A little while ago, I came upon the amazing collaboration between Kodak Film and Girl Skateboards and it brought me down memory lane. This was such a genius idea to mash-up two iconic brands in unexpected ways. I was drawn to the simplicity, typography, colors and distinctive graphics. Meanwhile, I had spoken to some amazing guests on The Futur and they all seemed to echo the same message—work on personal projects. This was vital to being an artist. We heard GMUNK, Elizabeth Carey Smith and Baugasm all say essentially the same thing.
As I was searching for something that I could do on a daily basis—tight parameters, easy and fun to do, didn’t require special equipment or space to produce, it came to me. Eureka! I knew exactly what to do. Go back to my the start.
You see, my love for design didn’t begin with the works of Paul Rand, Herb Lubalin, Lou Dorfsman or Bradbury Thompson. It began with skateboarding. Yes, skateboarding.
While many “serious” skateboarders picked decks based on their affinity towards a particular skate brand, professional rider, or board shape, I mostly picked boards based on the visual appeal. As a kid growing up in the 80s, I was drawn towards brands like Santa Cruz skateboards, especially the illustration work of Jim Phillips: The screaming hand, Rob Roskopp melting face, Jeff Kendal snake bite, Jason Jesse Neptune & Sun God, and Corey O’Brien’s Grim Reaper. Then there was Vision’s Psycho Stick, Gator’s mesmerizing Op-Art spiral and the instant classic Mark Gonzalez deck. This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning skateboarding giant Powell Peralta. My favorite was Steve Caballero’s Dragon, Mike Vallely elephant, Tony Hawk skull hawk, and Mike McGill’s skull/snake. Other notable mentions: Christian Hosoi hammerhead, Chris Miller man/dog, and SMA’s Natas Kaupas design.
To test the idea, I bought a skateboard mock-up template from Creative Market. You can purchase it here for $6 using our affiliate code. Then, I quickly threw some images on them (Olly Moss and Wolfgang Weingart) to see how I felt. They were awesome! Okay, they were awesome before throwing on a skateboard deck, but what it proved to me was the unique size and shape of skate decks, made for interesting compositional problems to solve. It also showed that sophisticated designs and illustrations have been a part of skate culture, but this was an opportunity to take it to the next level.
I then enrolled the Futur Pro Community to participate in the challenge with me. Produce a design a day for at least 30 days. Once completed, we could assemble a nice book and share with friends. If they turned out really well, we could actually print a few up and give them as gifts, sell as merch, or take them on the road for a traveling exhibit of design and street culture.
If you’d like to participate, here’s what you need to do:
- Purchase the Creative Market Template
- Resize to a square format. Keep the resolution above 2000×2000 pixels (for print purposes)
- Pick a theme (you can use multiple, but it’s best to start with a series)
- Mix, mash, bash, crash (come up with your own creative re-mix)
- Post the images to IG (and your favorite social media channels)
- Use the hashtag #FuturPopArt (get the play on words?)
- Have fun
Some prompts to help you get started:
- Comic book characters
- Pharmaceutical products
- Legendary designers
- Urban graphics
- Gas stations
- Junk food
- Car companies
Here are a few days worth of designs from everyone who is participating in the challenge. It’s pretty inspiring to see what everyone is doing.
That’s pretty much it. Ready to shred?