The Story

About Em & Ahr

Em & Ahr was founded on the streets of NYC. Our brand name (Em & Ahr) sounds and refers to the phonetic initials (M.R.) of our artist and creator, Martin Rosenthal—otherwise known as Marty, or Marty The Seltzer Man. Though its first designs were created in 2008, Marty has been designing and displaying all his products as a street vendor in NYC since 1991.

The very first t-shirt design in 2008 featured James Baldwin. After Marty finished reading The Fire Next Time, he wanted to share his appreciation for Baldwin and his greatness. The design was popular with others, too, and soon Marty commemorated another inspiration of his: Jack Kerouac. Each design reflects Marty’s personal influences, channeling both memory and inspiration to create these idiosyncratic impressions of Marty’s lifetime heroes. You can view the stories behind each design in the product descriptions here.

The Em & Ahr collection has come a long way since then, but its punchy, dreamlike aesthetic and sentimental depictions of classic artists remains unchanged. From Baldwin to Kurosawa to Camus, our curated assemblage of portraits are unified by their profound influence on Marty, as well as his desire to share his love of these great writers, musicians, athletes and cinematographers.   

We are passionate about creating timeless and unique pieces of art that are as meaningful to you as they are to Marty.  Thanks for browsing our collection. We hope you’ll find something you can wear again and again for years to come.

The Process

When deciding on a subject, Marty takes several days to mull it over and sleep on it. After an inspiration has formed, Marty fully submerges himself with the subject matter in order to gage a better vision. For several weeks, Marty reads books, listens to music and watches documentaries until finally something clicks and bam— Marty is connected with the project. He and the artwork become one as he paints away. Over the span of weeks, Marty goes over proportions, sketches, quotes, drafts and constant trials and errors till it is perfect. Each design is uniquely created from scratch and carefully assembled together to deliver something extraordinary.

About Marty The Seltzer Man

Martin Rosenthal has been creating art since his youth, but began formally developing his talents at the Pratt Institute in NYC. After serving in the Vietnam War, Marty traveled the world and returned home to New York City, where he launched a line of unique products inspired by his experiences and imagination. Marty has designed portraits of various writers, directors, musicians, and athletes who have inspired him in his lifetime. Marty was also widely known as “Marty The Seltzer Man” due to his iconic painted truck he would deliver seltzer to in the Manhattan area. When he’s not spending time with his family, he continues to create art and occasionally delivers cases of seltzer.

Marty is featured in countless articles and blogs, as well as being mentioned in novels and books. 




Read more about Our Mission & Purpose


Em & Ahr


P.S. If you would like to see more paintings, stories and artworks, check out our instagram @EmAndAhr. Connect with us to suggest and vote on future designs.

P.S.S. Since you got this far, you just found a hidden gem! We’d like to reward you with 15% off 😊 Click here to claim, or use code "15off"