People are unstoppable when driven by passion, creativity, and mastery of a skill. This is just the case with Bear Walker, who morphed a college project into a career crafting premium artistic skateboards that push the envelope of what a skateboard can be while preserving its function. In a recent endeavor, Bear Walker connects with Dew Tour to create a one-of-a-kind skateboard that is aesthetically appealing and serves to benefit a greater cause. Four custom Bear Walker x Dew Tour skateboard decks will be given to Exposure, B4BC, and ASK Foundation non-profits, along with ten skateboards available for sale at BearWalker.com, with proceeds going towards No Kid Hungry. Get to know Bear Walker with our exclusive interview detailing his creative process, his introduction to skateboarding and art, and dream projects the future can hold.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Hilton Head Island, SC, but I consider Charleston, SC my hometown. It’s where I lived after college and where I really started down the path I wanted to be on.
What role did skateboarding play in your childhood?
Surfing played more of a role in my childhood than skateboarding. I’d surf almost every day, and when looking back on it, it was my form of meditation and connection with nature. When I moved away from the ocean, skateboarding was my way of connecting back with the feeling surfing gave me.
How and when were you first introduced to skateboarding?
I skated on occasion with friends when I was growing up, but it was in college that I really started to get into it. I loved the feeling of carving on a board, but more so I loved the culture and the blank canvas that a skateboard offered for my art.
How did you get first involved in art? Was it something you gravitated towards at an early age?
I’ve been drawing my favorite cartoon characters since I could hold a pencil. I’ve always loved anything creative, from art to music to cinema. When I found skate and skate art, it was an epiphany moment where I could combine all of my passions and possibly even make a career of it.
Do you have a preferred medium?
My preferred medium is digital art. I also have a passion for woodwork, so when I discovered CNC machines (computer controlled routers) that could carve out my digital artwork, I knew that could be a cool avenue to explore.
What has been your biggest inspiration for your art?
Really anything pop culture. I’m constantly trying to innovate my techniques, so any time I make a new board that’s relevant to pop culture, I also try to use a new technique to elevate each piece.
What are some similarities between skateboarding and art?
I feel like they are, and have always been, intertwined. Skateboarding is about pushing boundaries and culture. Art is the attempt to interpret culture through your own lens and push the boundaries of how your viewers see the world.
Outside of designing skateboards, what other outlets do you have for art?
Skateboards are such an awesome blank canvas that I really haven’t ventured too far outside of it. It has everything I want. I have been using my company though to expand my creativity. I’m figuring out more innovative manufacturing processes, building skateparks, collaborating with other artists and companies, and that all fuels my creativity.
Describe your creative process.
Chaos haha I’ve learned that I thrive in creative chaos, so I’ve been working over the past few years on how to put boundaries around that. As I’ve gotten further in my career I’ve had to adapt to having deadlines and other responsibilities which really hurt my creative process, so I’ve started creating spaces where I can shut everything out and let chaos happen in order to put out my best work. I used to think the chaos was a bad thing, but now I’ve kind of become friends with it. My work station and my art files are all over the place, but I’m ok with it and just know that’s part of the process now.
What drives your inspiration to create non-traditional skateboards?
I love breaking boundaries. I love using technology and my creativity to make something no one else has made before. And I also love using my woodworking background to bring all of that together.
What past projects have been your favorite to work on and what made them special?
My first real ‘official’ project was for the Netflix Lost in Space show. It was the first time a big company wanted to work with me and it made me feel like I was actually on the right path. I remember getting to watch an episode before anyone else and geeking out over it. I also sent one of the boards into the atmosphere with a GoPro for the marketing campaign, and seeing that footage was really special.
Any dream projects you’d like to work on in the future?
My dream is to one day work on a project with my favorite artist, Daniel Arsham. He inspires a lot of my work and desire to innovate, so it would be a big bucket list item. Aside from that, I just was to keep moving forward, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.