The first ever Stairmaster series was introduced in 2004 originally only as a limited release and only available in a 148cm size. The following year, 2005, the Stairmaster found its way into the main CAPiTA line and Corey Smith's art would find its place on the topsheets of the series. Over the next several years the Stairmaster would continue to be one of the most popular series in the CAPiTA line. Corey's art would be featured year after year and played a huge part in creating the personality behind these freestyle decks. Here's what Corey remembers about his influences and the artwork that went into the 2005 Stairmaster, now a CAPiTA classic.
The lineup of stairmasters in the 2005 CAPiTA catalog.
Where were you with your artwork and CAPiTA at the time?
Corey: "I think this was the second series I did. I did a series before that with a Polaroid collage of some industrial areas around Seattle (2004 Photo Collage Series). The first Stairmaster we did was the 148 (in 2004) with everyone involved with CAPiTA's names on it. The first one I did was this series with all the sizes and it had all the funny clip art on it."
What were the influences in your art at the time?
Corey: "Overall, my influences were pretty typical for someone learning about art and art history at the time. Lychenstien, Warhol, Rusha, Duchamp, Rauschenberg, they were all easily digestible so they were my heros. For this board, I remember finding a dusty stack of Tom Tierney clip art books at a local used book store and flipping through them and just laughing out loud. The images were so out-dated and stylized in this middle-class, white, utopian by-gone era of the late 70's and early 80's. The drawing style was so simple and just begged to add any cynical commentary to which I was regrettably a master of at the time. I remember having a really good time creating little narratives and laughing. This was the pre google image search, memes, e-greeting card era so it was fresh and hilarious at the time."
A young Coreman in 2004 on a CAPiTA team trip.
"The pastel colors were chosen as a punk antithesis to all of the bold primary colors (especially fluorescent green which I loathed) used by more "extreme sport bro" driven brands saturating the market at the time." - Corey Smith
What was behind the color theme for the series?
Corey: "The pastel colors were chosen as a punk antithesis to all of the bold primary colors (especially fluorescent green which I loathed) used by more "extreme sport bro" driven brands saturating the market at the time. I'm pretty sure the colors prevented a lot of sales but we didn't really have many sales anyway, so it was worth it just to be different and stand out. For the graphics, we were the opposite of "SuperCorp" so the irony really resonated with us too.
Any other personal memories or feelings about the era and this graphic that stick with you? How did it feel to be on the team, making the artwork for the boards but then also be able to see your peers and kids ride boards with your graphics on them?
Corey: I remember people being way more stoked on them than I had ever anticipated which was extremely validating as a young insecure artist. The board was really fun too! There weren't many twin tip skate influenced shapes out. That board was great for rails and park riding and it was affordable.
Check out more of Corey's work at http://coreysmithsimulacrum.com/