Marc Ecko: NY Daily News: Marc Ecko reveals chubby Jersey kid roots, early talents with airbrush in 'UNLABEL'

September 22nd, 2013

NY Daily News
by Marc Ecko
September 22, 2013

Before he was Marc Ecko — the millionaire fashion designer who bought Barry Bonds’ record home run ball and popped an asterisk on it — he was Marc Milecofsky, a chubby kid from suburban Lakewood, N.J., with a love for hip hop and a talent for art. His new book “UNLABEL” brings you from his humble beginnings airbrushing T-shirts and girls’ fingernails to the height of his fame and through the ups and downs between. In this excerpt, he wins over his parents to get his first business on track.

When I was 12, during a Dig Dug binge at the 7-Eleven, I stumbled on the latest issue of Black Beat magazine. It had L.L. Cool J on the cover. But that was not what stopped me dead in my tracks. It was what he was wearing: a sweatshirt painted with an airbrushed photo of, well, L.L. Cool J as a B-boy version of himself. And the wildest part was that the article wasn’t about L.L. but about the artists who made the shirt: some guys called the Shirt Kings from Queens. My mind was blown.

It would serve as Exhibit A.

I practiced my spiel, looked in the mirror, honing my powers of persuasion. “This will be a good experience for me. This will pay for itself.” And that night at the family dinner table, before I took a bite of my dry-ass turkey, I just blurted it out: “Can I get an airbrush and air compressor?”

My mom half squinted at me. “A what?”

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