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Professor Rivard

It started with a skateboard. Which turned into an ad campaign. Now, Mark Rivard has started a movement.

Recently, Mark launched an art education program, The Mark Rivard Skateboard Art Education, a unique program designed to provoke and inspire students to strive for success through hard work and recognition of one’s potential.

Skateboards. Art. School. Stop it. Where the heck was this when I was trying not to bang my head against my desk praying 4th period would just end!?

Everyday we are blown away with what can start with Sharpie. Today, we have been blown to pieces, so we will let Mark tell you about it while we try and wrap our head around this amazing-ness!

Tell me! What have you been up to lately!?

What a rollercoaster ride it’s been since the 2011 campaign!  I have been busy!  The last year has seen so much opportunity for me it’s been unbelievable, but the most important opportunity came in the form of an idea I’ve had for quite awhile.  I started a skateboard art education program, which has been a passion of mine.  I’ve been creating art, painting, skateboards, sculptural pieces, just really letting the creative process grow which has been really interesting.  Life is good, and art is STILL FUN!

Skating selfie.

I know WE KNOW how, but tell us how you got started with Sharpie! 

My relationship with Sharpie started about five years ago when my aunt, who is an office supplies manager, mentioned to her Sharpie Rep that her nephew used Sharpie markers to illustrate skateboards.  That rep must have said something to the marketing team and the next thing I knew I was doing an interview for this very blog!  Then in 2009 I was invited to become a member of inaugural Sharpie Squad, from that opportunity we have just continued to spitball ideas and I am yet to find a better skateboard illustration tool…  There’s a lesson here too, foster your relationships.  Young artist are always asking me, “How did I get where I am?”   It’s those around you that are so instrumental in your success.  When I got my foot in the door with Sharpie I ate up every opportunity I could, I’ve been pestering the bigwigs over there for years with ideas and projects I want to work on (Pestering?! PLEASE- we love it!!) .  If someone would have told me five years ago that I would have the relationship I have today with Sharpie I would have thought they were crazy, but here we are, and you guys still answer my calls!!!  Thanks Sharpie, it’s been an incredible five years! Cheers to us! 

Since being THE skateboarding force behind 2011’s ad campaign- you have started up your own education program? Fill us in!

This has been the one thing in my life I can honestly say I am the most proud of.  I used the momentum and recognition that 2011’s Sharpie campaign afforded me and developed a program called Rivard Art Education.  I wanted to find away to give back, not only to skateboarding, but also to kids that are a lot like I was growing up.  School didn’t come naturally for me and I always had a hard time finding things that I was genuinely interested in.  The older I’ve gotten the more I realized my passion for helping people figure out their role in life.  I was fortunate in the things I’ve been through that I was able to find an outlet that I was so passionate about.  I was able to better my life because of it.  I want to help people learn to recognize that kind of drive in themselves.  School doesn’t have to be a drag ( seriously where were you during my 4th period class?!) and if I’m in a position to help make it better, even if it’s just for a few, than it’s something I am committed to doing.  I feel like with the campaign I was given the chance to use some of the inspirational themes to piggyback off of and create a, pay-it-forward, type momentum through the Rivard Art Education.

Professor Rivard and those lucky kids!

As for skateboarding and skateboard art itself, that is merely a tool.  I wrote this piece called “The Skateboarding Springboard”, which I think best describes the basis for the program:

“A couple of days ago I was talking with a friend about his idea to develop a skateboard school through one of the local shops.  As we were talking I realized that the fundamental reason for success with these types of programs has nothing to do with skateboarding itself and everything to do with the interactions and openness brought out by the idea of skateboarding and the aesthetic of skateboarders.  How do we sell this idea to group of people that have zero understanding of skateboarding?  The kids don’t care; they are intrigued by anything & everything when presented in manner that is giving them the freedom to discover their own outcomes.  How do you sell to a PTA?  Or a group of people who’s ideas of skateboarding is negative?  You prove to them that skateboarding is simply a means to a larger conversation.  The lesson and value of the experience is in the conversations had collectively while working on a skateboard.  It’s in the way you watch a young person come to their own realizations while pushing a Sharpie across the bottom of board.  Skateboarding is simply the springboard to so many other positive emotions and a tool used to inspire the emotions that in turn define what a young person is passionate about.  Once a kid discovers a passion they have instantly added a positive value to their own life, they’re now off and running with they’re own ideas.  And a kid with an idea is powerful thing…”

 

What has inspired you to start Rivard Art education?

