Jari Salo has been a long time contributor to the CAPiTA line. Over the years, his mixed media art and illustrations have found their way onto the topsheets of many CAPiTA models including The Quiver Killer, Space Metal Fantasy, Birds of a Feather and Charlie Slasher. Most recently, Jari has created the dark, dramatic and dreamlike landscapes of the Black Snowboard of Death series.
How did you begin your career as an artist? Was there a moment where you knew it would develop into a career?
I think it all started in elementary school when I was struggling to fit into the system and was primarily just drawing way too much instead of focusing on studying. After finishing high school, I was doing some airbursh set designs for Megazone (that laser war game thing). After that, I got approved into a graphic design school. Probably then I realized that this was actually going to be my profession. I started to work in agencies in the mid-90s. It was pretty unbelievable that I even got hired to work in agencies with such a crappy portfolio. For example, I had some classified phone sex ads in the collection since I didn't have anything else to put in there. I worked in several agencies, and I was also co-founder and creative director of three agencies. Nowadays, I have my own company and I'm focusing more on branding and visual identities than into marketing related things. I also work a lot with movie key art projects and all interesting cultural stuff. Check out the movie 'Euthanizer', it will represent Finland in the Oscars and I did the key art there. I can't call myself a full-time artist, but rather a designer who aslo does illustrations and artworks.
What techniques are you typically using for creating your art and board graphics?
I use mixed media most of the time, a lot of photos, sometimes I draw and paint or even use 3D. I have Wacom's Cintiq where I can paint and draw directly on the screen, and that has replaced quite a lot of the traditional painting and drawing methods. I like to compose everything in Photoshop.
How detailed is the process of creating a graphic?
Usually, it all starts around February by bouncing rough ideas back and forth with Eph (CAPiTA Creative Director) and Blue (Montgomery). When we have the ideas locked, I begin to work on the detailed artwork and work until everyone's happy. Sometimes I do even a dozen versions before we find the right design. It's teamwork. Usually, the graphics are finished in July.
An early version of the 2016 BSOD illustration.
How have the BSOD graphics evolved since you began working on them three years ago?
The first BSOD I worked on, was with the ship (2016). The inspiration came from whiskey labels and old sailor stories of sea creatures. I didn't have any idea that the ship theme would live longer than one year but the next year Eph proposed that we continue with the same subject and we made the flying ghost ship. I kept the similar kind of background style, but the illustration slowly transitions towards this sci-fi world with each model. My personal favorite is the ghost ship. Unfortunately, I didn't get the first BSOD where the tentacles are dragging the ship since it was sold out so fast.
How did you arrive on the creation of this dramatic post-apocalyptic landscape on this seasons BSOD model?
Originally Eph wanted me to make a graphic where the ship is approaching a hovering ruin of a post-apocalyptic skyscraper. But during the process, we decided to remove the boat and focus only on that skyscraper. I added the skull-shaped asteroid where the building stood. It's nearly impossible to do something that has not been done before, but I think that our idea is pretty original.
A few of Jari's revisions of the skyscraper centerpiece on the 18/19 BSOD.
A close up look of the new BSOD graphic where Jari created a detailed and dramatic post-apocalyptic landscape.
Outside of the BSOD, how many CAPiTA graphics have you created now?
The first graphic I did for CAPiTA was the Quiver Killer, then I did many women's boards like The Space Metal Fantasy, Saturnia and Birds of a Feather. After that, I moved to the Charlie Slashers, and now the BSODs. For the next season, I did three more boards. Perhaps there are around 15 boards I've done for CAPiTA. I've also done some logos for different models. I'm super thankful to Blue and Eph that they want to work with me year after year. It's a great honor to be part of something that I'm a huge fan of. I really like to build long-lasting relationships, it is so much easier to work with people and brands that you know well. Back in the days, I was working with several snowboarding brands simultaneously, but after starting with CAPiTA, I have only made snowboard graphics exclusively for them.
Not just regarding snowboard graphics, but also with your other artworks, what type of things are you influenced by?
I grew up with skateboarding, snowboarding, punk rock and metal, reading comic books and watching splatter and sci-fi movies from 100 times copied VHS tapes. That probably already gave a good base for everything I'm doing today. I guess I just try to keep my eyes open and not lose that kid inside of me. Nature, music, different cultures, movies and art are sources of inspiration. Hanging with my kids is always inspiring. My younger boy is drawing weird mutant mermaids all the time! Following snowboarding trends is scary because so much is done already, so it's safer to take the inspiration from outside the scene. Eph is a big inspiration always. I really love his style of thinking outside the box. I still feel that I don't have a strong style of my own. The reason probably is the commercial background where I have always tried to adapt my style to the client's needs.
You've designed a lot of graphics but what is your personal favorite board to ride?
Currently, I'm riding The Outsiders, and I really like how it performs in the halfpipe and hard, icy park conditions that we often have in our mini resort, Talma. And I love how explosive the pop is on that board. The board feel and control of the DOA is amazing, and I was riding the DOA for many years. I don't want to destroy my BSODs, so I never tried them. Riding powder is my favorite activity, and therefore I also really like to ride with C. Slasher and NeoSlasher. Hopefully, I can try the Navigator soon. Powder Glider 158 is tempting too and the new Indoor Survival's camber shape...There are too many boards!
When he's not designing the board graphics he's ripping on them. Jari in the powdery Alps. Photo: Erkki Izarra