Kick-Flip Art: Rob Helmstetter Talks About His Iconic Skateboard Designs
"Being able to contribute art to the skate community is as good as it gets."
45, M, Longmont, CO
What crossovers do you see between the world of art and the world of skateboarding?
Skateboarding has always had a visual side, from board graphics to art that people draw on their griptape. If you grow up skateboarding you get exposed to all kinds of progressive artwork styles.
What is your personal relationship to the local skate community?
I love the front range skate community, it’s a great group of people. The community doesn’t feel as tight-knit as it did when there were less skateparks, but I guess that’s a good problem to have. I’m really fortunate to be a part of Null and the group of people associated with it. Going back a couple years I also worked with Crisis skate shop in Broomfield, which was another really great crew. Being able to contribute art to the skate community is as good as it gets. Shout out Glen and Fuzz.
You have such a range in your style - do you have a favorite?
I don’t really have a favorite. I’ve never settled into one way of illustrating. Sometimes it feels right doing something in clean line vector, sometimes hand drawn seems more appropriate. It depends on the project.
Now that you have survived the year 2020 what do you have planned for the future?
Staying busy and looking forward to a trip somewhere.
Did Carole Baskin kill her husband? Yes or no?
I forget. Baby Yoda has replaced her place in my memory.
Favorites tunes to listen to while you work:
KUVO Jazz 89.3 FM
What’s currently your favorite show on Netflix?
I really like Sturgill Simpson’s Sound and Fury animated album video.
Can you walk us through your creative process?
For Null graphics, first spend two weeks trying to think of something that hasn’t already been done as a skateboard graphic. Once you have an idea, ask Glen if he digs. If he digs, then I put pen to paper…
What’s your background like?
I started out designing websites, then I got really into designing gig posters, and that led to some time working in the music industry. These days I work for a great group of businesses large and small, doing branding work, illustrations, etc.
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up” -
Pablo Picasso // Agree or disagree?
Picasso was a jerk to everyone who loved him, don’t take any advice from that guy.
How has your workflow evolved over time?
Less paper, less CSS, hopefully better concepts.
Best movie of all time?
Toss up between There Will be Blood and Hoosiers.
Who was your childhood skateboard hero?
Best skateboarding video game of all time?
What’s your favorite skateboard related trick and why?
No-comply, because Ray did them so well.
What’s your favorite type of pizza and from what establishment?
Plain cheese from Patsy’s
If you had to guess, how many illustrations do you think you’ve completed?
I honestly have no idea.
What do you think is more important, small details, or bold outlines?
The small details regarding how you use bold outlines is very important.
If you could draw one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Null skateboards are available at your finer local skate shops, and at nullskateboards.com. You can check out more of my art/design work at Lookyhere.net