DANIEL SHEPARD X SANTA CRUZ
This season's SCB guest artist is Daniel Shepard. The ‘Pool Snakes and Hand’ capsule is another individual and unique take on iconic Santa Cruz graphics.
Born and raised in Mexico, Daniel is a very talented graphic designer and illustrator. His Illustration style is heavily influenced by music and skateboarding culture. Daniel is currently living in Ridgewood, New York.
You can check out his work on instagram! @dannyboydoid
What’s your process?
Well it depends, if it’s a personal project I like to think of my own experiences and try to incorporate those into my work somehow. I carry a sketchbook on me at all times, so that I never miss out on the things I come across, situations I get myself into, and ideas that pop up which I could develop further.
If it’s a project that I’m completing for a client, it’s important for me to have a very clear understanding of what they are looking for. I usually start with a lot of questions as I like to be as precise and effective as possible. Then I normally move forward by sketching all the “cliches”, narrowing things down, and later present the ideas that have the most potential to my client.
What mediums do you use?
I like to jot down all my ideas on paper first, from time to time I like to go back to this tangible medium and see the process that went behind a certain project. Even though I finish most of my work on the iPad, I like to jump on personal projects where I just use analog things such as rulers, geometric templates like ovals and circles, a lightbox, and pen markers.
What inspires you?
I love digging out stuff from the past, especially from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Underground comics, old magazines, varnished sign paintings, animated movies, and thrift stores usually spark up my imagination and get me going. I gravitate a lot towards that type of aesthetic. I also really love to explore new areas, cities, and neighborhoods on my bike - there are endless surprises hidden everywhere and it’s great to discover things for the first time with fresh eyes.
Skateboarding has been a huge inspiration in my work as well. That’s been my first real passion, I’ve been devoted to it from a young age. I’m 32 now, and my body certainly took a beating over the years so things hurt, but skating has definitely cultivated and expanded my passion for illustration.
What made you want to choose art for your career?
Illustration wasn’t always a clear career choice for me. Actually, it wasn’t until I started studying graphic design in college that I started to get a little more clarity and began taking illustration more seriously. I really enjoyed looking at skateboard graphics over the years, but it never crossed my mind that this was a career option. That idea seemed foreign, especially coming from a place like Leon, Mexico, it didn’t seem feasible.
It wasn’t until I came across a documentary called Beautiful Losers, a 2008 film directed by Aaron Rose that documented the lives and careers of young artists in the 1990s who revolutionized the traditional world of art. Seeing this documentary opened my eyes in some ways before I’d think of “artists” as old people doing serious shit. But I wanted to have fun, and Beautiful Losers opened the doors for me, it showed me that I can have fun with art. That made me see a lot of potential in following a creative path and gave me the confidence to choose illustration as a career choice.
What do you listen to when you work?
I’ve been listening to a bunch of podcasts lately. But that’s definitely something that came out of being stuck in a New York City apartment during the pandemic. Comedic relief was necessary, but I also really enjoy listening to podcasts where artists/illustrators talk about their creative process and share career advice. But when it’s time to get pumped I like to crank up the volume to post-punk, krautrock, new wave, or rock & roll. And if I want to discover new genres I check “My Analog Journal” on YouTube.