I’ve been fortunate enough in the past to be invited to speak at a couple of schools around the world and those were some of the most fulfilling experience I’ve been apart of as an artist.  The first school I had ever been to was a high school in Dienze, Belgium, I was invited to speak about the differences between American and European Youth and Pop Cultures.  I was in Belgium doing an art show and a friend, who was a teacher there, thought I would be a good compliment to her current study of American Cultures.  It was a true honor and the response from the students was incredible.  I was also graciously invited into an all boys’ Muslim school in town called Al Kohr just outside of Doha, Qatar, in the Middle East.  I started to realize that through my art and my story I had a positive message to spread.  That message was in a way it’s own internationally and culturally recognizable language, the values were relatable through cultural barriers.

After the 2011 campaign I received an email from a local elementary teacher stating that I was an artist her school was going to being featuring and studying over the course of their school year.  I responded and told her that I was honored and would love to stop by and say hello to the students.  We got to talking and essentially created the Rivard Art Education, which had its first official run as a five-day residency at Liberty Ridge Elementary in Woodbury, Minnesota.  From there it has snowballed into national and even international interest with offers to visit schools, conferences’, and seminars as far as India!  I have a lot of appreciation for the support and insights that a few key teachers and educators have provided me in getting Rivard Art Education off the ground.  Tess Soucheray, Jill Brown, Jessica Frisco, Lorelli Byrne, Shannon Opichka, and Joanne Toft were all key’s to inception and success of the program and they deserve so much appreciation for their efforts in helping me get this going.  Thank you!

 

I know I would be psyched if you had come to my school, how could kids/schools get involved?

You can contact me through my website:  www.RivardArtEducation.com!  There are so many ways and ideas for incorporating the program!

A new level of class.

Are you still working as an artist and creating those amazing Sharpie decks we have come to love?

Absolutely!  My time spent actually creating has been challenged with the birth of all these new projects, but at the end of the day I still find myself sitting down and sketching out skateboards…  I’m an artist all the time, you can’t shake that…

What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2012?

The rest of this year and going into 2013 are looking busy.  I have a number of schools I’m going to be visiting and the program is turning into a full time job.  One project I am super excited about is an opportunity to work with Brunswick High School in Virginia.  We are doing a project where I will hand deliver 100 skateboards to the school to and be making art with the students for a few days there.  It was a project that hit near and dear to me when I learned of the high school.  They had approached me about making a visit and after a lot of brainstorming we came to the conclusion that there was simply not enough funding for the trip.  The teacher had talked to me about her schools budget for the art department and I thought I had to help in some way.  Instead of giving up I proposed a challenge to the school, and to myself, to raise the money and make, what I’ve since branded as “The Virginia Project” a reality.  The ultimate goal of what I do is to prove that you can do anything in life you put your mind to, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to prove that.  So in January of 2013 I will be going to Virginia to spend a week with the students of Brunswick High School!  I’ll also be visiting schools in Ohio, Colorado, and all over my home base of Minnesota with more opportunities coming up daily!

Where can we find you? :

RivardArtEducation.com

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

And be sure to “Like” the Rivard Art Education page on Facebook as well as Rivard Art Inc.!

Talk about having the coolest teacher EVER?!  Mark Rivard just won’t quit making his mark and we just love him for it!

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Pour it On

When Sharpie advocate Mark Rivard gets tired of illustrating skateboards he gets a little crazy (A GOOD CRAZY!).  His new painting takes “Sharpie Art” to a whole new level.  Mark shared his process with us and the resulting painting spawned an entire new series from Rivard.  Rivard took some time to share with us a little more about what drives his creative process and how he’s evolving from his skateboard roots…

 

I was sitting around the studio one day just waiting for an idea to hit and I noticed my trash was overflowing.  I had a number of empty cans just waiting for somebody to clean them up and instead of doing just that, I piled them onto a canvas and starting dripping layer after layer of paint over them. (Inspiration really can strike anywhere…)

After a few weeks of layering paint the result was really interesting to me.  You had to really look closely to see what the object was under the paint.   It had a very Jackson Pollock style and lose feel that I was very attracted to and I wanted to explore further.  I started doing other objects like cassette tapes, old cell phones, wine corks, and even a pair of stilettos.

