Part 14 - PLANS

Full steam ahead for Doric Skateboards in the coming months. Thought it was worth putting it all here:

Saturday 9th June Engage Gaming

I was put in touch with Andrew and Richard at Engage via my brother just on the off chance that a couple of new local companies could do something together. Its taken me nearly a year to pull my finger out but one day i just thought gaming + skateboards = Tony Hawk. So a wee back and forth and we have this event  - Tony Hawk on the PS2 competition being broadcast on the big screens to anyone that wants to watch or take part. I screen printed a deck for the winner with the Engage Gaming and Doric Skateboards logo on it. This kicks off at 6:30pm for registering and then 7pm the games begin - pop along to watch and have a chat and a beer! : )

https://www.facebook.com/events/247658615976725/

Friday 14th - Sunday 17th June - Etsy Summer Showcase

Etsy Summer Showcase as part of the Look Again Festival - St Nicholas Centre

Buzzed to be doing this. We will be there fully stocked - including a few new colours of tees and caps exclusive to this! 

There will be a load of cracking sellers there too including Honk and Small Stories! Come along and support small and or local folks trying to get there stuff out there. These events are pretty critical for me - its a great chance to meet folk that have bought stuff from us. Nothing better than that!

https://www.facebook.com/events/884322288395012/

Collaborations

As previously mentioned on FB. IG etc we are collaborating with local loon Chris Bissett aka Jetpack Dinosaur! Really excited for this - I've been a fan of his work for years without actually knowing who he was. Once i put 2 + 2 together i sent him a wee message and now we are good to go! As soon as the design is finalised we will crack on with screen printing the decks and getting some tee's done. Exciting stuff! 

Couple of things bubbling for me and Justin aka Honk. Tees for one image and decks/tees for something else! We'll get around to this soon..! 

Also  in the midst of testing out a design from an artist. If they are happy with how it looks then that will be good to go too - most folk in Aberdeen will recognise this one and it's firmly in the Doric Skateboards wheelhouse too.

We also have one design with a difference that is a colab with a couple of local skaters - keep yer eyes peeled for this. This is going to be a big one- August 3rd is the locked down launch for that....

Speaking of this date - we have this event planned for August 3rd and 4th. More details to follow very soon! 

Wheels......

Found a supplier to do Doric Skateboard wheels. These will be happening this year for sure.

Banners! !

You'll start to see our presence in a few different places around town very soon. Keep yer eyes peeled - i'll be posting pics this month to show them off.

Other Stuff

Its been a busy 4-6 weeks. We've added new graphics for decks - skyline and 4 bottles - new hoodies, new long sleeve tees, tote bags, caps, enamel badges and loads more stuff on the way! 

Also nice to see a couple of parks in Aberdeen revamped (reramped?). Torry looks good but haven't had a chance to skate it yet. Did go out to Cults and it was fun! Really well made and ample room and scope to expand. Work looks like its cracking on at Westburn - repairs look like they've taken a hit already though - lets hope the local committee that steered it all is on top of it and the new part is built correctly. My degree was Construction Design and i had a particular passion at one point for concrete, so its always interesting (for me anyway) to see the process. 

That's about all for this post people, thanks for reading this far! Pics below to go with word!

Thanks to everyone who's been a support in any way - appreciate it massively.! 

Part 13 - Happy Birthday!

So March was an exciting month. Our second deck colab came out - to get to work with Small Stories was amazing. So chuffed! And even better that its been so well received. Thanks to everyone for their support and to Small Stories for the colab! : )

But March was also the Doric Skateboards Birthday.

March 31st 2017 was when we launched and to celebrate we set up a free skate at Transition Extreme to any and all. We also ordered cake (in the shape of a massive rowie), made up wee party bags and generally tried to encourage all sorts of folk to come down and have a blast! 

I spent most of the day of the bash feeling sick that no one would turn up - happy to say that wasn't the case! Really can't thank folk enough for turning up from all over the North East and beyond. And a special shout out to the folks that took gifts! Never saw that coming! : )

Really hope everyone enjoyed it! 

So that's now all over with its back to the drawing board. Whats next?

