Todd Francis’ provocative graphical style is imprinted into the history of skateboarding.
A brilliant artist with a great sense of humour is rare but one with a dedication to shifting general perceptions through their graphics that make skaters laugh is even harder to find.
Todd brought the Anti-Hero Eagle logo to life and since it arrived, the tearaway skate brand’s graphics and videos have consistently poked fun at the status quo and it has only soared in popularity
Anti-Hero’s contrarian ethos and commitment to making things funny bought comedy and comfort to millions of skaters who always felt hung up on mainstream perma-grin positivity.
Todd went on to create thousands of designs for Real, Stereo and DLXSF Brands and Vans.
He’s got a diverse range and he works beyond skateboarding and he has even got a monthly art column at Penthouse.
He’s a busy artist, who’s always down to question things so we are stoked he’s now a No Comply member so we could ask him some questions about how he got into skateboarding and making art, going to high school with Natas Kaupas, his struggle to fit into mainstream art jobs, finding a home at DLXSF, starting Anti-Hero with Julien Stranger and John Cardiel, creating the iconic Anti-Hero Eagle Logo, making boards that sell, why humour is important in art, meeting Jeff Grosso, Fucktards, creating regular art for Penthouse, how he’s dealing with the pandemic, his favourite artists, skaters, photos and skate videos of all time and much more.
Read it below to discover it for yourself.
Hey Todd, where are you based in America again?
I’m based up in Los Angeles, on the coastal side of LA and Venice.
Ok rad, how are you dealing with the pandemic?
Yeah, so hunkered down right now, I’ve got a lot of work due so it’s not as completely challenging as a lot of people that I know who create and work kind of thing. I’ve got a lot of work to do but it’s not easy.
Yeah, it’s not easy, you want space from your work environment and some time off right now but it’s practically impossible due to the pandemic but I want to talk to you about something way better
Oh really, what?
Where did you grow up?
It’s funny I grew up in the same neighbourhood that I live now in the west side of LA, kinda on the edge of Venice. Went away to college and from there to San Francisco, left for a while and I wound up returning back to here a bunch of years later.
Before we get back to what led you to go back, what motivated you as a kid to make art?
I think I was like most other kids, at a certain age, you’re quite self-conscious about things.
We all sat around and drew a lot. It was always something I was pretty obsessed with, I was very into drawing animals and drawing dinosaurs as a kid. I don’t think that’s very unusual for little boys.
I always stuck with it. I was not a very verbal kid.
Art was something I could control in life and enjoyed doing so I stuck with it, but I never saw it as a career choice I saw it as something as fun and it wasn’t until the end of high school.
Around 11th grade I had some teachers that noticed I was serious about painting and drawing and saw that I would really dive into it.
So they kind of latched on and encouraged me, I didn’t have that much direct encouragement from people I listened to that way, that was the spur that led me to go to college for art and that opened some doors as well.
When did you start to skate, was it related to making art?
You know what, the art and the skate stuff didn’t intertwine very closely when I was young.
I happened to grow up in a place where Dogtown came up and it was a pretty big area for skating, we’d all have Santa Cruz boards or Powell boards, it was the mid-80s, it was how we got around.
Was this when Streets of Fire came out? What videos were you watching at the time?
Well so Streets of Fire came out at the tail end of high school for me, I think it was 87?
It came out in 89!
89! Ok yeah, yeah so that’s well after my developmental years!
So anyway, everyone in my neighbourhood skated, none of us wanted to have a car and my family didn’t have an extra car. We went to the beach every day, so we skated and spent the whole day catching waves.
What tricks were you doing at the time?
It wasn’t so much that we were not obsessed with tricks, we were obsessed with bombing hills around us on the way to the beach, skating it was a mode of transportation, being an artist then I was blown away by artists at the time like Pushead but even more then him, VCJ who did all of the graphics for Powell for then.
The first board that was really my own that hadn’t been handed down to me was a Ray “Bones” Rodriguez, Skull and Sword one. At that time, at that age, I thought that was the best graphic I’ve ever seen.
