The Anchorage Museum hosted a fundraising event and offered the opportunity to several artists/designers to customize and donate original artwork applied either to a blank skateboard or a pair of plain white Converse. Both were tempting, but I’ve always wanted to do a skateboard, and this was my chance. The subject matter and execution were entirely open to the artist’s discretion. This was one of those projects I could not pass up.

Now, what should it say?

It’s a rare opportunity for me to provide both the message and the solution. But I kept it simple. I found that freedom is at the core of everything that I do. It’s also at the heart of skateboarding culture, so it seemed to fit pretty well. In my experience, fear is the only thing standing in the way of freedom. When faced with the opportunity to choose between the two, this reminds me that there is no gray area.

Now, how should it look?

The statement felt pretty damn primal, and it would make sense that the artwork feel the same. I did a few sketches of some wild beasts. The most intriguing was the pack of hungry wolves going after each other. I could see it taking shape as an endless pattern and symbolizing an internal struggle.

Preliminary sketches.

Now, how do I get it on the board?

I suppose I could hand-paint it, but I’m sure I’ll mess up… I could also create a large decal, like a vehicle wrap… but it seems like a message like this should be carved, but of course, I don’t know how to do that either. So even before the design was ready, I scoured the internet to find a solution and learned that laser etching could be a possibility. I called a few places and found that Le Shape, all the way in Bordeaux France, were the only ones who could get it done. I sat fingers crossed for about a week until it arrived. It looked amazing!