For one of our resident screenprinters and designers, St. Pete and creating are in his blood.
Adam Steadman has always created things.
As second generation St. Petersburg local who grew up in a creative family, he had plenty of opportunities to express himself. As a kid, he was involved in the arts, whether that was photography, music, or even cooking. In high school, that creativity turned to creating his own shirts by drawing on them with paint and pens. He dabbled in his friend’s dad’s screen printing company and got a taste for the business side of making art.
In college, he took art and screen printing classes but ultimately got an anthropology degree. “I loved creating things, but I didn’t think I could make a career out it,” says Steadman.
That changed when in 2006, he looked in his closet and said “I need some new shirts” and decided to start printing them again.
“I printed some of my first shirts for The Emerald and Cider House here in St. Pete and it took off from there.”
One of his designs for St. Pete Threads, the SP/FL, AC/DC inspired shirt was one of the first shirts he screen printed. Selling shirts wasn’t originally on the agenda – he says as a teenager he had a sort of “punk” attitude, and wanted to keep the shirts exclusive. After he began printing and selling the World Tour shirts with Chad Mize’s design, he realized it could become a business, and that a creative career could be possible.
Now Steadman runs his own screen printing business called Extra Medium Shirts. Don’t expect to find him online or to ‘like’ him on Facebook, his fan base grew entirely through word of mouth and referrals based on his great work.
He started printing St. Pete-specific shirts before St. Pete enthusiasm was as big as it is today. “Compared to when I was growing up, when everyone was trying to go away, now everyone wants to come back,” he says.
Nowadays, his work is everywhere. “I can’t go anywhere without seeing something I made, someone wearing one of the shirts. They’re just wondering why I’m staring and smiling at them.”
So what does this St. Pete native love about the city? “Number one has to be friends and family. Without the people you love, what’s the point?”
He names the warm weather as another huge plus, and likes that he was able to practically grow up on the beach. When he’s not working, he likes to be outside and enjoys kayaking, saying, “I love the balance between the city and nature.”
Although he’s traveled all over, including living in Tanzania for a year (which was also his senior year of college) he still finds himself wanting to be in St. Pete. “Sometimes it takes going to the other side of the globe to appreciate what you have back at home.”