  • New deck design? Aye.
  • New hoodies? Aye
  • New tees? Aye.
  • New "other stuff"? Aye.

2018 will be another exciting year for us and if we can pull off some of the stuff planned i hope it can cement Doric Skateboards as a skate brand that's honest, fun and inclusive. 

Check out some of the pics from the bash below or check out the video from the day on the FB page and IG! 

Cheers for now - off to get my thinking head on! 

Part 12 - Where was I? Oh aye!

When i started this blog it was supposed to follow the story roughly speaking of where we got where we are, and then very conveniently dovetail with now. Then i could keep it more relevant. 

But i've dipped in and out of a few things since the last part which was Part 9 - Whats a Bon Accord?

I'll nip away and re-read that to see where i was. 

Ok, read it. Sorted. Ready to go. 

So the design is locked down - kudos to Nicola, my pal Craig and my brother Mark for their input. Worth mentioning here that you very quickly have to accept criticism and suggestions. Sometimes its right! Even though i think its important to have the courage of your convictions - you need to be flexible and honest. If something works better another way - do it. 

Although the Annie Street Dreams deck had a few colours in it, there was a degree of flexibility with the design. A millimeter here or there didn't really effect the image. However with this one i had to line up 4 screens with 4 different colours to create one image. Easy eh? 

So some of the first things i discovered was that overlapping the images was the way forward. No overlap means you have to get it BANG on. i.e. line up the screen to the image each time and ensure that its millimeter perfect. Not easy. Especially when screening on a curved deck! 

Also needed to think about which direction to screen. You pull (or push if you like it that way) the ink through the screen and that deposits the ink onto your deck. A squeegee is used but they aren't really soft enough (that i've found) to take on the curve. So i screened width ways - this has its own issues. The contact between the deck and the screen can be an issue and the pressure you put on makes all the difference. Too much pressure on the part closest to the screen means you are going to make a mess - not enough pressure on the part furthest from the screen means you arent going to deposit enough ink.

So its a balance. 

Overlapping images for sure - i'm in the midst of re-doing some of the images so that i can get the next one bang on - Irn Bru colour fyi.

Then i thought - why can't my squeegee be curved? 

So i chopped one up and......it kind of worked a treat! 

Still some work to do to make one perfect but its the way forward for me. 

Whatever works eh?

Some images below of the process - this doesn't include the ones of me crying when i messed things up..look out for the one i did upside down. Ha! : )

 

Part 11 - Happy Old Year!

And so that was 2017 eh?

What a year. For those that haven't been following this is/was Doric Skateboards first year.

Born out of a desire to express myself and combine two passions that have at various times and for various reasons lay dormant in me - skateboarding and art - Doric Skateboards launched on the 31st March 2017.

The ethos was pretty simple - a skate brand influenced by the North East - its people, its culture, its architecture and everything in-between.

I won't bore you with stats - how many decks sold, how many tees/hoodies blah blah. 

I'll bore you with other stuff though! A highlights reel. And its a highlights reel that will consist of things and people and experiences and thoughts that i never would have guessed would have happened. And for that i am thankful! They often say life is full of surprises and without meaning to sound trite - its true. In a good way.

So join me on a journey of the countdown in no particular order!! 

Learning A New Skill

Screen printing. It was always the intention to screen print the graphics onto the skateboards, and to do it myself. The graphics i obsessed over as a kid (and still do!) were screened and so it was something i was going to do too. It also meant that i would be handling every single deck and doing it all myself. It would be easier to get them done by one of the many companies that print up decks for other skate brands but where's the fun in that? No insult to anyone who does that but i believe in paying your dues and at the level i am at its possible to knock out decks in the quantity needed. Learning to screen print was and still is scary but really satisfying. At the beginning i thought i knew what it was - that turned out to be slightly different from reality...! So big thanks to Peacock Visual Design on Castlegate - and James in particular! Cheers for the help and you guys are doing a grand job!

