Reset In Peace is more than just a brand or a clothing company. After overcoming addiction and homelessness in Las Vegas, Long Island-born artist, Chris Ghiraldi created Reset In Peace, using iconic imagery and his ties with the Reno-Sparks Mission to create striking designs and help others who are right where he used to be at the same time. A portion of the proceeds from every item sold will go to the non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to overcoming homelessness, addiction, hunger and poverty in the Northern Nevada area. Chris recently talked with us about the story behind Reset In Peace, his road to recovery and getting involved in local non-profits. Read the full interview below.
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Reset In Peace for any readers who may not be familiar?
I am an artist and a musician. I went to SUNY Purchase for Fine Arts with an emphasis on painting. I released a few records under the moniker “Velapene Screen” in the vain of electronic music. I have also done some remixes for Interpol and Regina Spektor. I have always been creative. Unfortunately, drugs became a factor somewhere in the mix, but I am grateful to be in recovery. Reset in Peace came to fruition in recovery for me when I decided to start giving back and to do something with the drawings I created while homeless and on the streets.
You’ve been through quite a journey from first creating some of the designs on these t-shirts, to creating Reset In Peace, to using your talent to help others. What were some of the more monumental or important moments during your time in Las Vegas that would later inspire you to create Reset In Peace?
Las Vegas was quite a journey. It started out really well. I was employed and released a new record in the U.K. During the creation of that record I became heavily addicted to drugs and slowly started to lose everything from my music studio to my job to my apartment. From there I went into survival mode and saw what it was like to be on the other side of things. After receiving help from various shelters and food banks, and seeing people help others, it truly inspired me to be able to do that one day.
These designs each hold a special significance, but one thing that can be seen in almost all of them is the safety pin - how did this originate and what does the safety pin mean to you?
When I was homeless and living on the streets I had no belt. I was using a safety pin to hold my clothes together and keep my pants up. Eventually I started thinking of a safety pin as a “simple surgery” to fix things, somehow that translated into my heart and brain, as a “simple fix” to a big problem. I also aesthetically enjoyed the way it looked in my designs.
What has been one of your favorite designs you’ve created over the years and why?
It’s hard to pick a favorite because each one holds a different significance to a different time in my life. Each one has been a favorite at a different moment. At the present time, I’m really into my “spoiled milk” design because for a while I felt as though I was the spoiled milk. Obviously I’ve been able to come out of it.
Being a musician as well as an artist, how do you feel the two have merged over the years? How has music helped your art and vice versa?
It’s interesting to see how music that I listen to under headphones while living on the streets now has a different meaning in recovery. The same songs mean something different at different stages of my life. My music and art have always coexisted. I created music on an IPhone and had a sketchbook in my backpack when I had nothing else and it got me through some really horrendous times. It’s nice to have the art that I created during those times come to fruition now.
With the new year coming up, do you have any plans to release any new designs or expand at all?
Absolutely. I’m constantly working on new designs. Some will be limited edition. I’m also working on a line of clocks, believe it or not. I like how time plays with the images.
For any artists or even non-artists who are interested in working with non-profits in their area, how did you go about collaborating with the Reno-Sparks Mission? How would you recommend getting involved?
For me it was pretty simple. At one of my worst times the Reno-Sparks Mission was there for me. They kept me out of the cold, kept me fed, and gave me socks. When you have nothing left and someone gives you a pair of clean socks, you’ll never forget them. I decided that even though there were a lot of people and places that helped me along the way, the Reno-Sparks Mission really left an impression on me.
And for anyone who may be struggling with addiction, what words or hope, advice or encouragement would you want to give?
Don’t give up. Reach-out for help. Get connected with your local AA, NA or whatever-A you possibly can.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for taking an interest in me. It means so much for me to be able to get the word out about recovery and there is hope because if I was able to turn my life around, anyone can.