Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shell Awaits...

I'm not going to get into the habit of posting YouTube clips regularly (that would make me a bit lazy) but in this case I can't help myself. If there's anybody that is offended by Ninja Turtles using profane language please steer away.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Pinback Autumn of the Seraphs

Here is a small preview of the record cover I did for Pinback's upcoming 'Autumn of the Seraphs'. The album is scheduled to be released 9/11/2007. I had done some artwork for them previously on a couple CDs...a tour EP called 'Too Many Shadows' and the B-sides collection 'Nautical Antiques'. Those were important and I took them seriously but to do art for their fourth full-length album, on the MIGHTY Touch and Go label? Run by Corey Rusk who played in the legendary NECROS? O, the pressure...and excitement. I worked with Rob and Zach for over a month just coming up with ideas and sketches. I'm not going to give away any details that the band hasn't already, but as posted the final artwork is 'extensive' (Image above taken from Touch and Go website).
Touch and Go Records

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Mini-Interview Thursday: Tod Swank

This Thursday's mini-interview is with the multi-talanted Tod Swank! (BTW, this is the last interview for a month). If you don't know Tod is an ex-pro skateboarder but he's done so much more. In addition to his skate career, he was the first senior photographer at Transworld Magazine, designed several classic deck graphics and one of the OG skate zine makers (I kinda restate this in the first question..sorry). Eventually Tod became supreme overlord of Tum Yeto Inc, the flagship for several skate companies: Foundation Super Company, Toy Machine, Zero, Pig Wheels, Dekline, Hollywood Skateboards, Poot, Deathbox, and Ruckus Trucks. Tod and his right hand man Matt Barker were the first to give me a chance at working on skate graphics and I'll always be thankful for that. Tod is way busy and I appreciate he took the time to do this interview.

Mike Sutfin: If we look out at the world today, there's no way to deny skateboarding has become a breeding ground for a variety of talents outside of riding a skateboard. In addition to your current head-honcho position at Tum Yeto, you were one of the first to make a personal skate 'zine', you created some extremely memorable deck graphics and you also became a successful photographer. Do you think that the unorganized nature of skating creates more original personalities?

Tod Swank: Mike, thanks man. I am flattered. I am not sure in regards to your question. I think skateboarding draws out the creativity in people maybe more than tennis or squash. I think there are crazy personalities all over the place. I am a heavy observer. There are legit freaks in everything out there. Does skateboarding fuel the creative fire? I am sure it does.

MS: Squash! Ok, second question. Skating has proven itself and endured. Now we have generations of skateboarders becoming more and more nostalgic. I often hear older skaters say they feel out of place when it comes to contemporary skateboarding. I'm interested to know, even-though you work in the industry everyday, do you ever feel that way?

TS: I feel out of place. But more because I am an angry, anti social, vegitarian male. I wonder when meeting the up and comers that come into work, what they think of me?...like I might of thought of Brad Dorfman or George Powell. With the utmost reverence and honor or just some business slacker that doesn't understand skateboarding? That's what I thought. Both ideas. I think it's damn cool that skateboarding has older generations and I think they can relate to the younger in their own ways. It's more like the younger skaters might not be able to relate to those (us? Me too?!?) older dudes.

MS: In addition to any skaters that might be reading this blog, we probably have a few Sci-Fi fans. Could you please explain the origin of the Foundation Super Company name?

TS: Issac Asimov my boy, Issac Asimov. One of Scifi lits greats. His "Foundation" series including the Robot novels. The premise being of generations upon generations of human, social and technology development in the face of a emminent collapse of the galactic civilization into a cataclysmic abyss of dark ages. One man, Hari Seldon, develops a type of
mathmatics that predicts future development of civilizations called psychohistory. He predicts the fall of the known galactic empire and using psychohistory sets in motion a plan to reduce the emminent dark ages from thousands of years to a mere sliver in hopes to bring forth humanity back to it's former and a better glory. I named Foundation Skateboards after this series.

MS:I love that story! I grew up in the Mid-west and back then my knowledge of you came from magazines and videos. You always seemed to have an air of humor about you. I'm wondering if there's any really funny stories that stick out in your mind from early in your skate career? I like stories...

TS: This is my humor:Cynical, pessimistic, sarcastic, satirical imply holding a low opinion of humanity. Cynical suggests a disbelief in the sincerity of human motives: cynical about honesty. Kinda sad, eh? Fit's right in with why I am besiged by Issac Asimov's Foundation. Funny stories? Me trying to get Dave Swift kicked out of Del Mar Skate Ranch because he clocked me over something stupid. That wasn't that funny, was it?

MS: Fighting can be funny. I could tell you a good story about when I got hit with a flaming chair but this is your interview. Ok, last question...there was a distorted drawing of a teapot on multiple graphics you drew. Can you elaborate the significance or how that theme
came to mind?

TS: The teapot action came from my experience with a group of Scottish and English dudes I met at Del Mar Skatepark and over in the UK back in the early 80's. We used to sit around and drink tea and bitch and moan about all kinds of shit. Grasping for straws I think.

Thanks for the opportunity Mike and thanks for the awesome Cataclysmic Abyss cover. FYI that ties into both my love for scifi and Frank Frazetta art.

Foundation Super Company
Cataclysmic Abyss
Keep On Rolling
World's Biggest Skateboard

Random Acts of Kindness

My friend and fellow magic card artist Terese Nielsen came to me with a project not long ago that I thought was really cool. She was asked to art direct a game that promotes people just being cool to each other and %10 goes to charity. The game's theme involves angels and symbolic stuff but it's not tied into any religion. Some of the artists involved were Donato Giancola, Christopher Moeller and of course Terese Nielsen.
Angel Quest