 

I was really enjoying the concept and seeing a series developing.  I’ve started to do some of these paintings with product and branding in mind as well.  I looked at companies that are using artist as tools to promote their product, then looked at the color and shape of the actual product and created an interesting mix of product and fine art.  It didn’t take long for me notice the extremely large stock of Sharpie’s lying around my studio and the second the idea hit, I was off and running.  For this particular piece there are about 30 or so Sharpies under, roughly, 50 layers of diluted acrylic.

 

The interesting thing is this painting is still changing and evolving long after I put the final signature on it.  The ink from the sharpies took on a life of it’s own and began to release from the pens which created a really unique affect.

 

That’s my favorite thing about art, when you open your mind up all of the sudden art is everywhere.  A pen isn’t just a writing tool in the right hands, it’s a possibility!

 

 

 

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SKATEBOARD ARTIST MARK RIVARD STARTS WITH SHARPIE

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude! So call me lame but that’s the first thing that pops into my mind when I think about skateboarding. I’m sure the skaters of the world would prefer I not refer to them as dudes, mostly because dude has a somewhat negative connotation, as in slacker, lazy, wandering, aimless – you know, The Big Lebowski kind of dude.

Dude or no dude, fact is there are more than 20 million skateboarders in the U.S., most of them under the age of 24. These dudes (which I mean only in the coolest way) ride their boards for lots of reasons, among them this one that I thought was particularly insightful extracted from the dclaim blog: Carving out creative lines under cloudless skies.

I get it. Like sky writing and more. Skateboarding IS an art. So is it any surprise that this daring form of self-expression should also find its way onto the skateboards themselves?

Sharpie has a dude (well, we are sort of just borrowing him) — an acclaimed skateboard artist who takes no offense at the term because his amazing art speaks for itself. Meet Mark Rivard. Mark currently appears in Sharpie’s new advertising campaign alongside one of his amazing skateboards and the Sharpie MINI Markers he used to create it.

Here’s Mark’s Sharpie ad, currently running in issues of TransWorld Skateboarding magazine:

Mark got his start designing skateboards after a serious skiing accident left him with time to ponder — and practice — his art.  In his own words, borrowed from Mark’s website:

Skateboards are the cornerstone of my work.  They are what sparked my re-interest in art.  We’ve all heard skaters say “Skateboarding saved my life.”, well in my situation it was a skateboard that literally altered the direction of the rest of my life.  I don’t think I would have died if I had never started skateboarding but I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that first board and that first sketch.

Mark’s story is a good one, so we put together a video where Mark takes us behind-the-scenes and shares with us the details of how he came to discover his passion and the true mission of his life:

Something else you should know about Mark. We’ve been working with him for awhile now as part of his participation in the Sharpie Squad,  and he gets our vote for best-skateboard-artist-all-around-greatest-guy-ever!  It’s awesome to be able to point you to someone so deserving of all the praise.  Mark is one nice guy…he’s the duuuuuuuuude!

 Friend Mark on Facebook, then check out his appearance on FUEL TV:

 

Sharpie MINI markers are small enough to go anywhere. They offer:

 

  • A portable fine tip marker in half the size
  • A cap clip that easily attaches to key chains, golf bags, lanyards… and belt loops perfect for skateboarders on-the-go
  • 8 assorted colors, including Turquoise, Red, Blue, Lime Green, Green, Valley Girl Violet, Black, (and Magenta, not pictured).

Visit www.sharpie.com for more.
 

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100 Ways to Start Something with Sharpie

We all know there are millions of ways to express yourself using Sharpie, right!? Especially with the WIDE variety of products,colors and tips, the options are endless for what you can start with Sharpie. Well, to get the ideas flowing we teamed up with Us Weekly to come up with 100 different ways to Uncap What’s Inside!

