Meet Minty

Meet Minty

Every Sunday we introduce you to people in our community who are making a difference. This week we invite you to meet a man proud to call himself a "blockhead"

Kendall Balchan image

Kendall Balchan

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December 12, 2021

The people who make Palm Springs like no place else

Minty isn’t what’s on his birth certificate, but it’s the name he identifies with most. It emerged years ago when coworkers decided they all needed nicknames, and they landed on Minty, a derivative of his last name. And it stuck. Only years later, right before his father died, did he find out they shared the nickname. Today it’s also the identity of a passion that turned into a hobby and is now a small business — Minty’s Design, which celebrates all things breeze blocks, a staple of midcentury architecture and design.

Minty didn’t come to Palm Springs for the midcentury modern design, but once he was here — and on one of the first tours of those houses with flat roofs — he saw a breeze block wall and was struck with inspiration. He loves the creativity that exists within the four walls of a cement block. For many artists, they pick a medium and then choose different subject matters to render in that medium. For Minty, it’s the opposite: he chooses the subject matter, and renders it in every possible medium — keychains, lamps, coasters, ice cube trays, ornaments, phone cases, you name it.

While breeze blocks seem like a niche sub-interest of the midcentury modern design, Minty says once he explains to people what the blocks are, they start seeing them everywhere. And for those in the know, it’s a wink and a nod that they’re part of the same club. It’s an international club as well. Some two-and-a-half years after he began making breeze block–inspired objects, he got on Instagram and discovered a world of “blockheads,” as he calls them. He’s met people from Australia, the UK, and he even exchanges breeze block–inspired gifts with a fellow blockhead in Japan.

Minty is a one-man band, from the original idea to sketches, model making, fabrication, package design, logistics, sourcing, marketing, and social media. He loves the work and the problem solving and says his favorite item he makes is the keychain because it took a lot of problem solving and tinkering to get it right. Now, every time he looks at it he’s reminded of what it took to get there.

For this lifelong artist, it’s all come full circle. The breeze block started as an architectural detail, was transformed by Minty into myriad objects, and now he’s helping a family incorporate breeze blocks into their home’s design through paneling. There’s a through line in Minty’s careers that may not seem obvious — from working in a natural history museum and learning about fabrication, to working in design for a plastics company, to now working at a hardware store. But he’s used the skills he learned from each job to do what he loves and share his love of breeze blocks with the world. Get to know Minty below.

AGE: 58

OCCUPATION: Ace Hardware associate and Minty’s Design owner.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE DESERT? 6 years

WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE? Weather, friends, affordability, it was something different, and there’s a proximity to the airport.

WHAT KEEPS YOU HERE? The same as above.

DO YOU HAVE FAMILY HERE? My husband.

HOW DO YOU BEAT THE HEAT? Movies and chilled cocktails.

DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY BY WHICH YOU LIVE? Don’t get caught up in the negative and things go much more smoothly. 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT? Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge, Mr. Lyons, and Fisherman’s Market (the fish tacos!).

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST ISSUE FACING OUR COMMUNITY? Homelessness.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO OR PLACE TO GO IN THE DESERT? Drinks by the pool with friends.

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL PEOPLE ABOUT PALM SPRINGS THAT THEY MIGHT NOT ALREADY KNOW? You’re gonna love our airport!

WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? Duck fat fries at The Colony Club.


Know somebody we should feature in Palm Springs Profiles? Reach out to Kendall Balchan at [email protected]

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