In His Own Words | Matt Wohlrab on Leon Washere
by Antonio Ciongoli·
If you don't skate, you're likely unfamiliar with Leon Washere, but we've been inspired by Matt's hand-painted reanimations of iconic skate clips for a some time now. His emotionally evocative approach to color had a substantial impact on the palate for our upcoming fall drops. In light of our recent collaboration, We asked Matt to provide a bit of background on his animation and painting process. The following words are his own.
"All of my influences have a common theme, whether it’s art, fashion, the music I listen to, Skateboarding. I remember specifically choosing a place to study after high-school based on its proximity to Love Park. I’d take the 32 bus downtown every night I could after class to skate. There was always something going down and the scene was incredible. One day I’d be getting dirty looks from Josh Kalis for hitting him with my board, the next I’d be skating the park alone with Anthony Pappalardo not even acknowledging each other. That’s how it’s was back then, not so packaged and high-fivey. So after I left ten years in advertising/design I went back to that place for inspiration. Re-imagining that old footage, some of it I witnessed first-hand, into something new in the form of animation. My process is very time-consuming, coloring/painting each frame by hand. I never started doing them because I thought anybody would care. I wanted to memorialize, in some weird way, that time and place into a piece of art.
Working with Antonio was a deviation from my typical subject matter. I’d been painting abstractly for awhile and started sharing some of that work recently. Mostly subject matter from the marshes of Southern New Jersey where I reside. He’s shared his travels through the Aran Islands of Ireland and how they were almost stuck in time concerning fashion and a particular way of life. It’s fascinating, and was easy to draw the parallels between what I did and this group of people. The imagery he brought back was strong visually and asked I do a few graphics for some shirts. Those came pretty naturally, then I did an animation piece in my style to coincide with the shirts which was pulled from old film footage."
Matt's original work is available here as well as in our studio at 146 Elizabeth St in New York. Please stop by and take a look if you are in the neighborhood.