Us Weekly then chose three of these ideas and made them into unique ads that are running in this week’s edition, so be sure to grab a copy, on stands now, to see these one-of-a-kind magazine ads or if you can’t wait that long, just scroll on…

  1. Create a personalized design on your t-shirt
  2. Design your jeans with a special emblem
  3. Fill that autograph book- get your favorite stars’ signatures
  4. Make your Nook case your own with Stained by Sharpie fabric markers
  5. Design a skateboard with your own personal image
  6. Keep your drinks cool in your customized  koozies
  7. Show off your Sharpie markers to friends
  8. Collect Sharpie markers
  9. Label your stuff so nothing gets lost
  10. “MARRY ME!!” Design a poster board for your favorite concert with Sharpie markers
  11. Design your TOMS shoes with Sharpie Markers
  12. Use your Sharpie marker to mark on difficult surfaces
  13. Decorate a tie for Dad using Stained by Sharpie fabric markers
  14. Sketch a picture with our Sharpie fine markers
  15. Design a clutch purse (we’ve already shown you how!)
  16. Pour your heart out! Write your song lyrics for when you get your big break
  17. Label CDs so everyone knows how awesome your taste in music is
  18. Make Christmas ornaments using Sharpie paint markers
  19. Sign you name with a Sharpie marker-  (people will TOTALLY think you’re famous)
  20. Give yourself a promotion! Create a cool name plate for your desk
  21. Color Easter eggs with Sharpie markers
  22. Create a masterpiece that your friends won’t believe you did with a Sharpie marker
  23. Make it permanent! There is no erasing Sharpie permanent markers
  24. Touch up  those scuffs on your black shoes with the original Sharpie black marker
  25. Customize your cap… and then Uncap What’s Inside ( I couldn’t resist!)
  26. Design your backpack so it says something about you
  27. Doodle on a coffee cup using Sharpie Pen
  28. Decorate a picture frame
  29. Get your Sharpie spook-on and put a face on a pumpkin
  30. Give your favorite fish a fancy house by adding an underwater scene to its bowl
  31. Declare your love! Add your name in a heart on trees with your boyfriend or girlfriend
  32. Be EXTRA daring. Do the crossword in Sharpie Ultra fine.
  33. Design a window
  34. Add a Sharpie marker doodle before shipping out a box
  35. Give your heart away with a Sharpie designed Valentine
  36. Spice up an old purse with fun Sharpie designs
  37. Customize a guitar with your musical expressions
  38. Add some diva designs to your pillow for the next sleepover
  39. Make your own fun wrapping paper to give mom a gift
  40. Celebrate with customized Sharpie markers
  41. Get sassy with Sharpie and post-it notes
  42. Make a calendar using poster boards and colored Sharpie markers
  43. DIY sunglasses with Sharpie markers to ensure yours are unique
  44. Repurpose old furniture with Sharpie paint
  45. Make blank canvas shoes say something about you
  46. Decorate stockings for your holiday hearth
  47. Create a gift tag with Sharpie extra fine markers
  48. Sharpie your motorcycle (be sure you own it first!)
  49. Create a friendship bracelet with Sharpie retractable markers
  50. Customize your head band with your name in Sharpie markers
  51. Sharpie your hub caps (make sure you own those too!)
  52. Add some Sharpie swag to your photos
  53. Make robots out of dominoes
  54. Design your own soccer ball to distract the other team by its beauty
  55. Make your mark!
  56. Make a mural using all the different kinds of Sharpie markers
  57. Travel with your Sharpie marker and show IT the world!
  58. Hug your Sharpie marker and tell it it’s safe
  59. Bring your Sharpie marker on vacation and let the next visitor know “Sharpie has been here” 
  60. Trade Sharpie markers with your friends
  61. Create a Christmas tree with green Sharpie markers
  62. Doodle in your notebook with Sharpie Pens
  63. Customize a scrapbook with Sharpie ultra fine markers
  64. Use Sharpie markers to make your Dradle something special for the holiday
  65. Make a tote something more with drawings and designs in Sharpie markers
  66. Use the Sharpie Stencil technique
  67. Spruce up your Sharpie with a duct tape flower 
  68. Give a Sharpie marker to a friend and make their day
  69. Label your underwear with a Sharpie marker,  maybe the dryer won’t eat it
  70. Have a Sharpie marker doodle party
  71. Design your Halloween costume
  72. Support a great cause and raise money for breast cancer research by commiting to Ink It Pink
  73. Customize your iPhone case with Sharpie markers
  74. Gear up for game day and cheer with posters made with Sharpie paint marker
  75. Re-vamp an old encyclopedia into something retro chic with colorful Sharpie markers
  76. Make your yoga mat stand out while you zen out
  77. Highlight without smearing with new Sharpie Gel Highlighter
  78. Write, erase and repeat with Sharpie Liquid Pencil
  79. Carry your Sharpie in your pocket with Sharpie Minis
  80. Stain  that plain white summer dress into something more with  Stained by Sharpie  fabric markers
  81. Be BOLD or slighlty subtle with Sharpie Twin Tips
  82. Write your school notes with Sharpie Pens
  83. Customize the back of your lap top
  84. Label your cup so it stays germ-free 
  85. Do a window design with Sharpie water-based paint markers
  86. Spice up your gym shoes with special designs
  87. Create custom Sharpie markers for a gift or special occasion
  88. Hang your Sharpie markers from a Christmas tree instead of ornaments
  89. Make a Sharpie marker collage by blending colors together
  90. Customize book covers so you can just grab em’ and go on your way to class
  91. Share you Sharpie marker creations at www.sharpie.com
  92. Use MySharpie for customized, fun party favors
  93. Decorate your golf balls so they don’t get mixed up on the course
  94. Edit school yearbooks so its like that ex-boyfriend never even happened
  95. Write letters from your secret admirers using Sharpie pens
  96. Feel famous signing your autograph on sports equipment
  97. Bring back the banana clip (yellow) with 80′s glam markers
  98. Spruce up invitations with Sharpie marker designs on the envelope
  99. Draw over old Polaroids with Sharpie markers and give them new life
  100. Start something with Sharpie and help takeover YouTube on August 27

