There’s a story behind everything. With this in mind, our design department here at TransWorld SNOWboarding would like to shine some light on the creative people and processes responsible for a few of the coolest images mounted to your feet. Each issue, we’ll showcase a different work of graphic genius. Our first featured piece is from the steady hand of artist Sean Donnell of Mervin Manufacturing-makers of some of the most colorful and unique graphics around. It’s history made and now reintroduced, so your wall-mount can have more even conversation value.-Jeremy Lanningham
Graphic: 1993/94 Lib Tech Matt Cummins
Designer: Sean Donnell
Homestead: Port Angeles, Washington
Art Education: High school and some junior college art and design classes, endless doodling.
Clients: Mostly Mervin, GNU, and Lib Tech (snow and skate). Plus small projects for Joyride, Morrow, adidas, Nike, and Quiksilver.
Musical Inspiration: From EPMD to The Melvins, Bob Dylan to Cornelius.
So what’s the story behind the graphic?
I knew Matt Cummins through Kris Jamieson-Jaymo knew I liked to draw, and Matt called me and we got it going. As for the Van Top graphic, Matt wrote me this hysterical letter talking all about some surfy scene with his buddies-Jay of (One Ball) fame and his brother Temple-in some old 21-window bus checking a left point break. It was all scrawled out, and he wanted me to call his mom if I had any questions ’cause he was off to Japan. I just winged it. Everybody thought they knew the surf spot, but I completely made it up-I hadn’t ever been to the Washington coast. But you know, it actually does look exactly like Michael Jackson’s surf spot in Washington now that I’ve been there. The BMX base was Matt’s idea, too. See, he’s a BMXer, and the tabletop is the all-time most coveted trick in the book-plus, it fits well on a snowboard. Radical Rick (from the Damian Fulton comic in BMX PLUS! magazine) was of course our hero, and I paid some homage. I always loved that base in photos.
What medium did you use to complete it?
It was all just dip pen and ink, and then I specified all of the color zones for the screen printers. That Van Top was a thirteen or fourteen color screen-print job-ridiculous. The printers would change up the colors randomly, and there’re some really trippy versions floating around.
How is it working with the companies, focus groups, pros, and the other industry people to create a graphic?
I was dealing with Lib Tech-they were more about energy than accomplished masterpieces. They’re just into cool stuff with cool style from a cool place. I am, too.
Are you pleased with the way it turned out?
Yes, 200 percent. And after ten years, I haven’t stopped (doing board graphics).
What kinds of things inspire you?
Just knowing how much rad shit is going on at all times. At any given moment-despite your personal mood or situation-there’s a ripping skate session going down, or some band just nailing it, or an artist trucking along on some groovy piece, or somebody amping on the sickest wave they’ve ever had. Those corny and obvious things are nice to think about.
Are you handy with a computer?
Yep, nowadays. I use a Mac. I never imagined how handy I would become. If I had this many hours of flight-training time I’d be flying Air Force One.
Do you ride?
Do you ever ride the boards you help bring to life?
Yes, every one, and it always feels cool. It’s kinda corny walking around with my big drawing under my arm-it’s way better when you glance over and see one sailing through the air.