Art Director, SNOWBOARDER/TransWorld Snowboarding
As the Art Director of both SNOWBOARDER and now TransWorld Snowboarding, Dave Steigerwald (or as we affectionately call him, "Davey Stags") is responsible for the look, feel and graphic direction of the world's two biggest snowboard media platforms, and he started down this road when he was merely 23 years old, green as can be, fresh out of college and hungry to leave his mark on the snowboard world. And to say he has accomplished that in four short years would be the understatement of the century. In the past few years working with Stags, I am consistently blown away not just by his ability to create some of the most indelible and creative magazine layouts, movie titling, illustrations and fine art, but by his professionalism, kindness and drive. Every single issue of SNOWBOARDER Magazine that has been printed in the last four years is Davey's vision, as well as the website, the three prior films that have been made, and now, his resumé has expanded to include TransWorld's current volume that you'll find on newsstands this fall. Davey is one of those people that make me glad that I got into the snowboard industry and I have no doubt in my mind that he will be highly successful in the coming years.
What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.
Now currently working for both SNOWBOARDER and TransWorld Snow, it's a bit of a juggle. On any given day it’s working on magazine layouts for one and doing video animations for another while exporting images for web posts simultaneously. I honestly can say there isn't really a typical day in terms of having a routine. It's really just being on your toes and being prepared to do anything at any given moment, whether it's print, web, video, drawing, etc., while still working on various long term projects.
Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I was born in Indiana, but I grew up in Massachusetts. Salt Lake City is my home now.
How did you start snowboarding?
I took a handful of lessons sporadically throughout my real young days, learning how to ride the lift and turn but I never really stuck with it for various reasons. One day in high school I was at my friend's house and this kid I knew, Stevie Joyce, showed up asking if he could use my friend's backyard to set up a rail because he had a pretty decent incline in his yard. He then asked if anyone wanted to go with him to retrieve snow from the local ice rink (at the time it was late spring/early summer). I wasn't doing anything better so I said, "Fuck it" and went with him. After we got the snow he set up the rail he brought, which was a red single round rail that he cut from a local building, haha. It even had, like a four-inch piece sticking straight up on the front of the rail so you couldn't do any ride-on shit. That was my first time ever hitting a rail and I recall I just had normal outdoor boots on and was riding a 142 Burton Punch. After that day he just made me tag along and stick with it and I just sort of grew into it and it just became what I wanted to do all the time.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?
The kid that got me into snowboarding, Stevie Joyce, ended up getting me a job at the local mountain, Nashoba Valley on the park crew when I was in high school. I ended up working there for about four seasons before attending Plymouth State University up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There, while studying graphic design, I continued to ride every winter up at Loon and constantly make new friends who all wanted to snowboard just as much. In the end, I think being around snowboarding and people who snowboard constantly just led me into the industry. I don't think I ever consciously decided I wanted to work in it, mostly because I never thought I had a chance. I'm rather pessimistic about dreams coming true, haha.
And how did you make that happen?
Upon completing my Thesis class in my senior year of college, all I had left to do was an internship and I would be done with college and the proud owner of a BFA degree in Graphic Design, as well as some healthy student loan debt and no real plan as to what the hell I was going to do. Around that time, Big Mike—aka ZEACHMAN—started hitting me up about possibly taking over his position as Special Projects Designer for SNOWBOARDER Magazine as he was going to be leaving to work for SURFER Magazine. He put me in touch with the Publisher at the time, Jeff Baker. From there, we worked out a plan to have me intern for SNOWBOARDER to get my necessary final credits to graduate. Then, upon graduating, I hit the road to California to work as the Special Projects Designer. I did that position for one volume (volume 26) and then was going to head back home until next summer when I would be needed again for the next volume. Due to some inner changes within the mag staff-wise, that ended up not being the case. Pat Bridges took a leap of faith and offered me the full-time Art Director position, which I accepted (at the time I think I was like 23) Now, about 4 years later, I'm still with SNOWBOARDER as the Art Director and have now recently taken on the same position for TransWorld Snow. It's rather strange on paper because there really wasn't a series of jobs to get here. I graduated and was thrown straight into the fire with no baby steps. Reflecting on those first few years with the changing landscape of the media world and all the pressures of being a full-time Art Director with only about five months experience prior, it was crazy how much I would do while learning on the fly or by just creating my own way of doing something because I had to get it done one way or another.
Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?
Think Thank was what drove me in my early days. Everything from the editing, the tricks, the art, the clothes (in particular Patchwork Patterns), I loved it all. Then the first Videograss film came out I think when I was a freshman in college, and that was the SHIT. It pretty much changed everything for me, from what I wore to who I wanted to be. Every year, when the new one came out I would just get so juiced to go out and make something happen. I would do whatever I could to get involved, to be like them; draw something, shoot a photo, go ride in all black clothing, party, anything. They are still some of my favorite movies of all-time if I need to really get inspired out of a slump. I also looked up to Colton Feldman a lot, even though I think he is younger than me, haha. This was in the early years of Keep The Change and KTC really inspired me to do stuff because it was more close to home and that made it seem like being part of the snowboard world was attainable after all.
What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?
The video intro I created for Rendered Useless. The movie itself just seemed to blow everyone away riding-wise and to have it open with the psycho television-induced intro I created I think really led people going into it to be like, " What the fuck was that? What am I about to watch?" It just seemed to really stand out as its own thing at the time and people definitely responded, for good or bad.
What do you want to accomplish that you haven't yet?
Fight the power.
Anyone you'd like to thank?
Pat Bridges, T. Bird, Baker, everyone at SNOWBOARDER the past few years, Big Mike, KEEP THE CHANGE, Amanda Hankison, Stark, everyone I've worked on independent projects with, all the homies, and of course, my parents.