Often times in snowboarding the graphics across a board series are carbon copies of each other, if anything they'll have minor color changes. In 2007/2008 TJ Schneider decided to pay homage to three influential artists on the base and topsheet graphics of his Mid Life series. The results were some of TJ's most memorable CAPiTA graphics ever, the three unique graphics in three sizes of the 2007/2008 Mid LIfe Artist Series.
What were your influences in art at the time going into the design of these graphics?
TJ: I wanted to pay homage to the artists that made the paintings in my dreams real. Each size was dedicated to a different artist so they would all be different.
Who were the three artists chosen to celebrate on the baord graphics? Why were they imporant to you?
TJ: The 151 was Henri Matisse. The 155 Jean-Michel Basquiat and the 158 was Henry Darger. Matisse was just one of those guys that made pieces that for whatever reason drew me in. Basquiat was just so raw and Darger just blew my mind with his whole story and dedication to making his visions.
What are the themes behind each size in the series?
TJ: The 151 was just a recreation of the 'Blue Nudes', with the images manipulated and colours changed. 155 was 'Life and Death' on the top sheet. You'll see that the skeleton version is on top of the portrait, implying that he let his ego destroy him. On the base is what could have been the life of a great artist if he could have found a way to keep his ego under control. The 158 touches more on the actual story of 'In The Realms Of The Unreal', the story that ends with the little girls winning the battle...only to be continued to have them lose. On the top sheet you'll see the soldier is not coloured and his eyes are crossed out implying that he's dead, on the base it's reversed and the heart is destroyed. I always liked to play with the life and death theme.
What was the creation process from concept to finally having the graphic on the snowboard? What were you using to create the art?
TJ: For the Matisse board I just took a few of my favourite pieces and reworked them in the computer. Of the series this was the one that just sorta looked cool. I originally wanted to do an Egon Schiele deck for the 151, but wasn't confident enough to make something that would come out right. The 155 was a series of drawings i did in a small sketch book of mine with pastel, those were then scanned and pieced together on the computer. The 158 was a bunch of the stencil transfers that my friend Doug had done for my tattoo on my right arm.
Any other memories in the design and creation of these boards?
TJ: I remember I had about a hundred other colour ways for the 151, it would be interesting to find those on my old hard drives. I also remember that there were little letters written on the top of each of the decks, I don't remember what they said but I think they were letters to each one of the artists thanking them for their inspiration.