Where are you from/where do you currently live?
I grew up in Mission Viejo, CA. which is a little inland from San Clemente and Dana Point. I’m currently living in Ladera Ranch, which is a tad closer to the coast but basically in the same area that I grew up in.
Any right point break. Since I work in San Clemente that distinction goes to Church’s.
Favourite music right now?
Bon Iver, M. Ward, Band of Horses, Dr. Dog, Lightning Dust, Beach House, The Morning Benders, Ryan Adams, Surfer Blood, Yeasayer, Vampire Weekend
Describe The Ryde in one sentence
The Ryde is my creative outlet, a reason to make art, a clothing company, a source of great pride (and at times frustration), exciting, growing, loved and hated (depending on who you talk to), an amazing way to make a living.
How did The Ryde begin?
It was the last day of design class at community college. I had finished my final project and was using the computer to work on some t-shirt designs. This guy sitting behind me sees what I am working on and asks me if I’d be interested in designing a logo for this company he is starting. That guy is my good friend Mike and though that company didn’t work out, we continued working on things together. The next venture was a clothing company called Laguna Surf Company and was run out of Thalia Street Surf Shop. I was going to school up in San Luis Obispo and Mike would take photos of surf spots in Laguna, send them up to me, and I would illustrate them. We had success with that and decided we should expand beyond just Laguna. We changed the name and The Ryde was born.
What is the The Ryde style?
That’s hard for me to put into words. Our Fall 2010 line is very much inspired by the classic image of a life at sea in all of it’s forms. Is that vague enough?
Tell us a little about your background and how you got into surfing, art, fashion and creative stuff?
When I was a kid I would stay up late drawing pictures from baseball and hockey cards. I was a baseball nut. It was my life, my identity. In high school I didn’t make the baseball team and it broke me. I started surfing to fill the void. Surfing became my life, my identity. The summer before my senior year of high school I was surfing in Hawaii, a few hundred yards from shore, and I suddenly knew something was very wrong. I paddled to shore and my Dad was waiting for me when I got there. I couldn’t talk, and the last thing I remember is handing my board to my Dad. I had a seizure on the way to the hospital. They diagnosed me with epilepsy and I was told that I would not be able to surf ever again. I felt like every time I was ever passionate about something it was always taken from me. Just a few days before that I had accepted Jesus Christ as my savior and I had a decision to make. Do I trust that there is a plan for my life and this is just part of it, or do I feel sorry for myself and stay angry at God? Thankfully I decided on the former. I lost my drivers license because of my epilepsy. Without the option of surfing, I had a lot of free time on my hands. I started drawing again, taking art classes, playing guitar and reading the Bible. I realized that the focus in my life had been off when I let my passion for baseball, and then surfing, control my life and identity.
Eventually I was able to drive again, and start surfing again but my focus had changed. Now, because of my seizure, I have a great balance of passions in my life, but my identity is in Christ. And that identity can’t be taken from me.
What advice do you have for people who want to start their own brand?
It’s going to be hard. Make sure you love what you are doing. That’s really the only way that you will make it. If you have a partner make sure that you work well together and your talents compliment each other. Realize that it is a business and you can make the coolest stuff but if you can’t run a business you will fail. Talk to people who are successful businessmen and get their advice on business decisions. I was fortunate in that Mike handles the business side of things and he has built relationships with people who have good advice to give.
What are the things you love the most about what you do?
I love the creative process. Being inspired by something totally random. I love drawing. Having people get excited about the things I have made. Seeing an idea all the way through to execution and liking the final product.
Who/What are your main inspirations?
I’m inspired by people who over come difficult situations and come out better people because of their struggles. The photography of Ron Stoner is a big inspiration. He had an ability to capture the pure joy of surfing. Any one who is doing some thing to make oth ers smile is an inspiration.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.
That’s really hard to do, or fully comprehend, but a good goal to shoot for.
What tool or items could you not work without?
Last year I had surgery on my hand. I couldn’t use it for a few months. I found different ways to design. I think I can improvise and use whatever is available to me to be creative. That said, I do love my design vellum.
Describe your work space?
I have a desk by a window. A computer on the floor with two large flatscreen displays. A Wacom drawing tablet. A light table. Lots of pens, pencils and brushes. a scanner, lots of books and magazines, drawings taped to the walls, a clothing rack filled with our latest line and other clothes for inspiration, storyboards for Fall 2011, water, a fan, Dodgers bobble heads, iphone and headphones, laser printer etc.
Where can people buy your art and clothing online?