Liam is a skateboarder and illustrator from Leeds, England.
"If you don't know me already, I do a little bit of everything. I speak foreign languages, play the guitar, ride a skateboard, do a bit of rock-climbing and I enjoy drawing a lot, which is why I'm here I suppose.
I do think there's a strong relationship between skateboarding being an art-form in itself and making art or being creative. Personally, I think skating works as a bit of a catalyst for the creative process.
To sum it up, skateboarding no matter what branch of it that you choose gives you an alternate perception of reality. You can look at any mundane piece of architecture and find a creative way of using that space to accomplish your goals or play with the laws of physics a little bit. E.G. Learn a new trick, do an old trick better with a variation or a revert, all that stuff we've grown up on.
As an addition to that, skateboarders generally spend a lot more time outdoors than the majority of people. So, we get the chance to interact with such a wider range of characters than your regular person who spends their life at their mates flat playing computer games or down the gym. So, that, combined with the fact that skateboarding is, in itself an individual and social activity that involves travelling/exploring and meeting new people, I think it gives skateboarders an innate ability to transfer those experiences, opinions and ideas into another creative outlet.
There're lots of things that inspire me to create, just being alive is the main one. But, in terms of skateboarding I think it was probably the artwork on the bottom of boards and the now "Old-School" graphics and logos from the mid to late nineties that were the thing that really got me hooked on skating (That as well as the fact that it's an amazing way to combine mind & body in a creative/athletic form). Nowadays I don't keep up with trends and new brands as much as I should in skating.
But, I like a lot of the new basic logo type companies like Palace Skateboards, Polar Skate Co. and The National Skateboard Company. to name three that are all really good. I'm a fan of geometry so if you've thought about it and you've put some time and/or effort into thinking how it should look then I'll probably like it ... Simple is good.
However, as you can probably tell from my Artwork I'm a massive comic/cartoon geek. Not in the sense of collecting special editions or any of that collector stuff. But, I still enjoy watching SpongeBob and Batman cartoons in my thirties.
That being said I love all of the graphics that Stu and the gang come out with at Lovenskate. French is a monster at what he does, and I really like Paul Parker's (www.instagram.com/paulsparker) stuff as well.
There's a guy in Barcelona by the name of Julien Deniau (www.unavista.net) who makes some really good Skateboard Art using old/snapped boards that he finds/gets donated. He was one of the people who gave me a little push with this stuff. After showing him some of my very early doodle books, he constantly asked me what I had been drawing and starting telling people that I was coming up with some interesting ideas. So, Thanks, Julian you've helped create a monster! (Laughs)
In terms of music the first person who always springs to mind is Serious Sam Barrett/YaDig? Records, but there's so many I would find it hard to name them all. I do like a lot of non-skate photography that's done by skaters, though, the guy who took my photo - Instagram.com/camelfantana captured some really nice pics outside of skating, he gets involved with local bands in Alicante and shoots gigs as well as "Cover Art" and also is working for a local skate mag, but mainly I think skaters just have a keen eye for detail.
I think The No Comply Network is a brilliant idea and a great platform for like-minded people who share similar interests to find out about others, who are doing or trying to do something creative with their time as well. Also, it's a fantastic introduction to non-skaters as to what the world of skateboarding and the people who do it can bring to the table/have to offer. I think you have to be a specific type of person to spend more than a year or two skating, and that is probably why you get so many good chats down the skatepark, because everyone has come from somewhere else (i.e. has their own story), but you're all of a similar wavelength. Where maybe team sports got on your nerves and you needed to do a physical activity but not have someone tell you what to do and how you should do it better all the time.
I always like giving the artist profiles a read and finding out about what other people are up to and how they're spending their time. I think it would be a great idea to make a video of all the contributing creatives, each person who's had some involvement with either yourself or the site could donate a minimum of two tricks and let you make a little skate-vid out of all the footage. I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to round up the troops and I'm sure a lot of people would be up for it as well. But, I'll leave that one with you.
UTM. has always got something up his sleeve. (laughs) I'm going to be carrying on doing what I'm doing at the moment, which is draw, paint, print, colour, whittle and design as much as I can in the time that I've got on God's green mortal coil.
I've been doing a few exhibitions, print fairs and that sort of thing over the last three months, and the day after my first exhibition I designed the logo for my artistic pseudonym (.UTM.) under the guise of using it as a generic logo for the T-shirts I'd been thinking about getting printed over the last year or so. Which are now at the printers and should hopefully be ready in a month or so, just in time for Christmas shopping. There will only be a limited number of T-shirts, but, I can always get some more stuff done and as long as the majority of them sell, I'm planning a new run of designs for next Spring/Summer.
But, just for now, keep your eyes on Facebook or Instagram for updates and just contact me via email if you want to buy anything available on the shop page and if I haven't got it, then I can always do one-offs as well. Also, give me a like and a follow on any of the sites where I post stuff if you're into that sort of thing.
Apart from that, I'm doing some odd bits and bobs here and there, designing a T-shirt for Division 24 Skate Store (Skateshop in Wakefield), Getting more postcard and poster prints made up and hopefully I can get some more exhibitions after this next one in a week or so. But, I'm always open to any suggestions/commissions, I have a couple of good ideas for board graphics which I might give to Stu at LoveNSkate seeing as he's helped me out so much over the years. But, I would really like to try my hand at illustrating some story books. I can imagine that being quite an interesting venture andI think my style would suit it quite well.
- What is UTM? -
I would normally only tell you if you were buying a print and I was in the process of organising your "Thank you letter" and ".UTM. envelope", but seeing as I'm going to be selling these T-shirts and I'm thinking about doing some tote-bags/iPhone cases/that sort of thing, I suppose I need to create a little bit of hype and explain what its all about and what time like the present to have an official leak of what it all means, so are you ready?
As all the best ideas come, it arrived naturally over the course of the last 3 years that I've spent carrying sketchbooks around with me. Occasionally, some people would ask if they could have a look at what I'd been drawing and after 15 minutes or so they'd come back and return my book, looking a little bit bemused and wide-eyed. Like they'd seen something they shouldn't have (laughs). But, they'd always tell me that they liked what I was doing, so I thought I would carry on.
So on three separate occasions, three people all used the exact same combination of words to describe my illustrations or what they felt whilst looking through my books.The sentences may have been constructed differently but each of them, all used the words "Untainted Mind" and so .UTM. was born. It's all quite fitting really if I do say so myself, because as you can tell from the work I create, a lot of my illustrations have narratives, ideas and opinions behind them. I like to draw images or cartoons that make people think or reflect on what I'm trying to say, or potentially change the way they think about stuff. Generally, it will be a comment about, life, reality, the mind, society, nature or just an aesthetically pleasing image that I happened to find as a beautiful accident.
The idea behind the logo is that it is a pictographic acronym that doubles up as a Babylonian/Sumerian style tablet/hieroglyph. The image is supposed to look like a little stick man praying to the heavens. But, when you wear the T-shirt and see it upside-down, only you the owner/wearer can read .UTM. and know what it's all about.
So keep your eyes peeled and thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this."