I met Marco “Blue” Johnson in early 1994. This was right after Dallas Austin dropped Yall So Stupid from Rowdy Records. I was spending a lot of time developing my skills as an artist… and I linked up with Menelik, Karl Injex and Wayne Briggs. They had formed a multimedia company and enlisted me as an illustrator. We were working on everything from clothing designs to brochures. One day, a collective of cats from DC had come through the doors. Their team was called 2620 and was spearheaded by Kenny Burns. Each member had their own aspirations but they rolled as a single unit. I remember there being so many of them that I couldn’t remember their names. It didn’t matter in the beginning because, Kenny did most of the talking. But as they secured themselves in Atlanta, I began to see who they were.
Marco Blue was one of their members and he spoke the least of them all. He was the last person in 2620 to tell me what he had planned. “I’ma open this Pita shop H and I want you to do my logo. I’m gittin’ all of the permits and licenses together as we speak!” He laid out every detail involved but, I wanted to know what he thought visually. “Just do what you do man, I like your work and I know you can hook me up… just make that shit fly!!”
A few weeks later I finished his logo. It was hand-drawn and inked on 360 Paper. I gave it to Blue and to my surprise, there were no changes to be made. “You got me lookin RIGHT!! I love this shit and I’m bout to do this for real!” …from that day forward, he did just that. The store opened, he weathered the slow times and he saw his hard work pay off. In the following years he expanded the chain and opened a second location. He also did well with recruiting his staff, whom also used the shop for their services. Jax of Binkis Rec’s, Dj Mars and Dj Drama all worked there and sold their CD’s.
Along with the growth of Marco’s Pita, came the transformation of the original drawing. I’d given it to him in clean black ink and that was the last time I ever saw it. I ran into Blue one day and he pulled me to side and said, “look at what i did to your logo!” He’d added color to it and I remember saying to myself, “that’s different!” It was obvious that the original had seen its share of low-res scans. But Blue was excited about it and that was all that mattered to me.
I can’t say that I would’ve picked that same color combination… and I’m not sure if I’d have used the one that I’m using now, back then. But after 16-years of progress, I’d say this touch-up was well overdue. There’s one more interesting encounter I had with Blue about this logo. Two years after i gave it to him we were in a club and he asked me, “why does the guy have ear plugs on?? Everybody keeps asking me that!!” I leaned over to him and said, “cuz he aint tryn’a hear nothin’ but them pitas!”
Photos appear courtesy of Marco “Blue” Johnson.
Videos appear courtesy of DirtyTV and Brandi Pettijohn.