Buying a new deck is one of the greatest feelings a skateboarder can experience. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most guilty. Especially in those moments just after walking out of the skateshop with a shining new deck that displays a thoughtful graphic with full knowledge that some artist poured their blood, sweat and tears into curating it. Without further ado, you head straight to the nearest flatbar and smear their work across a cold steel beam without even a second thought. For anyone that’s ever done this to a Flip Skateboard, odds are that the tragedy might have come at the expense of one of Swedish illustrator, Martin Ander’s graphics.
Luckily for guilty parties, the folks at Dokument Press have you covered as they proudly release their latest title, ‘Ouff! Mander Selected Works.’ Now, skaters, fans and art connoisseurs can keep a testament to the work of Ander’s 25+ year illustration career in the form of a hardcover publication without worrying about chipping any paint. Clocking in at just under a hundred pages, Ander has managed to cram over 200 original illustrations into the pages of this work and has supplemented text throughout to help carry the narrative. While we could take a stab at trying to articulate the allure of his thought-provoking work, it’s clearly better to let Ander’s illustrations speak for themselves. For that, the snapshots of this book provide a glimpse into what we’re talking about here.
In addition, we posed Ander with a few questions just before the title’s European release party. Ranging from his beginnings in the skateboarding world to eventual developments in the creative process, have a look at what Ander has to say about his efforts to make viewers go Ouff!
I thought one of the most important points from your press release was that the skateboard industry found your work. How exactly did your professional relationship with skateboarding industry begin?
Well, it came quite naturally, I’ve been skating since 1985 and know most of the skaters in my generation of skaters in Sweden, and everybody knows that I like skateboard graphics and draw a lot.
I did skate zines and did some illustrations for a skate mag here in Sweden long before I got to do graphics. My first paid job in the skateboard industry was drawing posters and illustrations for eighties pro freestyler, Per Holknekt’s, skate shop in Stockholm back in 1990.
In 2007, when my friend Martin Karlsson started a company called Bellows Skateboards, he asked me to do some graphics for them, they had the same distribution as Sweet Skateboards, which was one of the big skate companies in Sweden at the time. They saw my work for Bellows and asked me to do graphics for them too. After that came Seven Inch Skateboards from Finland and Polygon from Sweden which I was part owner of for a while.
Then I got the contact with Flip Skateboards via Ali Boulala, I contacted them and got to do lots of graphics for them too. That was about five or six years ago I think. I’ve always been freelance – I want to work with everybody. The past year I’ve done graphics for Sweet again, and both Sunrise and Scumfuc skateboards from Chile, Chrononaut from Sweden and RVCA.
Between huge names like Flip to smaller names like Polygon, are there any differences in your creative process when designing graphics for larger brands versus smaller brands?
All clients are different. The biggest difference is that I’m friends with most of the Swedish clients and their teams and they totally trust me to do something cool. In a small market, it doesn’t have to be as commercial. The decks will sell anyway and the team is stoked that I do their graphics. Working with a bigger company means more people involved, more opinions, more decks per series and of course, the need to follow the brand’s aesthetic idea more and to keep the team riders happy.
What’s the craziest part of seeing a wall full of boards displaying your work on them?
The coolest part is to see a kid picking down a board and looking at the graphic, just like i did when i was a kid with the VCJ and Jim Phillips graphics.
Can you explain any of the reasoning behind fusing what’s been referred to as “melancholia and darkness” with bright colors?
I don’t really put too much thought in to that. I’m not really a melancholic dude, but my work tends to be a little bit dark sometimes. Maybe its me just trying to make the images look a little bit more fun, or it’s the fact that I love old blacklight posters. My work is quite detailed – lots of things happening at the same time. By adding bright colors to it, I can make the important stuff ”pop” and tone down some of the not so important details.
Frida Talik’s account of your book describes how it provides an “insider view” to your work. How do you think it does that?
I myself buy a lot of books about artists, cartoonists and illustrators. And usually they don’t contain that much: one image per page, mostly stuff you have already seen and hardly any text. I wanted to give the audience what they pay for so in Ouff!, there’s one long interview, two shorter texts and over 300 images, camped in to 96 pages. I have not tried to just put the absolute best stuff for the coolest clients in the book, there’s a little bit of everything. Just like the life of an illustrator.
