interview with artist jimbo phillips




jimbo phillips is an artist from santa cruz, california best known for bold, eye popping graphics. as he the son of artist jim phillips, he has been immersed in skate and surf culture all his life, and these themes are often at the center of his work. jimbo told designboom more about his approach and process…



designboom: please tell us about how you became an artist?


jimbo phillips: I grew up surrounded by my father’s art. he was kind of a hippy when I was a kid, so he would paint everything in psychedelic colors – our kitchen was painted like the inside of a lava lamp. I was always inspired to draw and when I graduated from high school my dad needed help with art production, so he hired me as a apprentice to work under him. I learned a lot about creating finished professional commercial art. he later had a falling out with the company so I quit with him and started my own business continuing on with that style of art.





DB: how would you describe your approach?


‘my style is based in skateboard graphics, Ive always loved that look and style of art. skate graphics are the gnarliest graphics so the creative parameter is a lot wider! I also like to work with bands and on surf and snow stuff.





DB: what are some of the key differences between your work and your father’s given his influence on you?


JP: his graphic style has been a huge influence on my approach but if I had to pick out differences I’d say he style is more 60s psychedelic, surf style, while my style is more punk rock and metal with comic book, horror movie influences. humour is an important element in both of our work and we used to read mad magazine together and joke a lot.





DB: what would you say is your strongest skill?


JP: my strongest skill would have to be my line quality, Ive spent a lot of time perfecting that. drawing things in a bold yet detailed manner, where there is a lot of stuff going on, but its easy to look at.

various skateboard decks for santa cruz




DB: what materials do you enjoy working with the most?


JP: I think I’m best with ink on paper – it’s what I enjoy mo but I would like to get better at painting, with brushes and spray cans.

‘the gremlin’




DB: which projects or aspects of your work have given you the most satisfaction in your career thus far?


JP: I get the most satisfaction from peoples responses to my art and graphics. when someone really likes a piece it makes it feel like time well spent. when I see someone wearing a shirt or riding a skateboard I designed, or bought a piece of my art to hang in their house, it becomes bigger than what I think about it. I went to brazil last year and people there were sooo stoked, the energy they had for this art was very inspiring!

‘archy cars’




DB: how do you think online art and design resources have influenced the work being produced today?


JP: I’ve seen radical art get a lot more accepted in general with the popularity of tattoos and skate graphics. it starts bleeding over into other industries, so companies that would never think to put a barfing eye on their products will now consider it and sometimes run with it. skulls used to be radical but now you can find t-shirts with skulls on them at department stores. also the graphic applications nowadays makes it possible to put art on just about anything, so that opens doors for artists to design and create a wide array of products and even put them out easily them selves.





DB: what are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?


JP: I’ve always loved stickers, and have collected them for years, and created quite a few over the years, but in the last year, I’ve ramped up my sticker program to over 20 different designs and the response has been amazing. they are really the ultimate way to get your art in peoples hands for at a very low cost. I cant wait to draw up a new sticker design!





DB: what are you passionate about besides your work?


JP: I’m married and have kids so I am passionate about my family and being a good father and husband. I also love to surf, skate, snowboard, play music, mountain bike and see live music.

‘artwork for o’neill’




DB: do you have any superstitious beliefs or rules that you live by?


JP: I always try to keep improving in art and as a person. take time to relax and have fun. be grateful for what I have and what I can do. I try to be a nice person, because it often rubs off on other people and comes back to you. enjoy the simple things in life, and try not to be in a hurry all the time. stop and smell the flowers and enjoy the view. surf, skate and create! smile and kick ass with my art!

artwork for santa cruz




DB: what’s the best piece of advice you have heard and repeat to others?


JP: visualize what you want to achieve and move towards it and it can happen.



DB: what’s your personal motto?


JP: keep rockin’ !!