Meet the Artist - Skye Walker
Posted on December 06 2016
Meet Skye Walker
Artist, Adventurer, and Banjo Player
Our founder Nate Miller was out surfing at one of his favorite spots, Campgrounds in Carlsbad, when he was introduced to Skye Walker. It was one of those pivotal moments. When Nate began building TASCO, he quickly felt Skye embodies what TASCO is—and aspires to be—as a brand. So he asked for his help.
“I knew that if our first designs had been lackluster, ‘me too’ t-shirts, we wouldn’t have taken off,” said Nate. “Instead, we got to launch with Skye’s ‘Gear Bear,’ ‘Boost,’ and shortly after, ‘the Manzanita’—designs that have been so well-received, and helped us make a great first impression. He also had a hand in the now iconic Braaap Bear design, which has become a second logo for the brand"
We want to introduce you to our friend Skye, because we have lots more great things planned, including our newest design, ‘Roam' (a free range Bison composed of every adventure element you can imagine),’ and we hope you’ll enjoy his work even more when you learn a little more about the artist.
Skye on Adventure
Little-known fact, Skye is also a musician. In fact, for two years, he travelled all over the US with his family as a band, performing over 2,000 shows for school assemblies, hospitals and retirement homes. With Skye on banjo, Dad on guitar, Mom and Sister on vocals, they raised awareness on protecting the environment through song and comedy.
With all the travel, he and his sister were home-schooled, often calling campgrounds “classrooms” as they made their way from gig to gig. They had always been an outdoor family, living all over the place, from Hawaii, to Spain, and Oregon.
“As soon as I graduated from Oregon State University, I moved down to Encinitas because I wanted to surf,” said Skye.
Skye on Art
Spending so much time on the road, Skye read a lot of comic books. He was hooked on the illustrations, and drew every day. “That became my focus,” said Skye. “It’s all I wanted to do.” Skye applied his talents to a BA in Graphic Design, with a minor in Fine Art from Oregon State University.
He was also inspired by the messages his parents brought him up with. “A lot of my work has that theme of Mother Nature, Mother Earth, and our connection to it,” said Skye. “I don’t try to beat people over the head with it, but I try to remind people that we have to protect this place. Our environment is beautiful and it’s temporary, and we have to watch out for it or it’s not going to last.”
Skye worked as a designer in the outdoor industry for Rip Curl, Red Sands and prAna for ten years before focusing on his freelancing. An accomplished muralist, you can see Skye’s work at Whole Foods in Encinitas, Patagonia in Cardiff, and throughout CA and AZ at seven other Whole Foods Locations. He has also been commissioned to create murals by local businesses from Prescott, to Austin, and Denver. “With murals, at the end of the day, your art isn’t stuck in the corner of someone’s house; it’s on the street and people can see it,” said Skye. “Murals make a statement, they can make someone happy, and they inspire.”
Skye on Mountain Biking
Skye turned to “the dirt side” about eight years ago. “I’d been riding before then, but the guys I rode with were very competitive, and it got to the point where I just felt beat,” he said. “But one day I rode and it hit me in a completely different light: This is an adventure I can do anywhere in the world, at any time.”
Without needing to depend on good swell or snowpack, mountain biking began to take over in Skye’s imagination, the way surfing had. Once hooked, Skye booked a trip to go riding in Scotland with H+I Adventures. Scotland had family history—he is named after the Isle of Skye—and Skye had an epic trip. “It changed my perspective,” he said.
When he got back, he was all in. He went to Interbike, watched the Redbull Rampage, learned all the pro riders and followed them, all while getting as much riding of his own in as he could. Then in 2014, he suffered an ACL tear that sidelined him for a year.
“It didn’t make me not want to mountain bike, it made me want to mountain bike even more,” Skye said. When he was recovered, he headed straight to Park City, UT to ride Canyons Resort on the brand new Santa Cruz Nomad that had been sidelined along with him.
“Mountain biking has come up in a parallel state, meaning as much to me as surfing. If I can’t surf, I can still ride,” said Skye. “The bike goes with me wherever I go and keeps me connected to adventure and the outdoors.” For example, Skye just finished a mural in Prescott AZ and when he was finished work for the day, he went for a ride. “I couldn’t go for a surf, but I could go for a ride.”
Skye on TASCO
“I want to be an artist that contributes to the brand, and gives it that local flavor,” said Skye. “I am a local artist, I ride, I surf, I’m a part of the culture. Hopefully the brand keeps building and expanding. They have a really good vibe going.”
Check out Skye’s work in our Gear Bear, Braaap Bear, Manzanita and now Roam Bison designs. See his art online at skyewalkerart.com. And be sure to follow Skye on Instagram: @skyewalker_art