What was it like to take art that you would usually have endless canvas space for and consolidate/reformat it for the purposes of the book?
At first it was hard. Most of my images is drawn to be pretty big and I had to scale them down to fit in the book. I had to think of every spread as an art piece in itself and [think of] the images in it [as] parts of a bigger picture, not art pieces themselves. It was the opposite from showing in a galley, where every piece hangs by itself on a white wall. I was afraid that I would lose the details in some of the images, but I think it worked out great. You don’t read a book the same way you read a poster or a skate graphic.
Any parting words about the book/your artistic career that you’d like to share?
The book is called Ouff! Mander Selected Works. It dropped in Europe on Sept. 20, and drops in the USA/rest of the world on Oct 25. Follow me on Instagram for new work: @manderoid
All photos provided and authorized and provided by Dokument Press and Martin Ander. Portrait photo shot by Petter Danielsson.
So.. You Can Longboard Dance? 2018 Worldcup Longboard Freestyle and Dance (flatland disciplines) 6th edition APRIL 21st and 22nd 2018 Klokgebouw Eindhoven The Netherlands competitions. Entry is free for spectators.
Bianca Kersten heads up Flow Provider and she is in charge of the event. We contacted her from her home in Spain.
For those who are new to the party, what is it about longboard dancing?
Longboard dancing is riding a longboard in your own style, with flow (speed, consistency, combos) and creativity (innovation is important in competitions). It includes dancing that is accompanied by a variety of technical tricks.
How did Flow Provider become part of this movement – and what was the impetus to start the SYCLD
Already since 2003 does Flow Provider organise projects within street culture and street sports. Mainly events and programs in school. We believe in making a circle: pro’s inspiring people to start who are taught bij <retired or not> pro’s who can make a living out of their passion this way. These new inspired people who are taught form the new generation of pro’s and so the story continues. I believe in taking care of the whole circle to maintain a healthy scene. I use to manage a building on the opposite side of the Klokgebouw. Jan, the owner told me that I should just ask whenever I wanted to do something. It was bad weather and we wanted to skate. And so we did.. and the whole world came. Things lined up.. I had the time and knowledge to make an event out of it (which was necessary because of the huge amounts of people that wanted to come), I have the love of longboarding and knew the people in the scene and the owner of the Klokgebouw supports us in an unbelievable way. So.. it became ‘So.. You (think you can <- the first edition this was added) Can Longboard Dance?’ as a joke because the event that was her big sister, in Zwolle NL, was called ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Nobody knew it would lead to this. And I think the secret of the succes and growth is that there is no ulteriar motive. As long as a bunch of people have fun skating and inspire others, SYCLD is a succes.
What are some of the goals of Flow Provider?
The goals of Flow Provider is inspire, connect, educate and spread the stoke. Get people to feel what we all know about. The feeling of motion on a board and the butterflies and joy that gives. What it means if you can live your passion. I guess that is also the strength of organising SYCLD. I love every moment I can spend on the beach and in the ocean, so I only want to spend time behind the computer doing what I love, my time is too precious to me. SYCLD is an event I love to organise because it’s all about positivity. Everyone wants the best for it and each other. Even the sponsoring brands don’t want to dominate each other. Everyone supports it and loves doing so because it’s nice! Teaching longboard is also so nice! I was teaching thousands of kids and the smiles are the best! So inspire and get those who are inspired to inspire others. The pebble in the water..
For SYCLD I would like to have one event on every continent or in every region. The winner wins a trip to Eindhoven to have a shot at the title of World Champion. I think everyone should have the chance to attend and that a plane ticket to Eindhoven should not be the reason that maybe the biggest hidden talent somewhere can’t come. I think Brenno’s story is so inspirational. Did a crowdfunding campaign to get money for a ticket from Brazil to Holland and luckily he made it because he became world champion that year! And this changed his life!
For those who’ve never attended a SYCLD, what should they expect?