The top graphic was just that Powell Dragon. I thought it was an amazing graphic when I was 14/15 years old.
I thought it was the most incredible piece of art I had ever seen.
At the time, your board had a nose guard and rails; it was a big board and it had a lot of plastic on it, so you know the graphic lasted, the graphic on your board lasted. You could admire your graphic, it wouldn’t last a long time in the shop but it would last a long time when you had it.
You had lappers, these plastic things on your tail, I can’t even remember what they were called, I think it was a tail plate. You actually got bummed when your graphic got ruined.
What spots where you skating at the time?
We would build plywood and lean it up against our friend’s garage and make a janky quarterpipe or something like that. There were people in the neighbourhood who had vert ramps but I was too afraid to skate those but some of our friends did.
I wasn’t good enough to skate the Marina skatepark which was still going on then, that’s a famous one, the local park Marina Del Ray skatepark.
We would go to Kenter Canyon School, which was a pretty famous spot; we’d take the bus there. There was another school, about 5 minutes from my house that had a bank.
A lot of my friends were really good skaters but I was the worst!
It wasn’t as if I was obsessed with tricks. I just had my board because we were skating the beach every day, at the time it was like a bicycle to me, and it was a mode of transportation that you love. It’s a lot more fun.
Yeah blasting down the road is brilliant. So when did you get into the skate industry?
So my friends in the neighbourhood they built a wood shop, where they would do it at home and so they would press and cut their own boards and so they would have me make their graphics.
I drew loads of skulls and skeletons scenes on his boards, like skeletons with swords and stuff.
I went to college up in Santa Barbara which is about 2 hours North of LA to do an art degree, and after I graduated from there I moved up to San Francisco.
I did a ton of art in school and I thought I wanted to do art for newspapers and magazines. Be an editorial illustrator. But then I found out that I was chasing that dream, that was really hard to do, and they didn’t necessarily even want me.
So I moved up to San Francisco and I was chasing this dream but then a good friend of mine who worked at Slap Magazine told me about a production art job at Deluxe and that was in 1994.
So Jim and Tommy and Jeff Klindt, who also ran Deluxe at the time, they didn’t know me but they hit up Natas to find out if I was an alright person and he was a vote of confidence, so I got a job at Deluxe in 1994 and never looked back.
That’s a sick connection. What stuff were you working on at Deluxe at the time?
So my entry level job there was production artist, so I was basically like doing colour separations by hand and shooting artwork and film, that was done by the other artists.
The skateboard industry was a lot smaller then; it wasn’t like we had this art department that was like 9 guys or something, it was basically just me and one other guy doing the artwork.
So whatever the main artist didn’t do or freelance out, I would do!
Someone had to do it. So I would draw and illustrate whatever he didn’t like to do. I learn all about colour separations and print techniques from working there.
At the time Real was the main company at Deluxe and Spitfire was well established, it was the number one wheel company in the world, we had Stereo that was going on, which as huge at the time. I started the same week they released their Visual Sound skate video, they were doing well and they also had Thunder.
They eventually let me do a few boards for Real.
Where they your first proper board graphics?
I did a James Kelch board, they just reissued it this year, and I did a second board, that was a colourway of the same graphics for K-Walks and after I did a Julien Stranger board graphic because he was on Real at the time.
I was really happy to do all that stuff. Then the guy who was art director there, he quit, he was burned out. We had to be at work every morning at 8. He was a late night graffiti guy, he got burned out. He was exhausted, he couldn’t do both. So it was left up to me take up the art direction.
Right, what happened then?
It was right about that time, Jim Thiebaud, Tommy Guerrero and Jeff Klindt, decided Julien should do an offshoot company at Deluxe and so Julien along with John Cardiel started to put together Anti-Hero.
I was there when that happened and I related with what they wanted and it became my baby you know.
