Posted By: Jgonzalez on September 18th, 2007 at 06:42PM PST
growin the old afro i see
Posted By: crayons on September 18th, 2007 at 07:46PM PST
Dear Huey Crowley,
here are some answers.
1. Step by step, what does one have to do to be an artist for Toy Machine?
There are no set rules. I do most of the graphics, or I ask artist friends of mine to do some. On a regular basis Jim Houser from Philly does a lot of stuff for us, and my friend Jamal from LA too. Anyone can be an artist for Toy Machine. Perhaps you know one of the riders and they ask you to make a graphic for them. It is really open. However, I have not really 'hired' anyone through the e-mail or mail. I get lots of stuff from artists, and some of it is rad, some not. If I really liked something, I would hire someone. But since most of the boards are logo based, and I created the logos and characters, I end up doing most of the work. We actually do not have the budget to have an artist besides myself! There is a wonderful girl down at Tum-yeto named Nilo who helps me out with a lot of art stuff, but she also helps out with Foundation and all the other brands.
2. What do you look for when you hire artists for Toy Machine?
I look for artwork that 'fits' within Toy Machine's vision of the world. Take Jim Houser who I mentioned. His artwork is totally great, he skates, and he enjoys making graphics for us and knows what I like and what it takes to sell a board. He is also open to flex his ideas. That is an asset when working for more than just yourself. We are trying to make the riders happy with their boards, and the skaters who buy them.
3. Do you make more money off of your art, or from Toy Machine?
It's kinda 50-50 these days!
4. What was the most beneficial part of your career as an artist (industry related)? How did it come about?
That is hard to pinpoint. There have been a few shows or 'benchmark' events that have really pushed things along. Doing the show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and having a book published at the same time was a great help. That is the one that sticks in my mind. Also, I think being part of the Beautiful Losers has been a big help. Those two shows have reached a lot of people.
5. What is your conception of how the skateboard industry works?
I don't have a conception of it, I know it. I help make it. It's not as glamorous as many skaters think it might be, although it is much better than flipping burgers for cash. If you are asking how it works, I can say that all the companies you know of out there doing business right now are fighting for HALF of the total market, because 50% of the market is blank boards. Most kids just want to skate. Why do they care if there is a graphic on their deck? I can't argue with that, yet, that is hurting my company. What can I do?
6. If you could give one piece of advice to a skateboard artist trying to come up in the skateboard industry, what would it be?
Rule #1: ALWAYS GO BUCK
(As in 'buck-wild'- never hold back, make every thing you do be the most epic thing you have right then)
#2, make sure what you are doing is at the standard or better than all the stuff you see on the shelves of your skate shop.
#3, it really helps to be 'NON-CLINGY'. Meaning send stuff to companies if you want, but don't get hissy when they don't respond. Just consistently make your shit good, and people will notice, eve though it seems like an eternity.
#4, Remember rule #1. This is not some shit I am making up. I use this rule myself for everything I do. It's easy to forget. You have to remind yourself, --is this my best? -all the time. No slippin.
7. Where do you see yourself in 50 years? Do you think you will still be involved in the skateboard industry? What do you think you will be doing?
It might be sorta creepy if an 80-year-old dude is hanging out at the trade show.
8. What are the benefits to using an “in your face marketing style” with Toy Machine, as opposed to someone like Nike who uses a more professional, calm image?
Nike is a corporate giant. They have to think about the Millions of people who are gonna see their ads, and who they are gonna offend, and who is gonna sue them. We don't. All I think about when making an ad is:
#1, is the photo good?
#2, how can I make myself laugh, and hopefully the skaters reading the magazine?
That is pretty much it. Oh, and remember to put the address and website info in there.
9. What percent (roughly) of Toy Machine graphics are drawn by you? Who does the other percent?
Sometimes it's 50-50, others I do 90% of it. The people I mentioned above do the other parts mostly.
10. Since you have a wife, and also a skateboarding and art hobby, there must be some people at Toy Machine in charge of graphics and layouts. Tell me about them.
Only Nilo, who I mentioned before. I do 100% of the ads from scratch since 1993 when we started, and almost all of the board graphics. I also do most of the packaging, banners, stickers, and anything else needed. Nilo does the catalog layouts, and anything I flake on.
11. How do you feel about artists in the Midwest? Would you ever consider hiring a Midwest-based artist, or do you feel that it is easier to run with artists from California?
Like I said, anyone could be an artist for us. Jim H. lives in Philly. We have used Mike Seiben in the past; he lives in Austin, TX. We have used Andrew Pommier who lives in Vancouver, Canada. Anywhere!
12. What does the future hold for Toy Machine?
We are gonna start adopting a Hubba Wheels approach. I have been hiring porn-stars to model in skimpy outfits next to the spot where J-Lay or Billy is doing a trick. The new ads will be great for spanking the monkey while you are in detention. Aside from that, more of the same. We will start a new video pretty soon.
13. How many submissions (or people who want to do a graphic for Toy Machine) do you see or have to hear about on a daily basis?
Not as many as I would like. I get like 5 a month, give or take...
14. Is it truly your decision what goes on the bottom of a skateboard over at Toy Machine? Or do you have a board of people whom decide on what to use as graphics? What's the deal?
It is just me and the riders and Kevin, our filmer and brand manager. I ask the sales staff what they think, and I want the riders to be stoked, but ultimately, it is my decision.
15. How long of a process is it for you to get one of your drawings to the bottom of a deck?
I make a small sketch for an idea, usually in a sketchbook or scrap of paper. This happens anywhere. In a car, on tour, sitting on the toilet. Then I usually scan that sketch from my book, and resize it to fit on an 8.5X11 sheet of paper. Then I use that print out under another sheet of paper, and make a better, more detailed pencil sketch, like tracing. Then I ink that in using a brush and ink, and a pen. Once I get a nice line drawing done, I scan it back in at full resolution and sized for a board. I will clean up any mistakes in Photoshop. Then I place that scan into an Adobe Illustrator file and color it in. That is pretty much it. I e-mail the graphic down to Tum-Yeto. This whole thing can take anywhere from 3 hours to a few days.
Posted By: ed on September 19th, 2007 at 12:43AM PST
i dont know where these questions came from, but to a illustrator, this is the best thing ive read in a long time.!
Posted By: six shooter on September 19th, 2007 at 01:30AM PST
And I just thought the photo was funny. Thanks to Huey Crowley for asking questions. Thanks to Ed for answering them. That was good to read. Ed, you have my respect in many ways. Thanks.
Posted By: uacult on September 19th, 2007 at 08:20AM PST
yeah thanks again Ed.
You're welcome dudes.
Posted By: Huey Crowley on September 19th, 2007 at 06:58PM PST