Champion Studio Geoff Mcfetridge Contact      
Black Marmalade Interview 2006      

How are you today? Could you please introduce yourself to those who might not know who you are?

GM: I am well. I just put my daughter to bed. I am Geoff McFetridge, I am a graphic designer. I design films, animations, dances, drawings, art shows, paintings, fabrics, wallpaper, skateboards and products

How are things going for you today? What have you done since being awake? That is if you did indeed sleep.

GM: I slept quite a bit actually. Today was a nice Saturday which involved a lot of leisure kashi eating, coffee drinking, some wave riding and a childs birthday party.

Los Angeles, specifically Atwater, has been your home for a long time now, do you ever consider moving to somewhere else to live and work?

GM: I have come very close to moving to the beach. But friends and creative energy inland keep me very happy here. I actually live with my family in Los Feliz and have a studio in Atwater, I will be there for a bit.

I have read that you are going to start a skateboard company called Atwater. Is this still so? And if yes what stages is this at, what role will you play etc?

GM: It ended up being called Solitary Arts. We are about to do a second model. Its going well, we are selling at a few select, mainly surf, shops. The board is a very interesting design, shaped by my partner in the company Yongki. The boards are all about altering ones perception of what a skateboard should be, and how you ride it. It is not about going to get beer on, but it is also not about nollie heels.
We collaborate on all the designs, but mainly I am doing the graphics. We both have board and wheel ideas, but Yongi is capable of creating the solid setups. My grip is always chunky.

You have worked on a few title sequences for such films as Adaptation and The Virgin Suicides, are there any films that you have seen that you wish you had the opportunity to design the title sequences for and why?

GM: I guess I have always wanted to work with Jergen Leth, Wes Anderson, Werner Herzog. It is a more complicated question than that though. Hollywood is a terrible thing to deal with, if I know the person, or am dealing directly with the Director it is interesting. But I don’t find myself yearing to be involved in Hollywood films.

Are you currently working on any title sequences?

GM: I just finished a sequence for a film called “the TV Set” that will come out next year.

I know you use to be the art director for Grand Royal Magazine and that you have said that it was fun but you really weren’t all that good at laying out a magazine. Would you ever consider creating your own magazine or art directing a magazine now that you have been removed from it for a while?

GM: I don’t think so. A book maybe. Ed Templeton asked me if I would be interested in designing his book and I said yes. But a magazine is all about the feeling of being glad it is done, and you have to start the next issue the next day. It is like when my parents would drop me and my friends off at the skatepark and we would just skate until we got hurt.

To me your work is either very simple with one object and maybe a phrase being shown or clustered, this intrigues me can you please talk about why you see this happening in your work?

GM: That was the point of ultimate reduction for me. The image is filled in by the language and the graphic informs the languange. It is a fun way to work and is a really effective way for me to talk about the things I like to talk about. Those things being fairly large, ideas, like getting along, or loneliness, or inspiration. So I sort of use the gaps in language to talk abou t simplething in, hopefully, new ways.

I see a ton of visually amazing work everyday but there is no concept or idea behind it other than to make it look visually amazing. Now I’m not claiming that I have never done this. I think it’s apart of what we all naturally do as artists and designers, to please ourselves at one time or another. Do you have any thoughts on this?

GM: Yeah, I hate it when I find myself doing that. It is an easy thing to get into. I have a pretty rigorous way of working that is all about avoiding doing work like that. The next challenge is to keep inventing new solutions that work within these rules. Of course it is not suprising that structure and limitations lead to ideas and solutions that otherwise maybe I would not have come up with.
I could answer this question for days at times sounding like Tony Robbins, or Alan Watts. What yoru work is, has so much to do with how you work.

I know you did the Vandal for Nike, could you talk a little about the process you went through, from being contacted to completion?

GM: I first did a watch for them, then the footwear designer was interested in doing a shoe. (jesse leyva) I really wanted to create something epic. Nike has such resources and Jesse had great ideas and was really open to experimenting. I decided that I wanted to do shoe that was wearable but also had my graphics on it. So that was the design dilemma. The rule was, I would have to want to wear it. I am really pretty particular and pretty much only wear white canvas shoes.
So the two shoes in one shoe came out of this. It turns out nobody had ever done a two in one shoe before! It was a bit of a revolutionary idea for them. For me it was a nod to skateboarding, and then also a comment on the current idea of distressed stuff. It is really the type of design solution that you could talk about endlessly. I was really happy with it. In the end the ironic part is that I can’t wear the shoes because I find them super uncomfortable. The 10 is huge and the 9.5 is too small.

Have you since been approached to custom design any other shoe for any company and is this something you would do again and why?

GM: Yes. But Nike is open to doing another shoe, so I would prefer to do that at this point. They are great to work with and Jesse there is super talented, and now Michael Leon is working there.

You were born in Calgary Alberta Canada, consequently I lived in Scarborough which is also in Canada, a suburb of Toronto to be exact. While living there I met some of the best people and had the some of the most memorable times of my life also the atmosphere, culture and diversity is way more laid back, richer, and wide spread than my current home of Milwaukee. What are the biggest differences you have noticed between Calgary and L.A.?

GM: Whoa. Fewer fist fights in front of the bars? Fewer people able to fix a tranny with a leatherman? When my friend Greg Krausnick needed new wood floors for his house he cut down trees, milled the wood, dried it, then laid them himself.
It might be more interesting to note that Calgary (above Montana) was always a west coast leaning place. The stuff me and my friends were into was always from California. So I have a lot in common with friends I have made here in LA.
I would love for my friends here to meet my friends back home. I have a lot of respect for the people here and for my Canadian friends. I feel lucky to have grown up in the way I did, but also to have gotten to leave.




















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