A natural progression as we skateboarders age is finding other creative paths that we can turn into a living or what we like to call — cold hard cash* & being able to make rent on time and frequently. When it comes to doing what you love for a living, Sebo Walker is an embodiment of the subject. He seemed like the perfect candidate for interview #2 on The Double Set due to many factors; PNW Native, check. Skateboarder, check. Artist, check. Humble and all around nice guy, check, check.
All photos shot by:
What is your earliest memory of art? Did you always want to be an artist or did your passion for skateboarding slowly lead you towards art?
Truthfully, I think my earliest memory is drawing on a small rectangular piece of paper which my mom made in to her bookmark. My Mom, being an artist herself, has always encouraged me to pursue art and I think having that support was a big determining factor in why I wanted to make it a part of my career. I have felt very lucky that my two biggest passions in life, skateboarding and art, compliment each other so well.
Which artists past or present inspire you?
Gonz, M.C. Escher, Keith Haring, Murakami, & My Mom.
Did living in the van provide a sort of artists retreat for you? Is the van still around? Are you tired of talking about ye old van life?
Living on the van pushed me to be outside a lot more and find other hobbies, like art. When I was living in the van full time, I would spend a lot of time painting at coffee shops or friends houses. It was a really crucial period of time in my life. It forced me to be really focus and productive and get outside of my comfort zone. I couch surfed for two years before and it was tough, the van was a safe place for me to sleep. I had a gym membership, painted every morning and skated all day. Gym at night. Repeat. The simple life. I loved it.
Unfortunately, she went in to retirement a few years back so I don’t have her anymore, but will always have really fond memories of that time in my life.
Growing up in Salem I imagine that you around art quite a bit growing up…? Since your parents suggested you live in a van, were they hippies growing up?
I have all of these stereotypes in my head about Oregon, but maybe thats more geared towards my times in Portland.
I think Oregonians have a big appreciation for the outdoors and recognizing the impact we have on the environment, and my parents definitely fall in to that category. They taught us to be open minded, eat organic, live off the land etc. All things I still try and focus on today. I’m very proud to be an Oregonion.
You have such a creative and natural style, every trick you do on film seems like you are having so much fun. That’s hard to find these days. Do you think that your creativity on a board has translated off the board?
I hope so. I just love skateboarding and feel happiest when I am on my board. If I can emulate that outside of skateboarding and encourage others to find and do what they love, I would be so happy.
You seem to have a pretty curated list of sponsors these days; Pair of Thieves, Drink Water, Krooked, Bones Spitfire, Mob, Cals Pharmacy. Do your sponsors ever ask to link up with you on art officially?
I have been lucky to work with Drink Water & Mob on a creative level and make stuff together, which has been awesome. I am always down for a new project with my sponsors.
If you had one medium to use the rest of your life (i.e sharpie, acrylic, etc) what would you choose?
Acrylic for sure.
Looking through your art I see resemblances to the work of Keith Harring. Did he inspire you as a young artist? Any others?
Yeah he definitely does. I enjoy his style and always have. As I have started painting more murals I find myself looking deeper into his work for inspiration.
Seeing as Krooked is/was the brainchild of Mark Gonzales, have you ever sat down and talked with Mark about his art? I feel like that would be a monumental task, getting that dude to articulate to you his visions for more than a couple minutes without going off topic, but never having met him, I might not have him pegged in that sense.
Yeah, Mark has always been a big inspiration for me with being both an artist and skateboarder. He embodies the spirit of a true skate rat/creator/outlier/artist etc. It’s electric to be around. Anytime I have sat with him and talked about art & skating, it has always been really insightful and helpful.
If you had to describe your genre or style of art, what would that be?
Are you sponsored by Boardstix?
Yeah, they make great paint pens.
What is your favorite artwork that you have done to date?
I am most proud of “sebeau” a 20 skateboard piece in collaboration with Lucas Beaufort.
If you could go anywhere in the world on an artist retreat, where would it be?
I would say Japan, Berlin, or anywhere in Spain.
Would you ever move back to Oregon?
Yeah, definitely. Planning on it.
What are some tips or pointers you would give to a young skateboarder/artist wanting to be like you when they get older?
Don’t give up and always try and be positive & patient.
What is the greatest piece of artist advice you have ever received from someone?
Probably everything Gonz has ever said to me about skating and painting.
Where do you want to be with your art career in 5 years?
I would love to have a studio, and be working on large scale murals, continuing to have art shows and working with kids at my skate/art camp “dream big camp for kids” to inspire our youth!
Any top secret projects in the works? New shows coming up?
Just had a show in Portland with Lucas. Hoping to start working on another one soon.
I am focusing on skating a lot right now though. Have two video parts coming out in the next few months.
Any last words?
Do what you love and love what you do. Compliment others, read more, phone less, learn new tricks, and travel as much as you can.