People

I've met a whole host of people on this journey and they've all been pretty much everything you'd hope to find in a person - supportive, enthused, interested, interesting. I'm not massively comfortable in social situations (although some folk would say that's bollocks) but the people i have met have made me feel comfortable. From Ciaran Fowler at Brawlight Films (more to come next year!), Gaby at Small Stories (and her fam!), Emma at Geek Bothy, Joe and Mike from Transition, Zee Yule of Edinburgh Local and Dopezine and Jon Reid (the man who's not so much in the loop of cultural goings on in Aberdeen but is the loop!). All these folk and more have been great! Also managed to meet some skating buddies! It's hard when you get back into skating and being my age - you don't make friends like you used to! But great to have Matty, Martin and Barry to have a chat and a skate with - and they've been a great support. 

Collaboartion

Following closely with this was the collaboration with one of these folk i met. Justins art has always been on my radar and we actually grew up around the corner from each other. And now as adults we find ourselves around the corner from each other again! But we'd never met. Total honour to have his art on Doric decks - can't wait to do more next year! Check him out on IG Honkemon and FB Honkydoodledoo! 

Pop Ups!

We were lucky enough to get involved in a few pop ups this year. Starting with Slains Castle, then Etsy and ending the year with the awesome HAAN! Thanks to Kirsty, Laura and Sally and their teams for letting us be part of these. Loved every minute of them and canna wait to do more! 

Podcast! 

Getting to be on a podcast to talk about Doric Skateboards was a massive deal! I listen to podcasts every single day. I don't sleep too well so 4am i can often be listening to something! So when Ica from Creative-me-podcast asked me to be on i jumped at the chance. Great guy with a great idea and it was cool to hear the subsequent episodes too! Looking forward to more next year! 

Art Hive

So happy to be asked to do a wee presentation/talk on Doric Skateboards at Art Hive. Art Hive is the brainchild of Jane Ronie and Kelly-Ann Cairns - they provide an informal, judgement free zone to discuss anything art and culture related. Loved every minute of it and would jump at the chance to do it again! Keep yer eyes peeled for Art Hive!

So thanks to everyone mentioned here and to all others that i've forgotten. And a shout out to  my Mum and Nicola for listening to me - or maybe you invested in invisible ear plugs?? And to my brother Mark (of Forty Two Studio and an amateur production of Mary and Joseph fame: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6005908/?ref_=fn_nm_nm_2). 

Roll on 2018! Can't wait to get going again! Some collaborations lined up already and some ideas of my own i want to get going with. And hopefully i'll get on my board more too. That's a must.

And an obvious thanks to everyone who has bought anything or support us on social media. Means a lot and keeps me going when i get over analytical! 

 

 

Part 10 - Stop. Collaborate and Listen

A wee side step in the Blog timeline. I will get back to the Bon Accord story and how it has almost killed me but for now i'll write about another one that's almost killed me! : )

The idea of a collaboration hadn't really entered my mind when setting up Doric Skateboards. I was happy enough with my own ideas and to be honest - a massive control freak. 

BUT - collaborating with local artists who are also influenced by Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland? That could work, right? 

And so it came to pass that myself and Justin (aka Honk) decided to get together on a wee project. Luckily he'd already done the design a while back - he'd sent me an illustration months ago, way before we met or chatted and i loved it. Wasn't until we actually met and scoped each other out that the colab came together. The idea was for me to screen the illustration onto some decks - easy right? 

Nah. Not really. The design didn't take too long to agree - the basis was there, so we just ironed out the details and went with it. 

Stage 1. Topside logos. Now, a lot of folk don't care much for top side logos on skateboards. Most folk just cover it up with griptape. But for me its important, its an integral part of skateboard art and culture. So as with most things i decided to make things difficult. I thought a black topside would look good. So, Stage 1, Tape up all decks and then spray them black.

Stage 2. Screen the logos. Can be tricky to screen onto the concave surface. You find that the upward angle of the concave restricts the distance you can have the screen from the surface of the deck. This means that to bridge that gap you need more force - but with that force comes the risk of smudging. Thankfully i get them all done and Justin pops round to add his logo. He opts for a stamp after some experimentation. All coming together now.

