The Tallest of New Orleans Tales: Mike Collins of the Vibrant Brand TALL TALE is Officially Opening a Storefront [Interview]

TALL TALE:  A story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual.

Hands down, one of the most unique, humble and creative brands to come out of the city of New Orleans is Mike Collin’s TALL TALE Brand. Having been around for about nine years, we’ve witnessed the formation and progression of the brand. Not only is TALL TALE a brand, it’s its own form of art. Really, how Collins is able to take his visions from paper, to graphics, and end with expressive art is beautiful.


Having known Collins for about two years now, it’s been a sight to see his collective brand of clothes and art grow. Positive progression is a definite sight. When the news broke that his immediate future plans were to open an official TALL TALE Storefront, TALL TALE Studios, I was both hyped for the brand and myself.

One of my most favorite aspects of TALL TALE is how Collins incorporates his art into both his clothes and brand. The designs seen on his clothes are a combination of his hand drawings, graphic design, and mindset. “I’d say about 70% is hand drawn and 30% is fully digital,” says Collins. As a fan of illustrations, his sometimes simple, yet almost always vibrant art brings a level of aesthetic that most brands strive for.

TALL TALE ‘Outer Body’ Fall 2018
Lookbook available here.

Throughout our interview, Collins really opens up and becomes vulnerable about the process he’s gone through to get where he is today, specifically as an artist. He focuses in on lacking confidence to consider himself a natural artist, not capable of showing his creations to the world. With time comes confidence though, and with his storefront TALL TALE Studios set to open in the immediate future, I’d say it’s a triumph.

After being briefed on his inner mind, I re-routed back to his art to observe it from his perspective, and it was mind boggling. It brought his art to an entire different level for me, personally.


Check out my interview with Mike below and learn more about what he stands for and what we can expect with TALL TALE STUDIOS.


NG: Tell me about yourself. How old are you, where are you from and what is it you do?

TT: My name is Mike Collins. I am 30 years old, originally from Baton Rouge, and I’m an Artist and Creator of the brand TALL TALE.

NG: What is TALL TALE? What’s behind the meaning of “TALL TALE”?

TT: TALL TALE is a clothing brand where every range is meant to tap into a different idea and tell a story around that idea.

NG: When did you start Tall Tale?

TT: It’s been around for about 9 years.


NG: When you originally started it, what was your vision behind the brand? (i.e. was your focus more on clothing or art or both?)

TT: When I first started TALL TALE, it was definitely more focused on the clothing aspect but in the last 2-3 years, I’ve grown more comfortable sharing my art through my brand.


NG: When you make your clothes, do you make your designs on the computer or do you draw them?

TT: With my clothing, I’ve seen myself transition into a more “hands-on” approach as it progresses.

I’d say about 70% is hand drawn and 30% is fully digital. I don’t have any design or art schooling, so a lot of my processes and techniques are things that I’ve developed and that work for me and my current design language.


NG: Have you always been into art/a good artist?

TT: I guess I’ve always been into art, but I wouldn’t say I’m a good artist. (you can be the judge of that)

NG: In terms of your painting, is that just what you see in your mind? What’s the inspiration behind the creatures, vibrance?

TT: Trying to paint what’s in my mind actually steered me away from making art for years. I would get so bummed that I couldn’t draw my favorite superheroes without looking at a reference. I couldn’t understand how cartoonists and comic book artists could create that kind of magic from “nothing”. It took until a few years ago to realize that I was just too young and there simply wasn’t anything in my mind yet, ha. I just hadn’t seen or been exposed to enough yet to have those kind of character references pre-stored in my head.

Since then, I have learned to embrace what I see and can’t see myself being limited to a certain drawing or specific drawing techniques.

The creatures are my love language, and they’re how I communicate my movement, energy and emotion; They are a way for me to capture my feeling.

Mike Collins, Creator of TALL TALE

At the moment, there are 3-4 characters I am playing with, but they go through phases. Sometimes they need to be portrayed as more feminine, and sometimes more masculine. Sometimes they’re confused, and sometimes they’re focused. It really all depends on the emotion that needs to come out.

Honestly, in terms of my colors, they come from a vision that I had a few years ago. I saw a place that I could only describe and it’s the same place our ancestors would go to to create. So, with the colors I’m basically trying to capture those same colors and textures I saw at that place.


NG: Why are you choosing now to open up the TALL TALE Studios storefront? Are you finally comfortable with where you’re at with TALL TALE?

TT: I’ve decided to open a storefront now because I finally feel comfortable with the things I’ve learned over the years. But, I will say that it’s the brand that leaves me feeling the most uneasy most of the time. I see where this thing can go and I’m not always sure that what I’m currently doing is going to get it to its full potential. I just have to put trust in myself and the brand and trust the way things are moving along.

NG: Future goals for the storefront?

TT: My main goal for TALL TALE Studios is for people to feel something. There’s a lot of energy in here already and I want people to take some of that with them when they enter.

NG: What is the date of the grand opening? If so, where will it be and will you have a celebration upon the opening?

TT: The official opening of the storefront TALL TALE STUDIOS, located at 2276 St. Claude Avenue is September 21, 2019. It will stand as fully-functioning store with typical business hours. Collins art, clothes and all things TALL TALE will be available for purchase.

The grand opening will be accompanied by Collin’s opening exhibition “FREQUENCY” from 7-12 pm.

Creativity in New Orleans is key, and Collins has mastered that. Be sure to check out the TALL TALE website, here, where you can find Collin’s lookbooks, visions, stocklists and contact information. Also, be sure to pull up to ‘FREQUENICES’ and be a part of the TALL TALE VIBE.


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