Interview door Dennis Bellew
So, has art always been a part of your life?
Its always played a role, I mean it’s something I’ve’ always just done. I didn’t really get serious until about ten years ago because I didn’t want to lift boxes anymore. At the time that was my only source of income.
How did being a skateboarder growing up in the 90s influence your style? Did any of the graphic artists at the time heavy influence your style?
Yeah, of course. Marc McKee, he stands at the top, I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting him. You know seeing all of the old world decks, was a huge influence on us. From about 93- 97 for us, was all about world industries graphics. Still today they have a really nostalgic place in my heart.
I remember when you used to work at the warehouse at United Boardshop and randomly draw naked girls on the walls for fun. (Laughs) We were in a boutique a little while ago and there were at least 20 of your graphic designs throughout the store. Can you describe was the journey from warehouse worker to accomplished industry designer?
Yeah, you know literally all the product I would put on the shelves was always a big influence. I kind of made me see art as my way out, as well as my outlet. I started working at the Circa warehouse with hopes of moving up to the art department. I realized that wasn’t going to happen because I had zero computer skills. I actually didn’t even know how to turn on a computer at the time, so I decided to drop everything and go to the local college. I remember my first day of class at the graphic design department I had to ask my partner “ how do I turn this thing on?” (Laughs) Since then, I’ve put my love of doing art on paper or on canvas on to the computer. I think that lent to me being a little more marketable, because I was not only a graphic designer but an illustrator and free hand artist as well. .
Coming from those humble beginnings, how dose it to feel walk in to a shop now and see you work all over?
In the beginning I was so thrilled and I couldn’t wait to tell people. But now I just keep my head and remember why I do this and just smile to myself quietly. I really just want to remain humble about the minor success I have had.
Do you need to be into a brand in order to do work for them?
It helps if its a brand has a good reputation and is cool
because it makes you want to live up to their standards. I also like working
with good people. Everyone that I work with right now is really cool and I feel
fortunate that that’s the case.
Was the rich skate history of Elwood what made you want to
work with them?
Of course. I really don’t work with a lot of other true
skate brands so when I had the opportunity to work with Elwood I took it. It
was always one of my favorite brands growing up. I remember never having any
money to buy it so I would steal it. (laughs).
It’s nice to be on the other end of it doing tee shirt designs for the
brand I used to steal.
Although most of your work we see these days ends up being
finished on the computer, I know you have fine art skills. Do you have any time
now a days to paint or draw for yourself?
No, I don’t. I do have this inspiration folder that I’ve
been keeping for things I want to do but I have yet to even open it up since
09. We’re going into 2011 so it’s been about two years since I’ve been able to
do anything for myself. I mean it’s a good problem to have, and I realize I’m
really fortunate to be doing art as a living. I do keep a sketchbook that I never show anybody, it’s just my stuff and
that makes me happy but no big production pieces.
Most of the people I’ve come across in skateboarding use it
as some kind of release. Weather it is to get away from a crazy home
environment or to get away from everyday rules of society. Does art provide you
that same release or sense of freedom?
It’s kind of gone in reverse, now I use skateboarding as my
outlet. I can just turn my brain off and focus on what I’m trying to learn and
nothing else at that time matters except what I'm doing, what’s under my feet.
If anyone would like to check out more of your work where
can the see it?
They can go to my website www.joekingart.com. It has a small
preview of some of the work I’ve done and some of my favorite pieces.
OK here comes the standard, any shout outs?
Anyone who’s ever took a chance on me. Thanks to Elwood and
all the brands that I work with. Shout out to my mom for letting me stay at
home until the ripe age of 27, working from morning to the next morning.
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