The Skate Society is all about the creative process, and as you well know, creativity in its many forms is at the heart of skateboarding. The two are intrinsically linked. As an experiment, we have opened up the front of the shop as a canvas for artists and illustrators to use as a space to show their ideas. We hope this provides a fun environment for artists to work in, and we also hope that through this process, we can introduce you to some of the great artists and designers that frequent The Skate Society and the local scene.
Kicking off this venture is the "Pictures on Walls" series, featuring the first artist, Paige Ripley. Starting on August 25th, 2023, her illustrations will grace the shop's front, infusing the space with her unique vision. This collaboration bridges local talent with the skate scene, showcasing the vibrant artistic culture that thrives within the community.
We spoke with Paige about her process and inspiration and got a feel for the work and its origins in the small interview below. Please enjoy and spread the word.
Can you share some sources that inspire your unique illustrations?
How do your experiences with surfing and skateboarding influence your creative work?
Honestly, a lot of my inspiration comes from clothing brands. Surf/skate brands do it best, and I'm a sucker for clothing with big graphics on the back. As for my bike and car drawings, I have always loved 'Shaun Mogar's illustrations. They are unbelievable. Check him out @shaunmogarart So my artwork reflects who I am and what I love. Whatever I am drawing or drawing on, It's rooted in one of my passions. Surfing and skating have always been sports I've loved. Skating from a young age and surfing as an adult. Anyone that knows me would describe me as a surf/skate kinda' gal just by how I dress but also by my chilled vibes and
values in life.
Your illustrations primarily use a black-and-white palette.
What draws you to this colour scheme, and how do you use it to convey emotions and messages in your artwork?
The simple things in life. You can't beat them. I've always been drawn to simplicity; this is where my artwork represents me. It's kinda like this....... For you to understand the artwork, you have to know the artist. As a person, I am very much black and white and to the point. My illustrations are what they are, and I enjoy drawing what I'm passionate about, but the closer you get, the finer details you see that reflect the deep soul that I am.
As someone building a successful illustrating career, could you describe your creative process, from concept to final piece?
Like many creatives, an idea will come into my head out of the blue, and I instantly want to produce it. That's not always the case, so I put my thoughts down into my sketchbook, make a quick sketch and side notes, and it will sit there until it's ready. I'd say I see the final piece before physically making it. Music is also really important to me. You'll always find me creating with something playing. I can't and won't create without it.
How do you maintain a balance between your personal projects
and client work?
For client work, I always get them to produce a mood board so that I can visualise what they want. This approach helps me be on the same page as them when creating and helps them settle on what they do and don't want. The balance between personal and client work is a tough one. Sometimes it can be 40/60% - 0/100% - 20/80%. It all depends on the workload I have at that time. I also need to balance not creating at all sometimes, being by or in the water will spark it all up again.
Your illustrations seem to carry a sense of adventure and exploration.
How do you translate these feelings into your artwork?
I have felt at my highest artistic potential since travelling Australia. I booked a one-way ticket to Sydney in January 2022, knowing I'd want to travel the East Coast (and Bali), but that was it. Over a year later, I returned home with a mindset to work for myself as an artist. Australia just put everything into perspective for me. You could say Australia made me. The chilled vibes, simple things being the only thing and the coolest things everywhere. My love for skating and surfing increased by millions. I wanted to paint skateboards, design surfboards, draw waves and anything to do with the ocean. Aboriginal art also impacted my artwork, which also evolved into Polynesian art. So my adventure and exploration in my illustrations were all sparked by Australia but have been embedded in me forever with my love for the ocean.
Are there any specific themes or narratives you often find yourself drawn to?
My interests and passions. The Sea, Surf, Skating, Harleys, Cars.
You mentioned that you have started to see success in your illustrating career.
How have you made the switch to a more full-time illustration career?
Slowly but surely, that's happening, but I know there's much more hard work to do. My goal this year was to branch out to more than just my friends and family, and with hard graft and persistence, I had my first motorcycle event in Margate called the ‘101 Run'. Since then, I've made new connections and a few successful commissions. I've realised its all about exposure, and that's what I'm working hard to do, knowing that someone may not contact you immediately, but you've planted that seed into their thoughts, and something may come of it later. Patience and consistency are key.
So while I'm still on my journey to be a full-time illustrator, I work part-time at 'Red Roaster', a coffee Roastery in Kemp town, Brighton. (One of the first Coffee roasters ever in Brighton) Another passion of mine is all made in Australia. Most recently, I've had to cut down on my days there to fulfil my commissions. So that's great!
Illustration is a competitive field. How do you continue to develop your skills and stay innovative in your work?
I feel like each commission, and my client's ideas expand my skills, which excites me. They bring something new to the table that I can twist on. So my skills are developing naturally. Staying innovative for me is taking time out from being creative until I HAVE to create, and staying as true to myself as possible is the best way for me.
Are there any particular challenges you've faced, and how have you overcome
There have been many challenges that I have faced along the way, but I've quickly come to realise these are essential for growth. Most recently, I had so much on that I burnt myself out. Leading to me feeling very deflated and negative. I learnt that I must look after myself iin those situations, focus on one thing at a time and always take time out from being creative.
You can see more of Paiges work here:
Paige is working on her mural this week, and we will be hosting an opening for you to meet the artist and enjoy her work first-hand Friday, 25th August, from 5:30 pm.