Everybody’s associated you with the Anti-Hero Logo. How did you come up with the logo? I know it’s been through some evolutions but what was the original design?
There were a lot of mistakes and a lot of starts and stops and misfires. But the first couple Anti-Hero logos we did were offshoots from the first couple of board series’ that we made.
So we did this four pro board of Chris Johansson, it was this amazing four piece board series set he did and then the company launched with this pro board series set by Jeff Whitehead, the first few treatments, we did logo shirts using both of those graphics. But after those they did not want to pay freelancers anymore for the art, so I was like we have start doing it in-house.
So Julien and I would dream up stuff but every time I would it would go badly.
One was like a plane going down in flames, and it just didn’t look very good and another one based on a fire-water idea, based on something else and it didn’t look very good but, then the Anti-Hero Pigeon Logo came out around the same time as their first skate video, the Fucktards video.
Yeah that video is a classic.
Yeah that was their first logo I guess or whatever you want to call it ‘Brand Icon,’ that Anti-Hero had that I had done and we liked it a lot but people didn’t buy it a lot, it wasn’t a very hot seller.
So as a result the team went on tour, bear in mind this was way back before mobile phones were regularly used, so Real and Anti-Hero go out together on this cross country trip.
What happened when they went on the trip?
So they’re gone and so Jeff Klindt ,who ran the show at Deluxe, he was very creative, he had an art background, he’d designed some boards for H-Street and he had a graphic design background through that, and he came up to me and he said we need to change The Pigeon to something else, to something tough and American.
I was like ‘Hey, shouldn’t we talk to Julien about this!?’
He was like no….no, he’s on a tour; we’ve got to do it now!
So I think he was basically waiting for Julien to be gone and so I couldn’t reach him on the phone to talk to him about it.
Jeff could see that the logos were coming up and see they were not going to be big sellers and that they would continue to suck. So Jeff got involved and said let’s base it on a tattoo or I don’t know something tough!
So we were looking in some books and we found some eagle tattoos and stuff and he was like ‘yeah’, he got all fired up about that.
As a result I drew the Anti-Hero Eagle and that coincided along with a lot of other things that were going right like the video and the company really starting to take off and people started caring more about it and as a result that eagle sold a lot more, we made a board and that board sold more. It looked great as a board and that just stayed to this day.
To this day, it wasn’t the first attempt at something good, we just happened to get lucky finally.
Brands can take a few attempts before they hit the mark; would you change anything you did?
When you are part of an art department not only do you want to make it look good so it makes you happy, you have a series of bosses, so you’re doing a lot of things to make them happy as well.
So when it came out I thought hey it looks pretty good, saw how it looked on a shirt, on the chest of a shirt and it looked good and then on a board, it looked really good!
Anti-Hero is not about flag-waving, it’s not this All-American patriotic brand, you know, so despite that a rugged-looking, jacked-up looking eagle that was more tough-looking then patriotic, made more sense.
Of course, the longevity I’m very proud of, it’s one of my greatest accomplishments in terms of my art career, is being responsible for that eagle, so I’m tremendously proud of it but I’m not going to anoint myself as some sort of genius for creating the Anti-Hero logo.
Always thought it was a great joke, a satire on patriotic America, always been drawn to it.
It was a team effort and the creation of a solid logo needed to happen so I never got carried away.
The logo came out amazing but it’s not all about the artwork.
It’s really about what Julien and the team has accomplished all of these years to allow it to stay relevant.
Anti-Hero is a consistently sick brand, Daan, Pfanner, Grant, all great skaters, bulletproof choices, so are the design and ads .What’s kept ‘The 18’ running strong all these years?
All I would say from having worked with Anti-Hero since its conception. The reason if anyone thinks it’s good or has stayed consistent is because of Julien and John Cardiel.
They have very high standards and Julien especially is involved in all creative day-to-day decisions and he’s extremely smart and really cares a lot.
He’s not lazy and the bar has been set very high, he has very elevated expectations, so as a result you don’t get lazy, you don’t do half assed ideas because it won’t fly.
