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EotM: Dustyn Ellis


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Give us the basics!

I'm Dustyn Ellis from Austin TX. I'm into travel, design and vintage motorcycles.

What is your job at Urban Outfitters?

Currently I'm still on the Levis bike Tour, but before I left I was doing display work at Store 21 in Austin (2406 Guadalupe Street).

What do you like most about working for UO?

The creative environment and my co-workers. Everyone is really close at my store. They are like my family.

Which city on the Levi's Bike Tour was your favorite and why?

Chicago was a lot of fun. The weather was great and the people were even better. We got to ride the Critical Mass with 1,000 riders and that was crazy. Portland and backstage passes to Bon Iver wasn't bad either!

What was the craziest thing that happened on the road?

Probably coming within two miles of running out of gas in the middle of the night in the mountains of Utah. It was dark, scary, and we kept hearing strange noises off in the distance.

We heard you have a woodshop, what do you build?

Usually furniture and lighting, but I have done some installation pieces and restorations. Wood is my favorite medium - it has soul and character so I try to use reclaimed pieces for that exact reason. My lighting is often industrial inspired. Right now most of my projects are one of a kind, but currently I'm working on getting some of them into production. I still buy and sell antiques so I'm often working on some sort of restoration or refinish.

What was the most difficult thing you've ever built?

Tough question. You can't always measure difficulty just based on how much skill something takes to create. Some of the most difficult things I've ever built were also the simplest. I find that creating a simple design that has the ability to get across a certain message without becoming to complex or over worked is often the greatest challenge.

You work at Fast Folks bike shop, how did you get started as a mechanic?

I have always loved to ride bikes. When I first moved to Austin I lived around the corner from a small local shop that quickly became my hangout. That's were I learned the tricks of the trade.

Can you give us your top five tips on how to best take care of our bikes?

1. Inflate your tires daily.
2. Learn how to properly change a flat. It's the most common maintenance you will encounter.
3. Listen to the bike, it will tell you if something is wrong.
4. Keep your chain and bearings lubed.
5. Don't store your bike outside.

What was the best thing you've ever found while treasure hunting? The strangest?

I love finding antique hand tools. The strangest was probably a stuffed goose in full attack mode, like an eagle swooping in for its prey.

Where are your top five favorite places to look for antiques in Austin?

Uncommon Objects, Howl Interiors, City-Wide, Mercury Design Studio, and I'm always down for a trip to the Round Top Antiques Fair.

What made you want to create your jewelry line, Bag+of+Bones?

It's kind of funny. Bag+of+Bones started out as a side project for me to stay inspired and creative while I was in the process of moving and trying to find a new location for the wood shop. It was never meant to be to permanent, I just needed a way to create and use my hands while having limited space to work in.

Can you describe the line to us?

The line has a very natural and whimsical feel. I use lots of natural materials like leather, bone, and feathers. I'm notorious for finding things and picking them up. Every piece has a story and that's what I really like about making them.

What is your favorite piece from the collection?

My favorite piece is probably the necklace I made using a brass tag from the key to my hotel room in Marfa, TX. While visiting Marfa for inspiration, I stayed in the same room James Dean lived in when filming the movie Giant. That or the bee earrings, which are wood bees that I pinned and dried, then dipped in acrylic to harden. I painted them black and hung gold chains from the wings to the body..

What are your top five favorite songs of all time?

1. "When The Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin
2. "Mama Tried" by Merle Haggard
3. "Green River" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
4. "Do It Again" by Steely Dan
5. "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson and The Cavaliers

What's a typical weekend night out for you and your friends like?

Nothing too exciting. It would probably start with a motorcycle ride over to the east side, and then followed by lots of PBR and several trips to the jukebox.

You were introduced to us as having a penchant for arm wrestling. Tell us your best arm wrestling story!

For some reason, I love to arm wrestle. In Chicago on my birthday at a bar I was asked what I wanted to do and all I could think of was arm wrestling, so my tour mates walked around the bar and rounded up guys. After about four wins I started to draw a crowd and bigger competitors. This guy about twice my size, with hands as big as my face, sits down and tries to bet me $200. I figured my luck had run out but I went for it anyway and beat him. I couldn't believe it and neither could his girlfriend. I bet she is still making fun of him for losing.

Tell us something about you that not a lot of people know.

I speak a little Polish.

What's the best compliment you've ever received?

Not sure if it's the best, but someone once told me I was a "powerful ally."

Recommend a designer to us.

Tom Price, a furniture designer from the UK. He melts rope into really amazing chairs.