‘Michigan’ and ‘art’ have become synonymous terms over the last few years. From the nationally recognized ArtPrize event in Grand Rapids, to the increasing amount of pop-up galleries, and the abundance of natural beauty to take in, Michigan is a place for artists and art lovers to explore their creativity.Graphic designer, photographer, and calligrapher Neil Tasker is doing just that.
After working full time as a freelance graphic designer while attending Oakland University, Tasker graduated in 2014 with an idea.
In August of 2015, Tasker made the leap from dreamer to entrepreneur with the creation of Ardent Ink.
Ardent Ink is a screen printing business inspired by Tasker and his father’s shared love for art and the outdoors.
Tasker’s designs are bold, woodsy, and made for anyone. Hunters, hikers, runners, and yoga enthusiasts. Every outdoor lover needs a little Ardent Ink in their wardrobe.
Each product is designed, created, boxed, and shipped by Tasker himself. This business churns out specialty designed t-shirts, hats, hoodies, and water bottles.
“I know Michigan,” said Tasker. “So, I started making the things I wasn’t seeing. It has really taken off.”
In addition to his degree in graphic design and freelance work, Tasker grew up helping his father and owner of Great Lakes Embroidery and Screen Printing in Madison Heights. Tasker was raised around the inks, screens, and the artistic process. You could say that design has always been in Tasker’s blood.
With a little inspirational help from his sister, Tasker settled on a business name early last year.
“’Ardent’ means ‘passionate’,” he said. “I am passionate about art and about using ink so I put the two together.”
In addition to purchasing Ardent Ink’s beautifully designed and quality products, all online customers receive a one-of-a-kind notecard with their name inked in calligraphy.
“I think that they add a special touch and let my customers know that there’s a human being behind the product,” said Tasker.
Of the many designs created by Ardent Ink so far, Tasker is most proud of his Capture Michigan Design. It is simple, yet, honest. For Tasker, Michigan is a place to “capture” – seasons, opportunity, events, time at the lake, a day out ice fishing – this, all of this and more, is what Michigan is all about.
“Eventually, I want to branch out and design similar work for other states,” said Tasker. “My ultimate goal is to take Ardent Ink national – like Patagonia but with more specialized designs.”
For now, Tasker still does freelance work occasionally for companies like the New York Times and the Big 3 but his main focus is on making Ardent Ink a full time, lucrative business. Why? Because Ardent Ink is his passion.
Interested in seeing more of Ardent Ink’s designs? Check out their website at Ardent.Ink or find them on Instagram. The Awesome Mitten Shop also features Ardent Ink’s Great Lake Water Bottle and Peninsula Beanie .