Stage 3. Prepare the underside for the main graphic. Again i take the harder route. I love Justin's illustrations with a stark white background. So i decide to spray all the undersides white. Takes time and effort, taping them up and getting them done. But jobs a good un.

Stage 4. Now its getting serious. Quick screen print tutorial - Part 1. To have screens to pass ink through you need separations. These are usually (as is the case here) prepared on acetate with each sheet representing each colour you have in your illustration. This one needed 4. So Justin gets to work preparing them by hand. As with anything by hand discrepancies will occur but its these that make this what it is. Its not a factory line. I could get them done like that - never touch the wood the decks are made of, never add anything to it. But that's too easy and not what i'm about. Justin prepares the acetates, 4 in total and passes it to me like a baton - both metaphorically and literally - they are in a tube. So then i sprint off to Peacocks Visual Arts to use their equipment to prepare the screens. 

Stage 5. Ok, i didnt sprint. Ambled, mosied, cantered, plodded. Yeah plodded. Get to Peacocks. Class's are on. Bugger. Need to postpone by a week. Perhaps i can prepone by taking a day off work? I wanted to use the word prepone but its also true - so i take time off and get down to Peacocks and get screens done. Things can go wrong when preparing screens. Quick screen print tutorial - Part 2. You have a wooden or metal frame with silk stretched over it. To this silk you need to add an emulsion. This emulsion is photo sensitive. To apply it you fill a wee trough and spread it over the screen in one fluid, solid motion. Sometimes i'm not fluid. Nor solid. What happens there is that you get an uneven coat. Too thick in places and it'll never dry. And if and when it does and you expose it to light with your image, sure as shit that thickness will peel away and ruin your screen. And so thats what happened. So then i have to wait until the next Saturday. That Saturday arrives and i get them done. I never really know how well they've turned out until i get home and try them out. I could try them out at Peacock but i prefer to run away and die on my arse in private....But it seems ok. Just ok? Maybe its me. Its not perfect so its ok. Maybe that means its good? There are a couple of obvious errors but nothing insurmountable. So now its onto actually cracking on and doing it. 

Stage 6. Doing it. Done it. Prototype comes out quite well but skin tone needs to be mixed. Haven't mixed colours since school. How hard can it be? ; ) I also think the stark white needs something more. I decide on the granite effect that i've done on other decks. So far we have Spray paint (3 kinds), screen prints (5 screens if you include the topside) and a Honk stamp. What else can we add? How else can we make it harder? Oh aye, we decide that Justin will individually add some finer detail by hand. Makes sense - the coming together of all these mediums! So prototype done and i'm ready to go for real. Then the fear.

Stage 7. Fear. Fear of messing it up. Fear of it being crap. Fear of not doing it justice. But finally you just have to go for it. And go for it i have. 

 

Conclusion:

I hope you like it. At very very least i hope you appreciate the effort. Its a learning curve all the time for me and i've locked in many a lesson on this one. I think/hope Justin and myself will collaborate again - i look forward to it.

Until then - go buy a deck or a tee or print (oh aye forgot to say we did those too!). Support the effort. Support local. Support small. And go check out Justin's other work aka Honk. 

Part 9b - Shop Local?

Second Blog post in a row that's straying from the format but coming into Christmas i thought it was a good time put down on paper some opinions on the whole "shop local" thing.

I recently shared an image on Facebook (see below) imploring people to shop small and local and stay away from the mass produced tat.Fair to say that it was as close to trending as we have ever got. Nearly 400 people shared it and it reached over 30 thousand people. So this must tell a story right? Its something people believe in. But is it just something we all like to say but not actually do? 

Social media is an odd thing at times. I think we've all been guilty of sharing the odd article or picture that makes us looks good. At least i know i have. We share and like things on Facebook that add to the profile we have built. Is it a fair reflection of who we are? I doubt it. But i suppose sharing an article on a serious subject matter isn't a bad thing. We have good intentions.  But if you aren't totally invested in that subject then are you doing it a disservice. Would you be able to back up any reasoning behind it if challenged? Which brings me back to "Shop Local".