It really starts and ends with him, then of course, the team’s amazing, the filmers, the artists behind the scenes they are all incredible, everybody else, but it all really starts with Julien.
If he were he not as all involved in it or cared about it a lot less or rested on his laurels, we would not be talking about Anti-Hero today.
Yeah it takes a motivating creative force to make things happen. So after you’ve created the logo, how old where you at that point?
When I got my start at Deluxe, I was desperate to find a job to do art for a living.
I got out of college wanting to do that. When I was in college, I won a bunch of awards for my art and I got a lot of attention and I thought this won’t be so hard.
But I did and it was super fucking hard.
And I was extremely disappointed, not knowing where any opportunities lay for me and I was extremely discouraged.
And so I was very happy with the production artist job and of course the ladder at Deluxe was a very short one, so climbing that ladder didn’t take much. So once I got in there, I didn’t let go of it.
I enjoyed working there, the people who worked there are all amazing, so it was very inspiring. I’ve never been one to look that far ahead. I’ve never had that gene, I’ve never had that vision for career trajectory.
I was 22 years old and I was just stoked to be laughing at work every day and getting to illustrate and see them printed and sold. That was a tremendous honour that was all I ever kind of dreamed of.
Then you know I never had a long range plan. I never thought about parlaying that into my own brand or some fucking t-shirt company. Skateboarding was a lot smaller, success in skateboarding?
There was no blueprint for a next step!
There was nobody out there I knew plotting out there career course in that way. We were all really just having a good time.
Yeah there was no foreseeable alternative so you were more driven by passion for it
Yeah. It was unlike anything else too.
I was doing graphics for Stereo, Real and Anti-Hero all at the same time.
But partly because Anti-Hero was so much like my own baby, we just knew the artwork, the sense of humour, the ideas, was unlike anything else at the time, so that really was a source of pride of as well.
How would you approach doing work for all the different brands? How did you create original series for those brands?
The way it worked when I started working there was, it would be like OK! We’re down to 20 Kelch boards, so we need a new Kelch Board, what you got? Let’s get something!
OK we need Coco Santiago Boards! We’re out of Coco Santiago boards, we’re almost sold out of them, let’s come up with something for him, and then like we need a board for Stereo for Matt Rodríguez he’s down to 25, we need more for him.
Or often, Jason Lee would get two boards at the same time, because he sold boards really well. So it would be like we need two new boards for Jason, so we thought of them as individual islands rather than sets.
I’m not nerdy enough to know if we deserve credit for it but I do know that Anti-Hero and Crailtap guys around the same time started doing Pro Series.
You do four or five boards at once, that all had this central idea and the same aesthetic you know and that tied the team together. That was what the first set of Anti-Hero Boards we had.
Those Jeff Whitehead boards that had those tattoo feels, they all looked like they belonged together you know and the same with the Chris Johansson set they all were closely tied in together.
That was because Julien wanted that, it said that the team was together, he didn’t want it to look like the team boards has this series of individual artistic dispirit styles, he wanted them to look as if all of the boards were designed to look as if they were all attached to the hip and that kind of changed the game
Again, I don’t know if Anti-Hero was the first one to come up with that or whether he was reacting to what Girl and Chocolate were doing. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter.
Suddenly, we thought let’s start doing that with Stereo, oh let’s start doing that with Real. So we would do these pro sets, that would have 3, 5 or 7 pro boards at once in the same series, so we suddenly came up with an idea that had some mileage you could interpret over a set of decks.
So instead of doing a one-off board for Coco, you did a set of where Coco was one of five guys represented.
So that changed it up considerably.
So that brought visual names across designs and models, to keep the aesthetic aligned, that’s commonplace now but for you that was new? How did you define your artistic style?
The style thing has changed over the years.
When I started working at Deluxe I was doing a lot of art for Real and for Stereo and well as for Spitfire and everything else. So you had to be very versatile and you had to pretend to do a lot of styles. You had to take it in a lot of different ways.
