After working solo for a few years I somewhat built up a name for myself and started meeting other people in the field through jobs. I already knew Yardley (Skull With Hair) because we grew up in the same punk scene and then we met 2 other guys who were really good with web design. We started chatting a bit and met Derek Deal. We decided to not compete with each other but rather start up our own design firm where we could do everything under one roof. Even though Deal has left it still is going great and I consider myself very lucky to have this line of work.

Q: At Skull & Heart we know you more as Horsebites, but you’ve become involved in a collective called VNM, tell us a bit this and how it has changed the way you work?

A: VNM is actually a brand we started on the side. We always wanted to do a clothing brand of some sort but we just weren’t prepared with the proper funds yet. We got a great opportunity from a company that was starting up a distributing company who also owned a clothing line that we did a lot of work for. They figured out if we’re making most of their stuff and stuff for their competitors than why shouldn’t we start up our own thing with their help. It was fun in the beginning but just like any clothing brand shit got real and they realized we weren’t pulling in enough sales. For us we didn’t really care because it was just our side company and were also having problems with communicating since they were located overseas and we didn’t have full control. They dropped us pretty early on which was weight off of our shoulders mainly because we knew we weren’t what they expected and also we wanted full control because it was really fun for us. Now we do everything ourselves and are kicking ass. My dream would be for the company to support everyone and be it’s own thing but that’s hopefully in the future. For now we’re just really enjoying making whatever the hell we want and pissing off everyone.

Q: Take us through a typical day for you?

A: Well I blow the sheets off the bed with one massive fart and then I take the longest piss ever. Then my wife and I feed the dogs while we eat breakfast and then we walk them. It helps wake me up. After that I stare at youtube and blogs for a couple hours and then I finally get to work. I try to not work all the way in to the night but it seems like it usually ends up that way. I just repeat that until the weekend and then get really drunk and regret it all on monday.

Q: Who / what would you say are your influences in work? 

A: Huge influences for me would be John Pound (Garbage Pail Kids), Walt Disney, Pushead, Neil Degrasse Tyson and especially Jim Phillips from Santa Cruz skateboards. That dude is a god to me.

Q: Tell us about the piece you did for Skull & Heart.

A: I just wanted to do something a little more bold this time. I really like the mixed media look I used to do when I first started out with taking photocopied images and adding my illustrations around them. I had a lot of fun doing it and I also love that the colours were limited to only 2 plus the color of the paper. That’s how I do most of my work and it makes me work harder to make everything pop off the page.

Q: Can you tell us about any future projects in the works?

A: Yup, I’m mainly focusing on VNM this new year. We want to do skate-decks, vests, more hats, pins, rings, patches, shirts, flannels and some weirdo motorcycle parts. VNM really keeps me sane and I can’t think of what I want to do more.

Q: And of course, Skulls or Hearts?

A: I’d go with skulls. Mainly because I’m really squeamish when I see video footage of surgeries. Ugh, I hate it.

The Black Axe

All available artwork from Horsebites is available to purchase in our online store. Please click the images below to be directed to the item you are interested in.