A huge venue of 5000m2 where you can skate, watch and enjoy yourself! With the nicest people on the planet doing things on a board that seem impossible. Just enjoy, skate and relax. The event is both days (21st and 22nd of April) from 13.00-22.00 and on Saturday there is a party nearby. Many competitions and much space to skate with obstacles. Eindhoven is also an awesome city. Most innovations and new developments in design are coming from Eindhoven. For those who can’t make it there will be a live broadcast!
Welcome to the new website.
Pardon the dust. We hope you like the new website and enjoy it! But, it’s far from done. In fact, it will never be done, because we will always be working on improving it to keep up with it’s own natural purpose to be an extension of the skateboarding world that has shaped us. The site will continue to improve in this regard with a mission to evolve forever with skateboarding rather than focus on resisting change or why things aren’t “the same” anymore. How can we ensure supporting and keeping up with the evolution of skateboarding? Simple. By being by skateboarders, for skateboarders, always, and never losing touch with the real world of skateboarding. That’s exactly where you come in. We want to see your images and clips and read your stories. Please, FILL this site with the real world of skateboarding and help us make it about the roots while we at the same time find new and cool ways to connect and evolve with the people that make skateboarding awesome. With this mission in mind, to connect real skaters everywhere of all styles and skill levels, this site isn’t just for you as a skater:
This time, it’s by you.
What do we mean? How can you help build our community and the skateboard industry? Well, it’s not just about reading awesome editorials by Michael and Bud & and others (they have done a fantastic job over the years so hats off to them). We will always have that side of the mag and we hope to support it in new ways through the new site. But, this time when we do it’s about the community, about the skaters creating content and getting out there on the web with us, to share in the stoke. So, we want to read YOUR posts and articles. We want to let YOU be the publishers, too, right along with us. We will be in forums with you and we hope to generate an actual two way dialogue within the industry and skate community that helps us do our best to craft the site’s evolution according to what YOU want out of it and what the skateboarding world really wants. No corporate agendas. Real skaters. How can you specifically get involved?
Well, so many easy ways:
- Sign up and show your support by completing your profile and putting a face to the name. Put a cover photo and profile photo up and you’ll show up in our community page. Feel free to use your real name or a pseudonym, it’s up to you!
- Post in the forums. Share your skate pics, your skate instagram posts, your skate clips, your stories, your skateboards, your designs, your opinions, and your passions. But, most of all, share the stoke and spread high fives and positive vibes. Haters and negatrons will be banned! Try to have fun.
- Read our past issues and watch our vids! They’re up on the site and we’ll be adding more and more media to enjoy.
- Design custom finger boards and skateboards in the shop. This feature is being rolled out to certain members only in the first week, and it will go public to everyone. So, sign up soon to be part of the early release! If you don’t see it yet, just check back in a day or two.
- Share us on social media. Read a cool article or see a cool post? Share it on FB, IG, Pinterest, or wherever you like to share!
- Check Back Often! We’re posting frequently now that we’re up and running, and we’re releasing more really awesome sections soon so don’t be a stranger!
- Go Skate! Don’t forget why we do this! Skateboarding isn’t broken and never was. It’s still is and always was one of the purest forms of freedom and self expression by just having fun. You just have to do it to find out. Get out there. Get on your board. And, go sk8. Do it your way! Don’t conform. Do what you want! And, if you do document it, then when you get back…. post and share your stoke here with us and forever be immortalized in our new forums that will one day be considered the new archives by the skaters, for the skaters. We, for starters, are eagerly waiting to read all of your stories and comments see all of your awesome clips and pics just like you’ve been reading ours over the years.
We’re excited to see what the skateboard community can be here on the new wave. But, don’t worry, the old wave will always live on as well as we also pay tribute with awesome throwbacks and past issues. Hopefully both can come together in one space, and we can share the stoke old and new, as we transition into the next wave here in 2018.
Thanks for reading and being a part of this movement. We have a LOT more than this coming thru the site and all of the great sponsors and groups we’re working with right now to connect networks all over the world through skateboarding. Stay tuned, we’re just getting going!
Now let’s go skate.