A View with Mark Penxa
Get On Board
"Mark's got some deep roots in skateboarding. He's from the Midwest, and collaborates with Don Pendleton a lot, who is another one of my art heroes. People like Mark and Don have made me decide in the past to just stay in the Midwest, because they do their own thing all the time and make it work to the fullest. Mark gives me great advice. Pretty recently he went out to Russia and did a skate art show out there. He's always doing the sickest stuff, 24/7. Mark you kill it".
-Introduction by Huey Crowley
RD: Tell us where you're from Mark?
I'm from Detroit, born and raised and I still reside here full time.
RD: What media do you use and which have you tried?
It depends on what I am working on. My paintings are completely different than what I do for board graphics which is just old school, pen and ink and then I break down the colors in the computer. As for the painting work, I'm all over the place. I do a lot of collage as an under painting and then I paint over that with acrylics and usually more paper. It's all pretty straight forward.
RD: Now, we know you design graphics for skateboards, is that how you started your art career?
Yeah, I got my first start in skateboarding in 1992. Soon after, I took a long time off to focus on music and then skateboarding came back in my life around 2003 - 2004.
RD:Give us a run down on the skate companies you've designed for please?
Ah, well... when I was young I did some work for Phat Klown, Planet Earth and Gullwing Trucks but, as far as I'm concerned I've only done "actual work" for Girl Skateboards and DC Shoes. I had no idea what I was doing when I was younger so, in my mind that doesn't count. (laughing)
RD: Does the company and it's background in the culture of skateboarding influence the way you go about designing a board graphic for them?
Oh, absolutely! Especially with graphics for Girl. Aesthetically, they have raised the bar so high over the years, you can't but help have that legacy in the back of your mind. Also, everyone on that team has such a strong personality, that influences things too. That's the only way to nail a graphic, you have to take into account all of these things and research it to death.
RD: How did you meet your buddy Don Pendleton, was it something to do with your punk band "Dark Wave"? In fact tell us about the band as well.
I first met Don in the Summer of 2004(?) at an amusement park called King's Island in Ohio. I knew of him from all of his work for AWS but, he didn't know me at all. I remember he was eating a corn dog and I had a few beers in me so I just walked up to him and said "Hi, I'm a big fan". We ended up hitting it off, rode a few rides together, he almost threw that corn dog up on me and have been friends ever since.
Dark Wave☀ is a music project between my friend Dave Graw and myself. We've known each other our entire adult lives but, never had the opportunity to work on music together until recently. It's fun and super mellow... I think that's when the best music happens. When no one really cares and everything is just chilled. It's been a lot of fun and we have some really interesting projects coming up that we are really excited about.
☀everyone can check that out by clicking on the Darkwave logo at bottom of post.
RD: Have you got any interesting insights and tips into designing that you want to pass on to our readers?
Throw your tablet away. Those things have no soul. Pen and paper is all you need and it never goes out of style.
RD: Do you get out to skate much these day and if so what trick are you working on at present?
I cruise around a few nights a week to let stress go. If I didn't make money with my hands, I would still probably skate all the time but, I'm barely getting by in life and if I were to break something I would be completely fucked and that would be the end of me. I wish it wasn't that way but, this is an unfortunate truth.
RD: Chicken or Tuna?
Neither, thanks. I don't eat food in front of people I don't know. It's a ridiculous phobia I have.
RD: We had a look at your sketch books, they are very cool, have you thought of publishing any, apart from on line?
Wow! Thanks so much! I honestly never thought of it until you asked. ...(long pause)... I don't think enough people know me to put it all into a book, it would probably only sell 20 copies but, it is an interesting idea. I have thought about doing a book of my Stealing Signs project. Right now that is just in my mind but, something I would like to work towards.
RD: Have you got any shows coming up Dude?
I do! There will be a show in Detroit in early October called "WE ARE HERE" which is going to be a super sick collective / group show at the Art Effect Gallery☀ in Eastern Market. I'm super psyched for that! It's going to be incredible.
☀see logo below for more.
RD: Would you like to big some peeps up Mark?
Um, thanks to everyone at SUPER Brand, Girl Skateboards and DC Shoes. Thanks to my friends and family and most of all... thank you for doing this!
RD: Well, thank you Mark it's been a real pleasure to meet up and all the best on your show "We Are Here".
☀ Go on logo to listen to Mark's band
☀And more about his show location here