Interview by VHSMAG, Photos courtesy of Sketchy Tank, Special thanks: Charlie Trading
VHSMAG (V)： How did you get into art and illustration?
Sketchy Tank (S)： I have been drawing my whole life, I actually printed my art on T-shirts when I was eight years old in 1989, I guess it was meant to be.
V： What are your influences as artist?
S： 80s and early 90s skateboard graphics, tattoos, punk rock, tattoos, hip hop, partying haha.
V： What do you think about people who get tattoo just for fashion?
S： I don’t care what other people do as long as they’re good people and aren’t harming anyone. Life is too short.
V： Are there any foreign culture or art style that you’re planning to incorporate in your art?
S： I have a Japanese capsule coming out soon.
V： Is there anything you get influenced from Japanese art?
S： I have always been very inspired by Japanese art and tattooing.
V： How did you get involved with skateboarding and snowboarding?
S： I was born and raised at Mammoth Mountain California so I was on skis at age two . I switched over to snowboarding around 11 years old when it was just getting more accepted in the early 90s. Mammoth used to not allow snowboarding and June Mountain was the place that allowed it. I was skateboarding since preschool. When I was eight my dad put a mini ramp in the back yard for me. I rarely get on a skateboard anymore because I am a pussy and don’t want to hurt myself haha.
V： When would you say was your tipping point as artist?
S： I would say the tipping point was the day I was able to quit my career to be an artist full time. I was making more money with art on the side than my 9 to 5 job as a product designer for snow goggles at Electric Visual. It was one of the best days of my life and I had never felt so free.
V： How did you start working as Sketchy Tank?
S： Sketchy Tank started as a folder on my computer called “the sketchy tank” where I stored disturbing images I found on the Internet through various questionable blogs. These images weren’t disturbing like photos of outrageous porn or death and dismemberment but more like hideous tattoos, super trashy people doing trashy things, mixed with skateboarding, surfing and low brow art and design. The folder got to be over 1GB in size and I thought it would be rad to create a website to show the world this “sketchy tank” folder. I created a logo, bought the domain and posted away. It generated a lot of traffic quick. At the time I was a freelance designer/illustrator so I would slide my designs in there too. The views grew daily and I started offering shirts with my art for sale on sketchytank.com.
V： Why black & white?
S： It attracts me the most, colors throw me off personally. Every once in a while I use color if it lends to the art, but generally I like things simple.
V： You’ve done a board series for Creature. Any collaboration with skate companies in the works?
S： Yeah I have another capsule coming out with Vans for next year, and made some grip tape with MOB grip.
V： What’s lined up for Sketchy Tank in the near future?
S： I’m gonna keep at it and continue to travel doing events. I love being in new places and meeting new people.
V： What’s the goal for Sketchy Tank?
S： To disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed 🙂