(Part 1 of 2.) Evolution Stops Here (aka ESH) started as my personal side-hustle passion-project to release some unbridle creative energy… Design some cool vector-based illustrations, put them on a t-shirt, and sell them at local punk shows. I came up with designs based on iconography and symbolism exploring the human condition, especially our duality. In his 1965 book, “The Lonely Man of Faith,” Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik (1903-1993) came up with the idea of ‘Adam I’ versus ‘Adam II’ as a way to reconcile the two accounts of how God created humanity according to Genesis. David Brooks takes this further in his book “The Road to Character” (Random House, 2015):
“Adam I is the external Adam, it’s the resume Adam,” Brooks explained. “Adam I wants to build, create, use, start things. Adam II is the internal Adam. Adam II wants to embody certain moral qualities, to have a serene inner character, not only to do good but to be good. To live and be is to transcend the truth and have an inner coherence of soul. Adam I, the resume Adam, wants to conquer the world… Adam II wants to obey a calling and serve the world. Adam I asks how things work, Adam II asks why things exist and what ultimately we’re here for.”
The ESH shirts quickly attracted a small audience who loved the designs and the abstract concepts behind them. Word-of-mouth spread, referring to Evolution Stops Here as a ‘badass brand for badasses’. We moved from selling at local punk shows to local MMA shows. We sponsored a local wrestling hero who became the headliner of our largest MMA promotion. When we launched our website and social media platforms, we photographed and profiled local ‘badasses’ of different sports to ‘model’ our gear. Soon they became known as Esh Models (because they were role models in our community). We even got them to walk the runway for several sold-out shows at Louisville’s Fourth Street Live!. As the ESH community expanded, individuals would post themselves in photos and video wearing the apparel doing badass stunts on social media platforms. Some of them became notable influencers today such as the Hacksmith and Jujimufu.
In this portfolio presentation, you will see the designs that lean towards Adam I—iconography that evokes our inner nature to ‘conquer the world’.