Mini interview with Graphic Artist Todd Francis

Todd Francis just came thru SF for a show of his work at 3131 Clement and we got to ask him some questions-

Element is one of our favorite brands- and they have �Da Man� as their art director- Todd Francis- Who is Todd Francis you ask?- Come on, Todd has been doodling out some of the most memorable deck Illustrations ever!!!- You know his graphic work
from brands such as Real, Antihero, Spitfire, etc. Todd has a show going on at our Buddy Yong-KI's gallery 3131, so let's ask Todd a few brief questions-

At DLX your graphics communicate your outrageous sense of humor. I see your decks up on our store walls and they get my cracking up. (Note the disgruntle series above.) It seems like almost every topic was fair game with Anti Hero- how do your art direction and themes change over at Element in order to communicate their brand and their market?

Todd- �I�ve had plenty of opportunity with Element over the years to do funny stuff, which I�ve tried to mix with more straightforward content and ideas to hopefully capture the balance that best represents the company�s philosophy and aesthetic. And while nobody is going to confuse Element and Antihero graphics, there are a lot more things in common than you�d initially think. Its all about having fun, something both companies do a pretty good job of capturing.�

A lot of the new Element decks feature wild animals. I like the art
And the design seems to remain consistent even though the drawing style changes drastically from very detailed to simple cartoon imagery.
Where are your influences and inspiration coming from for this new
series? What are you communicating to the viewer with this imagery?

Todd- �One of Element�s bread-and-butter themes has always been the wind/water/fire/earth concept, our ties to the natural world around us. A number of years ago, we latched onto the animal theme, and we�ve always tried our best to maintain that theme and expand upon it without getting boring. The challenge is to always come up with something new that�s both timely and interesting, so we attack it with different stylistic approaches and try and keep it lively.

We�re sticking with the proven classic themes that have always been tied heavily to Element, and bending them to make sense with today�s market, whatever the hell that means.�

Pigeons, pigeons, pigeons! Your design style changes a lot- So your
Pigeon illustrations for me- and I am sure others, are what I most
strongly associate or sign back to the illustrative style of Todd
Francis. Why are Pigeons such a recurring character in your work? I
mean you must have a place in your heart for these little
misunderstood guys. By the way those Limited edition Oakley shades
with the pigeons art were popular- It was crazy!
Todd, why pigeons?

Todd- �Yeah, I�ve clung to the pigeons ever since that first Antihero logo board way back when. Love the little scumbags, they�re funny as hell, and nothing better captures a city and its horrors than the decrepit condition of its pigeons. SF pigeons are particularly damaged, all puffy and diseased and oozing. For lack of nothing better, they�ve become my pirate�s parrot.

Glad you liked the Oakley shades, they were big fun to work on. Hard to beat a pigeon with a needle in his mouth, talk about high fashion.�

The show at 3130 seems to be a retrospective of your various
illustration work- What does this show mean to you- and what pieces
are you excited about displaying?

Todd- �Honestly, this show is an incredible honor for me. 3131 Clement does a really great job with everything they do, I�m still stunned they�d select me as their retarded poster boy for 2008. Seeing all the old Antihero decks alongside the original drawings will probably be nice for folks who dig Antihero, and I�ve got lots of Element, Stereo, Real and New Deal graphics in there. Been doing this for awhile now, and all these pieces alongside each other is solid proof of that.

Just as pleased to present a series of new paintings nobody has ever seen before, they�re an incredibly sensitive and thoughtful trio of paintings, with the series title �When Animals Rape.� Something tells me Oprah won�t be choosing these for her art picks of the week anytime soon. But Bin Laden might.�

Thanks Todd- to learn and see more about Todd's work visit-">

So everyone- I'm sure you know- but here are the details. 3131 Clement shows by appointment only so call Yong-Ki at 415 987 2782 to arrange for a viewing of Todd�s work. Also Todd created a deck for the show as well. 50 numbered and with all 4 of logos selected from his glorious past within skateboarding (Anti-Hero, Real, Stereo, & Element), again call Mr. Yong-Ki and get one. You can learn more about Yong-Ki�s gallery here-

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