Its become a bit of a mantra, even a status symbol for some. It would be crazy to expect everyone to be able to afford to do this. I know growing up that we wouldn't have been buying an artisan loaf of bread and handmade soap from a shop in Byron Square because:

  • A. It would be more expensive.
  • B. In certain areas of every city you just don't have access to such things.

So my approach to shopping local is to do just that. But i don't really mind if its CO-OP, Spar or the local Butcher (Herds). I like to think that we can keep our areas of this city alive and kicking by spending money across the board - big, small and everything in between. We need variety for all tastes and budgets. I don't want to make anyone feel bad because they've used the big bad Amazon to buy their Christmas presents or whatnot. I'd be a hypocrite if i did. 

But this year i will try to spend a little more money on the small ones where i can. I'll avoid the convenience that see me throwing Christmas cards from the supermarket into my trolley and seek out some nicer ones. I can't expect people to do the same with me if i'm not willing to do it. I've seen first hand what buying local and or small can really mean. If someone buys something from me they won't be waiting hours for an email if they have a question. They won't catch me doing anything to get a sale - i'd rather be truthful even if it loses the sale! 

So yeah, go local and go small as much as you can. We're going to try. 

Part 9a - Aberdeen and the Art Community

So for anyone following or just glancing over the previous blog posts you'll see that its chronicled the journey and will soon be up to date! 

But for now i thought it was worth doing a wee post to add to the discussion on Art in the city. So here goes.

As some of you might know i attended an event the other night called Art Hive - this is a forum for creatives of all levels to exchange ideas, inspire each other and provide support. I did a wee presentation on Doric Skateboards focusing on how it came to be and what i felt my place was in the creative world. Its great to be involved and see the discussions happening in our City. One question that was asked was:

Is Art the New Oil? 

Its not a question with an easy answer and its a question that goes off on tangents. The last few years in Aberdeen have been well documented in terms of the negative impact the Oil/Gas Industry has had but alongside that decline we've seen a real surge in the arts and culture of the city.

As expressed by Rachael Cloughton in this article (https://www.list.co.uk/article/96644-after-the-oil-boom-and-bust-could-art-save-aberdeen/):

"In 2013 Aberdeen failed in its bid to become UK City of Culture 2017. The judges told the council their plans lacked 'a coherent vision' or a 'wow factor'. It was, according to council leaders, a 'wake up call'."

And wake up it did. Now some of these things may already have been on the agenda and some weren't but its been the cumulative effect of these things that has invigorated our city:

  • Look Again - celebrating the best in visual art and design.
  • NuArt - spectacular and returning next year and beyond. I've never seen such diverse crowds walking around Aberdeens streets. 
  • Spectra -  stunning event and returning in 2018 to celebrate young people.
  • The Anatomy Rooms - a beautiful venue that provides a creative hub.
  • Seventeen - another creative hub that hosts Make and events such at Art Hive.
  • Creative Learning - ACC team coordinates classes and events all over the city with accessible and varied topics.
  • Painted Doors - a fantastic project that saw doors in Aberdeen painted by selected artists to bring some life to the streets.
  • Revamp of the Art Gallery - looking forward to this. Bit by bit we can see the revamp.
  • Revamp of the Music Hall - like the one below, may have caused concern amongst some but this should be great for the city.
  • Marishcall Square development - now this one has caused a stir. But at this point we have no choice but to go with it and see how it pans out. Better than we had before? I think it will be. As good as we wanted it to be? Perhaps not.
  • Union Terrace Gardens development - hopefully this should be the happy medium that will keep people happy and provide a space for all.
  • Aberdeen Football Club - i'm adding this to the list as the general feel good of the teams efforts has infiltrated the city again and even inspired a fantastic art project that saw AFC players past and present replicated on the streets of Aberdeen.

Now this is just the ones i could think of off the top of my head. There are more, loads more. Aberdeen has success stories that don't revolve around Oil and Gas. The more thats celebrated and discussed the more the people of the city will feel empowered to take part and chase dreams. 

So is Art the new Oil? 

Its certainly more sustainable.

But the more relevant question could be:

Can Art be the new anything in Aberdeen. I think the answers obvious.