Artist Interview: Geoff McFetridge

Geoff McFetridge is primarily best known for his simple graphic design, creating images that often provide the viewer with a bit of a puzzle, combining detailed and abstract aspects at the same time. From poetry, animation, graphics, 3D work, furniture, film, fabrics and silkscreened wallpaper, Geoff excels in a wide array of mediums. He has worked for some big time companies such as Patagonia, ESPN, Burton Snowboards, Nike, Girl Skateboards, Stussy and is a part of the Beautiful Losers Exhibition. His work is unique and simple, and we dig it!

How did you get started in your art? What was the first medium you found yourself excelling at?

Since I was a little kid I would have friends over and when they would say “what do you want to play?” I would say “lets draw!” they would look at me like I was an alien. For me drawing was play, play where you could go into space, or into a battle scene.

Where do you draw from for inspiration for your next piece?

I am never thinking about the work I am doing, but I am also always thinking about it. I think things are cooking in the subconcious. It is like looking at a farmers field, and under the field is a underground river, or aquafir. The farmer has to go to the well to get the water to water his crops. But the river below ground is always running.

So in that way it is easy to confuse day to day life with the inspiration for my work, but really the inspiration is more of a continuous stream of ideas that is ongoing.

You have a very simple approach to your art, something not everyone can get away with. How do you make it work so well?

That is the trick to doing simple work. You need an idea. I work hard at using simplicity to distill an idea, to make it clear. Then the simple (and the decorative) work I do has a purpose.

You have quite a résumé, working with likes of Spike Jonez and Sofia Coppola, companies like Nike and Patagonia (the list goes on…). Is there a favorite project you’ve had along the way? Something you’re most proud of?

I am very proud of the work I have done for Patagonia. I built a Tshirt line for their business and worked hard at distilling their spirit and ethos into graphics.

It is a tough question really. I am most excited about the newest things. I am very proud of the Virgin Suicides titles, or the Winter X Games graphics I did. I am proud of it, not because I ever want to see it again, but because it was early work that ended up being influential and before it’s time.

When you’ve achieved a certain level of success, how do you stay motivated to keep improving and keep creating?

I guess that is part of my answer to the above question. I never look back at my own work, and I rarely look at any other work going on around me. I mainly motivate myself by doing work that I feel will propel me forward. I never want to feel burned out, so my decisions about what to work on is based more on preserving my creativity and stoke, rather than money or other distractions. You have to protect yourself from the stoke moochers, and the things that do not nurture your creative life. Sometimes I feel like a pice of bread surrounded by pidgeons… it is better to be a bird than a piece of bread.

You grew up with a skateboard and didn’t start surfing until you were a bit older from what I understand. How did you get introduced to surfing?

I have a friend Tak who used to come skate a ramp we built at a friends house in Topanga. He would show up in trunks and slash the ramp. He was a surfer, the first surfer I ever knew. As a skater I thought it was funny that he surfed.

Over a period of time he sort of tricked me, my girlfriend (now wife) and our friends into surfing. We would go to his place in Malibu and drink green tea then pop in the water for sunset sessions at Old Joes or 3rd point. We rode longboards, Diffenderfers, Takayamas and Herbie Fletchers. . The first surf movie I ever watched was Morning of the Earth… it was a world away from what I had understood surfing as (shredding, neon, dudes) It was an amazing way to be brought into the world of surf. I was hooked.

 

What gets you stoked?

I was pushing my 8 year old daughter into waves this morning on the Cote de Basque and she popped up for the first time. I was pretty stoked.

What can we expect to see from Geoff McFetridge in the near future?

I have a show at Heath Pottery in November 12 through the end of December of this year. We are collaborating on pots and objects and I will be showing paintings, fabrics, wallpaper and drawings too.

I am doing a larger show at the Art Gallery at the California Polytechnic in San Louis Obispo early in 2012.

For more of Geoff’s work, check out www.championdontstop.com

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