The Stereo graphics always had a nod to Jazz covers and a certain style from the late 50s and early 60s that required a certain style that was a very different style from how the Real boards were drawn.
I and the other artists who were involved had to be diverse, it’s not like there was not one signature style, it would not help with that job, you had to have the ability to do a bunch of different styles and check off all of those boxes.
VCJ he has one set style, you can tell when he does his thing and Pushead and Sean Cliver and Marc McKee, they have a style, Don Pendleton, Ed Templeton, everybody who has come along since, you can tell exactly who’s done it because they have this one look.
But if you had one look when I started working there, that was going to be a problem. You needed to be able to do a bunch of different stuff.
Stereo had such a signature aesthetic that was different to what anyone else did so you had to be able to adopt that style really well.
So I have a certain drawing style that I use when I’m drawing stuff for myself but I get bored of just one look and one specific style because I don’t want it to look like I’m being lazy or predictable.
I’ll do watercolour stuff sometimes, I’ll do charcoal stuff sometimes, so I’m bouncing around a little bit and so I’m not just being a style monkey, you know?
There are always a lot of animals in the work you make why do you focus a lot on animals?
Because animals were what I was seeing in the beginning, from when I started to make art. I really like animals a lot.
Animals in our world today tend to get the short end of the stick a lot, so a lot of the stories I try to tell are about animals rising up and attacking back and levelling up the playing field.
There’s that and also I think you can tell a more poetic visual story with animals as the symbol than you can then with people.
Yeah so there ends up being a lot of birds a lot of vermin, they tell a story in a way that’s better than some person’s scrunched up face you know.
For sure. Why’s humour important in art?
Well, it’s important for me and not everything I do needs to be hilarious.
But I think that I, Julien and Sam Davidson, the art director at Anti-Hero, we all like to crack jokes with each other, it goes back to day one at Anti-Hero and at Real and Stereo.
Everybody I’ve worked with, they all make each other laugh, and coming up with new creative ideas to do that and that helps us to stop getting bored and to stop us from taking ourselves too serious or whatever.
But also I want what I’m doing, that’s going on the wall of a shop to be easily digestible, something relatable, I don’t believe in making stuff abstract or impossible to cut through.
I want it to be something that almost everybody can understand, so through the stories and the messages I’m telling you deliver them with a spoonful of sugar which in this case is a sense of humour and the graphic could be talking about something a little bit more serious and important but doing a political speech from a soapbox on a skateboard time after time again if it’s not funny, it would be boring in a self-important way.
So you can say sense of humour, is the lube!
Yeah, your down to soften the blow with some humour, speaking of funny people how did you first meet Jeff Grosso?
I don’t go as far back as the other Anti-Hero guys do with Jeff but I did know him but only since he came on with Anti-Hero. He only lived an hour away, so I spent time with him several times, we enjoyed working together a lot, we definitely made each other laugh a lot, I made some of Jeff’s board graphics which was a tremendous honour, he’s a special guy to me.
I’m still very upset about not being able to call or text him of the blue and have a conversation about parenting and life and I’m very sad that he’s gone.
Yeah he was beloved around the world, it was a tremendous loss.
Yeah he was a big presence in skateboarding. Sorry for more negative questions but how is Deluxe dealing with coronavirus?
It’s slowed things down but I’ve spent all week working on board graphics. So it hasn’t changed a lot for me.
There are still deadlines, there’s still need. We’re still doing orders. Shops are staying alive and doing well.
That’s the good news out of this.
We know things will return to somewhat normal in the somewhat future, so we need to be prepared for that. I’m still working on board graphics as are other people. Videos are still coming out.
The pandemic hasn’t pressed pause as far as my work with them goes. There’s still a lot of work to do for me.
Good to know the wheels are still turning, what’s your day to day like there now?
My typical day is spent working from home; the bulk of my time is spent doing Anti-Hero graphics, t-shirts and board designs, stuff like that.
