What started as a creative experiment last summer for artist Jenna Goldberg has swiftly turned into a successful and slightly snarky T-shirt company, Milkcan Industries. The company sells graphic tees, mugs and stickers with a sense of humor, featuring locally famous Rhode Island landmarks and clever slogans to appeal to Rhody’s unique identity.
Primarily a furniture maker, Jenna was inspired to branch out and fill the giant hole, as she describes it, in creative Rhode Island T-shirts. Her designs poke fun at the state, but with love – she has a soft spot for our underdog reputation.
“We have a sense of pride,” she says, “but also a lot of grime around the edges.” And it is this grime, so to speak, that provides the humorous edge to Jenna’s designs.
Some highlights from the collection include tees with an H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu engulfing the Manchester Street power plant; the abandoned Milkman Creamery milk can on Route 146 with the words “Where charm meets neglect”; Superman posing triumphantly in front of downtown’s vacant Industrial Trust building; and Pawtucket’s own pyramid, the Apex building. The milk can tee is Jenna’s favorite, and inspired the company’s name.
Though she has lived in multiple states and overseas, Jenna finds Rhode Island’s style and charm to be distinct from anywhere else. The abandon and neglect to which local landmarks have succumbed, however, is painful, especially to an artist. Jenna hopes that her tees will encourage people to appreciate – and maybe repair – our local history.