Skating Spirit

Spirit Animal Designs Feature in this Series of Boards and Clothing

San Francisco-based artist Jeremy Fish is a wily old fox. His unmistakeable art replete with allegorical animal imagery and a distinctive street-meets-comic aesthetic graces gallery walls, public murals (sometimes in 3D form), shoes and clothes. But there’s perhaps a special place in his heart for the works that are emblazoned upon skateboards. His latest series, Zipper, for skateboard/apparel brand Element, is the result of a long-standing friendship with the brand’s founder, Johnny Schillereff. It features board designs, T-shirts and even a pair of chinos.

Jeremy and Johnny used to skate together as kids, so it’s something of a fairytale story that one grew up a successful artist whilst the other started up one of the most recognisable skateboard brands in the world and now they work together to create some of the most unique board designs you’re ever likely to see. After picking up injuries and with Father Time breathing down his neck, Jeremy doesn’t skate that much these days, but you can tell he still holds the culture dear.

“I have done several hundred skateboard graphics in my career,” says Jeremy, it’s matter-of-fact rather than bragging. “The Element team let me know the animals they felt most connected to, and their personal passions outside of skateboarding. This gave me a strong foundation to create the board graphics from.”

We decided to coast alongside Jeremy and get to know a bit more about him and his designs.

The Plus: Based on your work, is it fair to say you’re obsessed with animals?
Jeremy Fish:
No not really. I am pretty obsessed with my cat, and I love dachshunds, but otherwise I’m not too animal crazy. I draw animals to represent human traits and behaviours in my artwork.

TP: Describe your style in one sentence.
“Cute versus creepy”. I like the tension created in my artwork between the approachable and the repulsive. How you want to cuddle a cute bunny, then avoid a scary skull.

TP: What’s on your playlist right now?
The new Raekwon album FILA, The new Action Bronson Mr Wonderful, The new Ghostface 36 seasons, and Is This Art by Michael Christmas.

TP: Most memorable moment of your career so far?
Maybe selling artwork to Robin Williams. He was very supportive of my artwork early in my career. I was very sad when he died last year. R.I.P. Mr. Williams.

TP: What are you working on next?
This summer I have shows in Denver Colorado, and Milan Italy. I will finish the year with a show at San Francisco City Hall celebrating City Hall’s 100th birthday in November.