I also do a lot of artwork for Vans.
Van has me doing artwork for them in different ways but they also have me go in and speak to high school students and I do murals across the country for them and I’ve been to other countries doing that too.
Vans keeps me very busy. Sometimes I’ll be sitting here painting a shoe or packing a bag to go travelling to a House of Vans launch, spend a week doing a mural, so it gets super busy and I have a lot of other clients.
I do a page in every issue of Penthouse Magazine. I’ve been doing that for five years now.
How did the Penthouse stuff come about?
The Penthouse stuff started in a very random way.
The art director there at the time knew my skate stuff and reached out to me and he said how do you feel about doing a page in the magazine, every issue?
Yeah that was a full circle question because that was what I dreamed of doing when I was in high school, getting paid to contribute regularly to magazines but nobody wanted me at the time so my dream took me whatever, 25 years later to come true and somebody finally trusted me enough to do it.
I love doing stuff for print media; it’s something I care deeply about.
I’ve got a client base that I love and I get to do a lot of adventures with them and it’s generally done from my home studio and that’s where I’ve been working for the last eight years straight now.
So when do you get time to skate and where is your favourite place to skate?
These days my main thing is to skate to the market and back or skate to the bar and back.
It’s my favourite, skateboarding for me is my favourite mode of transportation, I’m rarely leaving the ground, I get to do what I love the most on a skateboard which is push really fast.
I’m moving to a new neighbourhood pretty soon that has some nice little hills and I can’t wait to fire down those a bit. I’ve not made name in skateboarding because of my skills on a skateboard that’s for sure!
Yeah it’s your fire at the canvas! Is there anything you want to mention before I fire off your favourite questions?
Last year I did a series of art show, two-man shows with Porus Walker, this artist who is really funny.
We did this project, I made this calendar. We released that in November and December and I’ll probably be doing more stuff like that as the year goes on, doing more prints and more stuff I’m interested in too.
But aside from those things, the work I do with Vans and Anti-Hero and Penthouse and other clients, those are the main thing I’m working on right now but then again, the way things have been the last month or whatever, it’s just been about staying alive.
For sure, it’s been a tough time
It’s been a challenging stretch of time. A year ago Jake Phelps died. There’s been a lot of deaths around me and the people I cared about. You mentioned Grosso earlier but then also living in LA, there was Kobe Bryant, then my mom passed away, she was close to me and it was really heavy thing as well.
Yeah things are difficult
So there’s definitely been a dark cloud but all we can do is to stay positive and keep pushing and stay on board. It’s been a tough 12 months.
It’s all about being trying to stay positive and look for solutions. You’re really active online, what motivates you to keep posting?
You know what it’s funny because a lot of people hate social media and say I think it’s stupid!
That’s an easy and narrow way to put it and it also makes you sound contrarian.
Everyone wants to sound like a fucking rebel meanwhile they spend the whole day scrolling through their phones looking at something.
But I see it as a working artist as a tremendous opportunity that never existed before, where we are all giving equal footing to have a billboard in our hands and to show our work and our feelings and ideas visually, in a forum people can look at.
Sure some people are just going to post pictures of their butt in a thong and people will want to look at that.
Some people are going to want to start a stream and say loads of stupid things and people want to hear.
But for an artist for somebody who deals in visuals for a living it’s a tremendous opportunity so most artists that I know have come to realise that and have embraced it wholeheartedly.
Have you ever had any negative comments online and how do you respond to them?
Yeah sure, a lot of the work I do is not for everybody, the political stuff I do, some people get pissed off, and they’ll start yelling at me or whatever the fuck, sometimes I might throw something back at them or make fun of them, or I just ignore them.
But I see in today’s world, every artist who believes in their work should embrace it, because it’s the age of creating awareness of your work. And if your work is deserving of awareness why not give it that.
Agreed. But not everybody sees it that way.
