Head Glove Designer
Absolutely Ridiculous Innovation for Athletes Collective
An Exclusive Interview with
✘, the mind behind Absolutely Ridiculous Gloves.
✘, or Cross-stitch as some call him, is the mastermind and orchestrator behind the ideas, creation and direction of the products and stories shared at A.R.i.A. Every glove he makes is intended to make wearing a glove and playing catch more fun, even if just for 1 ballplayer or fan. Through a vision of bringing people, places and things to life in glove form, ✘'s imagination will help take the ARiA Collective far beyond the sport he loves as the Collective helps reimagine the sports we play.
Currently Resides in Nashville, TN
Who is ✘ and when did he first appear?
We don't exactly know. ✘ is a famous - but anonymous - American baseball glove and sporting goods artist. He keeps his identity a secret and makes his public appearances through the character you see above.
A lot of his art is done in a particular style which people can easily recognize where he brings people, places and things to life in sporting goods form, particularly through baseball gloves.
Although lots of people have tried to guess who he is, his identity is yet to be confirmed.
Is ✘ real?
✘ is real. He runs an instagram account at @imaginedbyx to communicate with fans and often helps with customer service and social media for @ariagloves as well where he signs off with his signature "-✘" to confirm it's him. He has also been at official Absolutely Ridiculous LLC events without anybody noticing. Without ✘ none of this would exist. So yes, ✘ is real.
What is ✘'s style?
Every glove that ✘ makes is bringing to life a person, place or a thing into sporting goods form. His pieces are always created from scratch through cut and sew and creative technique to assure the sporting goods performance is never compromised. He also leaves behind hand signed touches to allow a verification process to prove that it's an official imagined by ✘ glove.
Is ✘ an athlete?
✘ revealed that he played college baseball and grew up playing baseball, basketball and football through high school. This is the extent as to what we know at this time.
How did ✘ begin designing baseball gloves?
"I had an idea for a baseball glove that I had pitched to a major glove brand. Their response was that it was "absolutely ridiculous." They didn't think players cared about how a glove looked and "players only care how a glove performs." They also thought my glove idea was just a toy and would cost too much to make. So I learned how to make them. It really was that simple. I used baseball gloves as a player for 20 years so I considered myself at an advantage and sought out the guidance of the top experts in glove design and manufacturing to learn from. I learned that the industry was behind from where it should be, and found ways to help improve the glove while making gloves more fun to use. It was a couple years of learning before ever selling."
Why does ✘ keep his identity a secret?
"I like to keep the focus on the art, not the individual. To me, a person's perception of art can be swayed based on their own personal perception of the artist. By removing myself from the art it allows for an individual to form a truly original and personal take on the art alone." -
What is ✘ trying to say through his art?
"It's simple to me. I want to bring the focus of sports back to being about fun. When a baseball glove brand executive told me that players only care about how a glove performs, not about how a glove looks, I realized the disconnect there really was between brands and players. I want to challenge the imagination of not just the players, but also of the other brands and leagues to encourage creativity and fun in sports. I want to collaborate with them, not be a competitor to them. By doing this I truly believe that baseball can be at the forefront of art and culture. It all begins with being more open to fun."
What all does ✘ do at Absolutely Ridiculous LLC?
✘ has his hands in everything. He comes up with the idea, the theme, and how to execute it to tell a story. Every product, image and sound begins with ✘ and has his imagination in it. He stresses however that though he is the orchestrator, he doesn't do it alone. "The ideas are mine from the beginning and I mold it as we go alone to make the vision come to life. But the team, the team helps make what's in my head come to life while oftentimes adding their own spins and imagination to them. They take what's in my head and help share that with the rest of the world."
Does ✘ have a favorite quote?
"Everything you can imagine is real." - Pablo Picasso
Will we ever meet the real ✘?
"You already have. You just haven't realized it yet." - ✘