TEKTY - A Skateboard Artist Interview

TEKTY - A Skateboard Artist Interview

TEKTY at artondeck.com
Tekty - Brady

Tekty is an artist from southeastern Ontario with a passion for skateboarding, snowboarding and art. His designs are truly fun and carefree, presented with a playful innocence and a dose of curiosity and mischief mixed in. Tekty's unique collage art depicts thematically complementary images with smooth transitions and blended edges, which offers a refreshing departure from the more jarring juxtaposition of images found in traditional collages. His art does not shy away from themes of violence, cynicism, sex and street life, but without bringing you down, as there's often an injection of light sarcasm and the possibility for double-ententes. Tekty's art makes me think about how life may include pain, despair, things that work well or don't work well together,  but ultimately it is important to not take things too seriously, to lighten up a bit, to recognize that things are not always as they seem, and to have an objective outlook. 

Tekty Interview March, 2024


I wanted to know more about what inspired Tekty's desire to create skateboard art, and how skating and making art influenced his direction and outlook in life. Here's what he had to say;

Q.        How were you first introduced to skateboarding? What was the context and environment you found yourself in at that time?

A.        Truthfully I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t just mad into skateboarding and snowboarding. My brother is 9 years older than me so growing up I was always seeing his friends doing all types of gnarly things like it was a Jackass movie and seeing all the older kids in my town skating and biking around I guess all ties into why I'm so obsessed with it now. I kept my first board, a world industry one that had this crazy boxing match graphic on it before being slapped up with stickers. I still remember being so stoked getting it for my birthday, I forget how old I was, I want to say around 9-10. That’s why I love creating deck graphics, for the thought that some kid will get so hyped over the design, gets his first skateboard and just never stops riding. This is the only picture I could find with my first board but I mean just look, that skateboard really made me feel like I was that guy.

Q.        Considering yourself as a professional artist, describe the journey, the ups and downs, and what you love or hate, like or dislike about the field of art? What would you be doing if it weren’t for making art?

A.        There is definitely going to be a lot more downs than ups just like anything else in life. The ups though is such a rewarding feeling knowing your hard work paid off. Much like skateboarding, we keep trying over and over again until it’s landed because it’s something we love so we just keep pushing. If it wasn’t for art I would probably be on my way to the court house right now, so thanks art for keeping people off the streets! Also the art community is mad supportive so don’t be afraid to hop in.

Q.        What style(s) or type(s) of art do you believe should be represented on a skateboard deck, and why?

A.        From Krooked and Toy Machine being simple and fun designs to Birdhouse and Plan B having these crazy detailed illustrations, I believe just about anything can be represented on decks. Really though, it’s about what the community wants in skateboarding and understanding that there are so many different types of styles, from metalheads to street rats. With deck graphics you’re usually trying to create a story within the art work, so creating a story that will relate with the community is what should be represented on decks. Usually some gross out surrealism style art works well!

Q.        If someone were to tell you skateboards don’t belong on the wall, and should be skated, how would you respond?

A.        I hung up a skateboard once, it was the coolest design on this Polar deck and I didn't have much money at the time so I was like I'll just keep riding the one I already had until a couple weeks after I snapped it. So I immediately went home and set up that Polar deck. It was a cool graphic but then I gotta ride it which was way better than looking at the deck. Personally, I think part of the beauty of deck graphics is that they are meant to be destroyed and wrecked doing something absolute bonkers. A scratched beat to piss deck tells way more stories than a new one.

Q         Why is art important in society, and specifically in the context of skateboarding?

A.        Skateboarding is ground zero for style and fashion, everyone knows that skaters set the trends. Skate designs are backed by such a strong, wild and stone cold community that we’re constantly shoving it in peoples faces. So it’s important that the art behind it is something that can represent us all as a group and show people what the fuck is up, sorry for cussing, I don’t know if we can on this interview. But to sum it all up, art is what represents us, so it’s important that we leave our imprint so future generations can look back and be inspired. Art never dies. 


Q.        When it comes to making, enjoying, sharing, teaching and pursuing the many activities that can be centered around art – what is the most enjoyable aspect for you and why?

A.        Sharing is definitely a fun part about designing and keeps me motivated to keep going on projects. I like to think when I’m designing that I’m making something my friends and I would like. So bouncing ideas off them and sharing always gets me hyped but humbled at the same time. I love honest feedback, tell me if it’s dogwater so I know what to improve on! Once you’ve nailed the design tho and people are reacting to it the same way you did is such a killer feeling and keeps you motivated to get on to the next one.