I really enjoy Instagram a lot, it leads with visuals. Facebook on the other hand, I think I’ve only used for three years but there’s a reason for that and it’s only revealed itself to me recently.
It’s not driven for visuals, it’s basically for older people to argue with each other and post links to illegitimate news sources and religious funded websites and people are dumb enough to give them equal footing and billing to historically vetted and certified journalism.
So I find Facebook to be moronic. Instagram I find easier and focus on more heavily.
I think you need to update and change otherwise you run the risk of becoming a dinosaur, and I’m not slowing down anytime soon.
Do you have a favourite skate photo?
So much of my favourite stuff has a personal backstory. So like for me, photos of Natas, there is a specific shot of this big Ollie from Natas at the Venice Hip, that’s a big one for me.
It’s because its Natas, he’s a friend of mine and he was always this amazing ground-breaking skater, at a time of my life where the power of the tricks he was doing was just blowing my mind.
I think J Grant Brittain shot that! It’s rad. Do you have a favourite skate video of all-time?
It’s personal but that first Anti-Hero Fucktards was a big one for me because it was unlike anything else.
Obviously because of the personalities it captured, Cardiel and Julien, there’s a lot of guys in that video I spent a lot of time with like Sean Young, he was all over that video.
I liked Sean Young a lot, I liked his skating, I liked his personality, he was a special dude to me, so it sounds kind of self-serving to say that’s the one but that’s the one!
Agreed. Favourite piece that you’ve made?
Do you mean a board graphic?
I don’t really stare at my own work admiringly for a long piece of time.
I think the Julien Stranger K9 I did in 1997. Where there’s a police dog attacking its cop owner, it’s ripping his face off, I always like that one. Yeah it’s a Julien board, so there’s extra meaning in there too.
Do you have a favourite skater of all-time?
Natas was my favourite skater back in the day; he was one of my favourite humans when I was younger but today?
It might be Evan Smith. It might be Grant Taylor or it might be Nora Vasconcellos.
That Kickflip Backlip drop-in she did was sick.
Yeah she’s a ripper, she’s a personality, and she’s the complete package. I generally gravitate towards skaters who are sort of unpredictable and creative but have likeable personalities and a lot of stuff going on.
For sure. What’s your favourite spot ever?
I’m not going to name like spots that I fucking ripped I half because as I said it’s never happened! But for me, the neighbourhood that I grew up in had the longest hill, that hill was the bane of my existence!
I’ve got scars on both elbows, multiple slams, I’ve had concussions from that hill.
That hill took a lot out of me over a long time.
I was also afraid to skate it so being scared of it made it even more likely I was going to eat shit. But now I’m not afraid of it. A lot of it comes from living in San Francisco and getting more comfortable skating hills.
So skating down that hill is probably my favourite place to cruise these days.
Hillbombing is the best. Do you have a favourite piece of work by another artist?
There’s a lot of work out there that impresses me. It’s funny because I’ve got to meet a lot of people I get impressed by and other people whose work I admire.
I recently received a print from Cleon Petterson, he’s an artist I really love and admire, he’s a big name in the mainstream art world but he comes from skateboarding, he designed skate graphics way back when.
He’s really rad. The message he sends out about violence and his overtly political messaging I really admire it.
So I’m really excited to get it framed and put it on the wall.
Artists, who are able to reach a lot of people, like Shepard Fairey, that have a message and a way to say something, to so many people, in an attempt to make the world a better place. I really admire that. It’s very meaningful.
There are a lot of artists who are tremendously popular, I tend to like artists who have a message, political or in some way with a clear message that shows a clear way, that’s where my interests tend to gravitate, towards anyone doing that.
Any last words Todd?
There’s a lot of death and sadness swirling around us right now and I’m doing my best to try and pull myself out of it. I hope everyone out there is trying just as hard to pull themselves out of it.
Hopefully people will vote and try and make a difference in this world and I hope we can get the assholes out of our lives and out of positions of power and try and a make the world a better place, with cleaner air and less disease and more science and less religion.