Thursday Spotlight: Meet the Wizard Behind Brooklyn Airlines, Ertac Uygun

Perhaps you’ve seen his I Don’t Hate New York tote. Or the hilarious, oddball Brooklyn Airlines tote. No, the borough does not have an airlines, but it does have a prolific creative who started that very company and its addicting, delightful brand. Graphic designer Ertac Uygun keeps busy not just with this company but a host of other clients in the music, event, non-profit, and fashion sectors. Here, Greenpointers catches up with the local artist to discuss his career and favorite spots to nosh.
Greenpointers: Do you live in the neighborhood, and if so for how long?
Ertac Uygun: I’ve lived in South Williamsburg since 2012.  The neighborhood doesn’t have the same energy from seven years ago but I’m still optimistic; Williamsburg is an incredible place to live. Full of creatives and good vibes.
What got you into graphic design?
Vintage magazines. I came across a box of vintage magazines when I was about 13. I recall being amazed and impressed as a kid by their colors, patterns, and illustrations. Also, drawing and doodling were my favorite crafts during my younger years.  After I  graduated from high school I worked as an intern for an outdoor advertising company where I developed my photoshop and illustration skills and learned how to do a design for prints. I worked for the same company until I graduated from college.

Who are some of your favorite clients to work with? Or if you can’t pick favorites, what have been some of your most rewarding projects?
My clients range from NGOs to fashion lines, jewelry brands, event companies, bloggers, music clubs, festivals, record labels, and musicians. I guess I had the  biggest pleasure to work with Jazz Festivals such as NYC Winter Jazzfest, designing a  poster for the legendary Herbie Hencock’s Celebrate Brooklyn concert, and album covers for Nublu Records.
Ertac Uygun
In your time designing, how have you felt the Brooklyn arts community and scene has evolved?
Rent increases in Manhattan brought artists, creatives, and young professionals to Brooklyn because it is the closest borough to the Downtown and Midtown Manhattan. Most of them have flexible work schedules, or they work from their home office. Work coffee shops and co-working spaces affected these people’s working rituals. But people got the chance to work with multicultural, creative people. It gives you chance to learn things from people around the world. I think this makes Brooklyn different and all the madness started after this. I’m lucky to see this change day by day but it’s also hard to avoid seeing the gentrification.
Do you have any favorite spots to eat, drink, or work in the nabe?
I love Peter Pan Donut shop. There is always a line but this place is definitely worth the wait. Whenever I go it feels like time machine. Old fashioned donuts and coffee always make me happy. I can eat a whole shelf of donuts, I swear.
Frankel’s is definitely another spot that everyone needs to try once. It has become my Saturday morning routine to go there and eat the pastrami sandwich. And A/D/O is the perfect spot to get some work done. It’s open lighting and creative vibe motivate me a lot.
Anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?
I’ve been always thinking of doing a side project related to Brooklyn and trying to find a cool name for the idea. One day I came up with the name Brooklyn Airlines thinking it would be a super cool brand name. Then I had to figure out how I can put my design on products like tote bags and t-shirts. It got a great attention from locals and Brooklyn lovers from all around the world, from France to Japan. I’m on the process of creating a new collection for fall now that I am super excited to share with Brooklyn Airlines customers.

About Billy McEntee

Billy McEntee has been fortunate to work for arts non-profits in Boston, Denver, Berkeley, and now New York. His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Brooklyn Magazine, Indiewire, HowlRound, Eclectica Magazine, and others. He's usually getting wine at Dandelion or eating cookies at Archestratus.

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