I must prefix this wrap that I'm a bit of a fan boy of Michael Leon. I've been following his career via Commonwealth Stacks for many years, own several boards and twice as many t-shirts. I even bought new product to have him sign it so wish me luck at the after party that A. I don't freak him out with my fan boy ways and B. that he actually signs what I bought. Air freight from the US is not cheap despite our sensational exchange rate.
Unfortunately this will be my final wrap for day two as I have to run. Hope to see many of you at the after party tonight at Lofi in Darlinghurst from 8pm. Reg will be their with his band and it will be a great opportunity to mix with the speakers from this sensational event. Massive congratulations to Andrew and Murray of Design Is Kinky for such a sensational series.
To the wrap:
Michael Leon is a designer from California in the states and also the owner of Stacks, in operation for over 10 years now, it's a skate company with a strong history in graphic design - from the boards, to the marketing to the t-shirts, clean design aesthetics have played an important part in Stacks success.
Michaels Dad is a wedding singer and he's really inspired by his ability for him to put himself out there.
After high school he lived in a bunch of skate house, through skating he became friends with professional skaters and he ended up doing graphics for his friends. To find his way he found he needed to attend art school. Upon graduating fine arts, his first job was at Girl skateboards in 91 with Spike Jones and Andy Jenkins. He didn't know anything about graphic design and these guys were a mentor to him.
He did everything from design to the apparel to the board graphics, 100's of board designs behind him. At this time in the late 90's, most board graphics were sport inspired. This didn't interest him so he started to put together his own collections and board graphics and this is where Stacks started from.
Michael has done a range of collaborations with every from Jonathan Zawada and Josh Petherick both from Australia to Mark Gonzales for his Krooked label.
He doesn't find apparel design hard as such. He says 'If you know what you want to do you can do it.'
He went through a collage period when he was sick of design, using found images to create his work. He's not sure if this worked in a commerical sense as it often looked like a group show but this was a much needed release to expand his working capabilities.
Every once in a while he finds a theme and the skull has been a major one. He describes that he needs some kind of restraint and the board often his medium to work to which works for him. The skull with sunglasses sculpture which he is now known for is a step outside of this medium - he enjoyed working this way as often with graphic design its about problem solving whilst this was about creating his own problems which he had to then solve. The way he tackled creating numerous variations of the one theme has to be commended, everything from car spray painters to pulling out a paint ball gun to create new themes.
Hope you have enjoyed the posts from this Semi-Permanent. If anyone caught Fuel VFX and is opening to writing a review of the talk we'd love to hear from you.