 

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Meet Mark Rivard, Skateboard Artist

This is Mark Rivard and those are his skateboards…

Mark Rivard, Skateboard Artist. Love the juxtaposition of skateboard art against crushed velvet gold couch. Genius.

A native of Breckenridge, Colorado, Rivard's art reflects his surroundings.

Let’s begin with a little education for all you non-skateboarders out there. Skateboarding is the act of riding and performing tricks using a skateboard. A person who skateboards is most often referred to as a skateboarder, or just skater.  Skateboarding can be a recreational activity, an artform, a job, or a method of transportation (so says Wikipedia). A report by American Sports Data found that there were 18.5 million skateboarders in the world — 85 percent under the age of 18, and 74 percent male. 

 

Alright.  So now you know.   But as the always curious Sharpie blog readers that you are, let’s take a look at the art side of this skateboarding thing, specifically at one of the artists out there creating skateboard art like the world was going to end tomorrow.    

 

Meet Mark Rivard, a talented skateboard artist and one we love times inifinity because he has figured out how to manipulate Sharpie markers like a paintbrush to create some amazing skateboard art, complete with the kind of nuanced brush strokes and shading that makes a Sharpie blog editor proud.  He describes his foray into the business side of skateboard art as a “life-size game of poker” – he wants to serve as proof that people can make their craft their career.    

 

“The actual process of putting Sharpie ink down on skateboard with the intention of creating art changed my life forever,” says Mark.  And I love this: “Moral of the story is follow your path, the one that’s going to make you happy. Risk is fun…” Yes!  See Mark’s passion come to life in the images below, and read about how he discovered skateboard art and made it his life’s work.  

 

How did you get started as a skateboard artist?  