Q.        If there is a skateboarder (pro or not) who you look up to and admire? who is it and why do you look up to and admire them?

A.        This answer is always the same, Jake F**king Phelps. An absolute icon in skateboarding and just in life in general. From him taking massive body slams, always committing fully on every trick, to just his whole outlook on life… gnarly. I remember flying back from Portland and I was wearing a hoodie with Angel Dust written right across it through the airport. Two of the airport security stop, look at me in the eyes then go “Jake Phelps… Nice!”, to see that impact that one person made just by being their crazy, weird, and gnarly self I find so inspirational. Mainly because there's always been a sense that art is to be classy, but in my mind he made being weird, grungy, and hardcore the coolest thing, just by being himself. R.I.P. Jake Phelps

Q.        If there is an artist who you look up to and admire, who is it and why do you look up to and admire them?

A.        Made by James, Lincoln Design Team, Johnny Schillereff all you’ll ever need for inspiration. Made by James is someone to check out if you market yourself as a designer, especially a newbie. He gives out so much great knowledge on the steps it takes to become a successful designer without really telling you what you should design but how you should create with your own creative outlook. The Lincoln Design team has mastered the art of design and promotion and has most likely created a skate deck you’ve seen before. They have an amazing podcast that talks all about design and whenever I'm in a creative block situation I just watch that or look at some of their deck graphics and I'm right back to creating. When you want to talk about work ethic and believing in a dream until it comes true, you want to bring up Johnny Schillereff, founder of Element. His whole story from growing up to creating one of the biggest skate brands out there is something that should be a movie. They say never meet your heroes but fortunately I got to meet all these people at a creative conference, and I can say they’re all down to earth and just as cool as their designs.


Q.        What is your favorite skateboarding style and activity i.e. street, mini-ramp, freestyle, cruising etc. Why do you prefer it over others?

A.        Something about street skateboarding just makes everything that much more hard and gnarly. It’s all about using your surroundings and creativity too just like art. Also bringing in the fact that there are just so many iconic street spots going into video parts that it creates just this museum of tricks. I recently had a trip out to New York City and got to see the Blubba and Courthouse. Just being around that and thinking about all the people and tricks that have been thrown down on them is just a blast of excitement to go out and keep skating and designing. So I guess what I'm saying is the legacy and imprint that is left from street skating is just unmatched. 

Some of Tekty's Skateboard Designs


Cats & Dogs:

I remember when I was around the age of 12 going through snowboarding magazines and this crazy cat collage was on one of the pages. It was stuck in my memories ever since so I wanted to create my own version. I used a rottweiler as the main part of the design inspired by my puppy Rukus. I like to add some of my real life into designs. So from there I went with my wild wacky workflow, lots of image sourcing and got this final collage. Whenever I'm finished with a design I like to take that final image and start playing around more until something pops out at me and I'm like… YES!


Block Drugs:

On my New York City trip my girlfriend and I were taking an uber back to the hotel and we drove past this pharmacy with a vintage neon sign that said “Block Drugs”. I was like thats the coolest looking pharmacy I've seen, I need a picture. So the next day we were just walking around aimlessly at night in the rain and I'm glad we did because we stumbled across the same pharmacy and I had my chance to get this photo. I was instantly obsessed with it, the rain, the night time and this bright neon sign all made this image what it is. So of course I’m going to throw this on a deck graphic. It goes to show that deck graphics can be real life photography and not just drawings.


Alley Cats:

At this point, I’m starting to think I like to use cats in my designs. I blame the Enjoi Cairo Foster deck with rainbows and cats, that graphic was in every skateboarding game I swear. I drew up this one on photoshop and included this raggedy looking street cat with the caption “Street Raised” as I feel like a lot of people can relate to the average alley cat. Fighting to stay alive but having a damn fun time doing it! So I started with rough outlines to get the idea I had on paper. Once we got that idea out of my head I traced back over the outlines, but this time paying close attention to how the lines connected. From there we hit the design with my favourite step… Inking! You always do inking before colour so you’re not cheating out the hierarchy and where you want people to look. After establishing all that then it's just like a colouring book, I love those, so satisfying.



Bangin' Kisses

This is another deck graphic I did using the same methods as my Alley Cats deck, starting off with rough outlines and keep tracing over it until those lines are crispy clean. I like this one because it’s a great example of finishing a design and then thinking, how else would this work on a deck graphic. You can have vertical or horizontal designs on decks so figuring out how to do both is always an asset and allows for more creativity to show.

Once I get that one design I'm hyped for, I try to make a second or third deck graphic with the same assets and see how it looks, check it out!

Where to find Tekty's work and products

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