Sketchy Tank, San Diego based artist, is operating under the mantra “Disturbing the comfortable, comforting the disturbed.” Not unlike the thunderous clacking of hard urethane down a brick street, the melting flesh of his skeletal figures will likely create a sense of unease in the general public. After a recent collaboration (Loose Behavior II) with TWS staffer Blair Alley, we caught up with Sketchy Tank to discuss the finer points of the uncomfortable delicacies we enjoy.—KEEGAN CALLAHAN

Sketchy Tank x Blair Alley x Shuriken Shannon

Can you share with us any details of the origin of this statement, “Disturbing the comfortable, comforting the disturbed”?
Pretty sure Cesar Cruz coined it? When I read the quote for the first time, it said it all. I think “art” is something that slaps people around, wakes them up, pisses them off, and makes them laugh. It’s important to create an emotion with art, even if it’s disgust. I like fucking with people and ruffling feathers. The people that understand why…like my stuff.

When drawing a skater, does the silhouette always come from a reference, or do you sometimes draw straight off the top of your head?
I normally have a reference. I try to find shots of tricks that required a lot of speed. That way the piece has more movement when the skater’s intestines are flying out.

Sketchy Tank’s hand on a kickflip photo of Ben Skrzypek by Blair Alley.

Not unlike skateboarders that often travel with a crew while participating in a very solo activity, you are running with an art gang by the name of “Swamp Wizards.” What does an art gang do together? How does one become a Swamp Wizard?
We are a group of like-minded artists that motivate each other daily. We get together for art shows and collaborate on projects. We have a text thread that is the funniest shit ever. Hopefully it can be made into a coffee table book one day [laughs]. There are 13 of us now and we are all pretty stuck on the number. If we were to add another Swamp Wizard, the decision would have to be unanimous.

You’re a new father, does that alter your approach to getting sketchy? Lots more sporadic drawing time in between naps and feedings?
[Laughs] Yeah I had my son Hank West in December, and it changed my whole outlook. I was afraid that when he was born I would get all soft, but I still do my thing and get weird. I don’t sleep much as it is, but now I really don’t sleep. So I’m still up drawing, but now I’m cleaning up barf and shit—which inspires my work even more [laughs]. My wife is an amazing mom and she makes sure that I can still do my thing.

Anything new you’re working on that we should be on the look out for in the future?
I have a “featured artist series” releasing with Volcom this summer that I am really excited about. Volcom has treated me good. They really take care of their artists and are all about keeping things fun and raw. I also have some shows lined up and the Swamp Wizards are gonna do some big things this year.
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