 

My path into the art world was formed at a very young age.  I remember being a third grader setting up an isle on my deck in Minnesota painting pictures in celebration of Van Gogh’s birthday.  Ironically it was a drawing course my senior year of high school that almost kept me from graduating.  With a bad taste in my mouth for art education I skipped art school altogether and moved to Colorado to pursue a career in the ski world and basically lost touch with art.  During this time I found skateboarding.  Skateboarding changed who I was; I learned a more mature sense of aesthetic value from skateboarding.  It was February of 2004 when art struck back and came into my life in a dramatic fashion.  I was back home in Minnesota following a knee surgery and picked up my first skateboard.  I painted it black and white and started sketching for the first time in years.  What followed was a burst of creative energy I had never experienced, within the first five months between picking up a pen and my first show I drew 15 skateboards.  In June 2004 I had a show with some friends at a night club in Minneapolis and from there art was a part of life in major way.  

 

Life isn't always rosey when trying to make a living as a skateboard artist, but Mark Rivard follows his passion.

Tell us a little about your genre.  Are there lots of artists who do what you do?  Where are they concentrated?  What makes your work stand out from the rest?  

 

I guess I would be considered a skateboard artist.  It’s certainly not all I’m into but my skateboard illustrating is definitely the cornerstone of what I do.  It’s interesting how many people are doing skateboards, when I started I didn’t have a computer or any clue about what was going on in the art world, but as time went on and I began to investigate the internet I learned that skateboards are a very popular canvas.  I think it’s a pretty obvious canvas choice for a lot of skaters.  Skate graphics have an incredibly rich history.  Now through outlets like MySpace I’ve learned of hundreds of skateboard artist located all over the world.  Skateboarders and people in this particular corner of the art world know that there is really nothing too unique about using skateboards as canvas’, but in retrospect that community of artist is tiny so when I put up my boards on wall covered in art they tend to pop.  I feel like skateboards allow an artist a true freedom of all the rules spoken or unspoken in the art world.  That’s why people skate; it is an activity and lifestyle that has no rules.  When you go to an art opening at a upscale gallery for contemporary art it can be a lot like a funeral, quite and dark clothed people discussing politely the art, but when you come to an opening of an artist that is skate oriented you’ll find a DJ and most likely several kegs.  My opening for a show in Belgium ended up in a game of SKATE (like the HORSE version of basketball for skateboarding) in the rain on the street in front of the show.  That’s what makes this kind of art stand out, what makes my particular art stand out I’m not sure.  Very traditional artist has told me that it has a fresh feel, like any schooling hasn’t tainted it. 

 

How would you describe your style?  

 

Detailed Scribbling.  Fast.  Unforgiving.  A clean mess.  Abstract realism.  I never sketch anything out ahead of time; it’s Sharpie straight to the board.  When I’m doing a skyline or something that needs accuracy line for line it’s a stressful style.  There is no planning, no grids, just do or die style.  That’s probably why I’ve drawn six skateboards with the Minneapolis skyline; it’s taken me six attempts to get it right.  The cool thing is in the process of getting it right I created five other pieces of art that all were worthy works.  I would sum up my style as improv unrehearsed art. 

 

 

How did you come to use Sharpie markers in your work?    

 

I started my first board with ball point pens and that wasn’t working then I think I used some other type of marker that would smear, then I found and Ultra Fine Black Sharpie and it was the only thing that would not smear and stuck to the boards.  Eventually I started to figure out that my Sharpies could be manipulated like a paintbrush.  They could shade and created different consistencies in lines.  Sharpies have become the only pens that I can use on anything, they draw on canvas, and wood, paint, plastic, glass, and you name it you can draw on it with a Sharpie. 

 

 

What about Sharpie markers makes them your medium of choice?  Is it the variety of tip sizes, colors, other?  Please describe how you use Sharpie as an art tool.  

Sharpies have become my medium of choice because of consistency.  They write on anything.  I have learned to use my Sharpies like paintbrushes; they can change their ink distribution over time with use.  I still have that first Sharpie pen I ever drew with.  The tip is basically gone but I still use it to shade.  Sharpie tips can be used as a tool long after the ink has run dry.  I never throw a pen away; sometimes I’ll ever burn the tip a bit to reduce the ink flow for a dryer more of a grayish look out of a black pen.  The other unique thing I’ve discovered with Sharpies is the only thing that can lift the ink once it’s been laid is another Sharpie.  You can actually move the ink around with different pens as you draw, for instance if you were to open a fresh Sharpie and start to draw but wanted a little less ink and a lighter look you can take an older Sharpie or a burnt tip Sharpie and move that ink around even after it has dried.  This creates a lighter look and enables black and white shadowing with only a black Sharpie! 

