THE DRAWING BOARD: JASON ARNOLD
WORDS: Eric McHenry
Jason is the designer at NHS Fun Factory for Krux trucks and OJ Wheels, both of which have holes—directly in the middle of them—which sometimes kinda sucks for an artist. You cut a hole out of the center of the Mona Lisa, you’ve got nothing left! But, gracefully, he’s been making it work for awhile now, designing some of the most fun wheel graphics in the business for OJ’s massive pro team. He's also a really killer oil painter, like a backside flipping Tom Wesselmann. I got to ask Jason a couple of questions trying to figure out what makes this machine go. I wonder if he skates his wheel graphics in or out… I should’ve asked him that, damn.
@jasoncarnold, and I’m living in Santa Cruz California.
Where do I start, you do it all… What do you do?
I work at NHS in the art department. I work on the art for OJ Wheels and Krux Trucks. So I’m drawing graphics within a 50-61mm circle with a hole in it… or when doing Krux, I’m designing graphics on a truck around another small hole. After work I usually spend time working on oil paintings into the late night. After designing art for awkward objects with holes in it, its nice to work on a nice square canvas. It’s a perfect balance.
And he skates, too… Backside flip, shot by Joey Digital.
What are some common obstacles you have to work around?
Sometimes you (or the rider) has a rad graphic idea for a wheel… and it's tricky to get that graphic into the wheel template. But It’s a fun challenge. It's like trying to fit a bunch of clothes into a suitcase. Sometimes you might have some underwear sticking out of the side; you just have to keep reworking it until it works. Every so often I get lucky and get to work on a deck graphic. It's refreshing after being stuck in that circle template.
Where does your creative fuel come from?
Sleeping, coffee, BBC Radio 4, The Smiths, art podcasts, Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, '90s skateboard graphics, old Renaissance paintings, art documentaries, and being out in the streets skating with my friends. Every so often I get to go into the art archive room at NHS and check out the old sketches and inkings by Jim Phillips. It's insane to see what Jim and his crew were drawing in the '80s.
What's the story with this Gravette portrait board? With the two versions.
Haha, that board was from King Of The Road when they tattooed “King of the Dong” on the back of his head. The top of the board graphic is the Gravette portrait and the bottom graphic is the “king of the dong “ graphic. Lee Charron [the Creature art Director] wanted to have a pencil/graphite sketch look. Such a fun project.
What are some of your favorite board graphics of all time?
I've always been a fan of the more cartoonish graphics. Maybe that’s because I’m a '90s board graphic nerd. Like the stuff Marc McKee and Sean Cliver were doing. I really like old Bootleg graphics. Every time a new Skate Mental catalog goes up I get stoked. I was really into the Marc McKee “Cliché” World Cup Series. I like how they were hand painted. Also, the artist Shawn Barber just did a rad oil painting series for Creature Skateboards that’s amazing. But my all-time favorite graphic would be the Rudy Johnson Blind board with the chick on the spark plug by McKee.
Best graphics out right now?
Skate Mental graphics every time, and anything Todd Bratrud and Todd Francis touch. Was also really into what Sean Cliver was doing with Paisley, but I think that just ended. Those Morrissey graphics were priceless.
Whats the future hold for you?
More sleeping, marriage, and more OJ wheels/Krux art and trying to build up a new body of oil paintings for an art show in 2019.
Favorite art-related youtube video?
Robert Williams “Mr. Bitchin” Documentary is hands down my favorite. Dude is funny and has done it all.
For more of Arnold's work, check out his Instagram.