Trees can't just run around naked.

Tell us about some of your own favorite work.  What seems to get the most attention or is most coveted by others?  Why do you think people are drawn to your work?
My favorite pieces change all the time.  I have gained the most accolades from my Skyline pieces; those seem to be real attention grabbers.  Location based pieces always sit well with the audience because they are directly relatable.  It’s funny because even doing a show in Seattle some of my work that was best received was my Minneapolis skylines which really didn’t even belong in that show and I almost left those boards at home.  What that tells me is that people are attracted to my architecture sketches because of the style they are drawn not necessarily because of what is drawn.  I think people are into my work because it crosses a lot of boundaries, it’s not the same sketch done thirty different ways.  My work crosses into all types of thought provoking subjects, one thing I’ve began to do in order to better explain what I’m doing is write explanations or stories that go along with each piece.  I once had a person tell me at a show that they loved how I was able “connect the industrial with the natural”, after hearing this I thought I’ve got to do something to explain my art because that was not what I was going for.  Now when I display art I have begun to show it with handwritten descriptions and those descriptions have become some of my favorite work, I love to write.  I take old skateboards break them in half, paint them white and handwrite the literature that goes with each piece.  I’m trying to create a font that is unique to my work and will often write it out once and then rewrite the whole narrative again and again overlapping the first giving the written descriptions an aesthetic all their own and this added a huge amount of depth to the shows. 
 
Can you describe the process you go through to create your work?  How many hours does it take?  Is it a free-hand approach or do you create a template in advance?    
I never really preplan anything, I’ll have an idea of what the end result will be but I never make practice sketches or templates.  My abstract stuff is totally random; no idea when I start what the end result will be and it almost always changes throughout the drawing.  With my skylines I just pick a centrally located building and make one line that is prominent and then base the rest of the city off of that line.  I’ve done some boards that have only taken a couple of hours and others that have lasted for years.  I think the board that took the longest was my Breckenridge panoramic mountain view, that board took around two years and actual drawing time over 30 hours of pen connecting with the board.  If it’s a piece that requires a lot of attention like a skyline it can take a long time to finish. 

What are your inspirations?


Inspiration comes in an endless amount of formats. I am always inspired with travel and new places. Europe makes me want to create and create and create. Something about being there and just the little things about the lifestyle over there makes me want to write and draw. I think I could live in Europe without a TV. The simple process of creating art and seeing what kinds of opportunities are presenting themselves in my life because of art inspires me. I know that this doesn’t sit well with a lot of people but I love the business side of this crazy idea of having a career in art, I love it, it’s life size game of poker. I love to think that I am doing something so many people told me wasn’t going to work because of lack of an education or experience. Having something to prove has always been the biggest source of inspiration for me. I’ve found no matter what you do or what your path someone out there is always going to drop marbles on your sidewalk. Critics are inspiration.

 

What statement are you trying to make, if any?  What do you want people take from your art? 

I don’t know if I’m really trying to make any sort of statement but I do want to send a message.  I want my art to serve as proof that people can make their craft their career, that the path that seems the most logical doesn’t always make it the right path.  I once had a great upper level job at what was then the fifth largest snowboard company in the world.  I had a job that where I’m from would have been considered a dream job by most of my peers.  Benefits, great office, salary, I loved the industry but I left that job to wait tables for $2.13 an hour and have more time to get back to focusing on my art.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Moral of the story is follow your path, the one that’s going to make you happy.  Risk is fun…

 

 

Sharpie’s tagline is “Write Out Loud!”  Does this apply to your work and if so, how?

Absolutely!  That actual process of putting Sharpie ink down on skateboard with the intention of creating art changed my life forever.  All the work I’ve done with Sharpies is prime example of “Write Out Loud!” it’s what I do!  

 

Eye-catching

Mustached Man in Mountains

Cityscape

Straight Up