As a kid, Dave Banks, aka @robinbankz, got his first skateboard at age nine. He immediately was obsessed, both with skating itself, and with the graphics on the bottoms of the boards. A family trip to Vermont when he was twelve provided his introduction to snowboarding and he dove deep into the rabbit hole, cementing a foundation in which riding and creating are inextricably intertwined. This is a lucky thing for snowboarding, as Dave’s art and aesthetic have permeated all facets of the culture and industry (Dave has created graphics for Burton, The North Face, adidas Skateboarding, Nike Snowboarding…the list goes on and on).
Currently, Dave lives in Seattle where he has worked at Ride Snowboards since 2015 as the Global Senior Graphic Designer, cultivating the look and feel of the brand. His breadth as an artist and a designer is easily seen in iconic Ride board graphics (like the War Pig, Twin Pig, Machete, etc), bindings, apparel, and limited one-offs. One scroll through his Instagram, where both Dave’s professional and personal work provides a hypnotic reprieve from the general feed, and the influence that music has on his designs and drawings—notably an affinity for metal and darker jams—is clear, juxtaposed with a dose of nostalgia (see: Ride sales meetings t-shirts featuring 80’s and 90’s TV and cartoon icons). This would be enough on its own to enjoy what Dave makes, but he pushes the envelope further with designs juiced with an informed and clever commentary. A skeleton obsessed with its own cell phone head. Perfectly kearned slogans sharing political POV. In short, his work resonates, so hop on a Twin Pig, flip through the Ride catalog, or go enjoy his t-shirt designs, stickers, lock ups, and illustrations that he regularly shares online. – Mary Walsh
Where do you live: Seattle, WA, currently.
Home mountain: Crystal Mountain, WA (currently); Kissing Bridge, NY (growing up).
One tool of your craft that you cannot do without: Recently, the iPad Pro has been a game changer, but in the physical world I love POSCA markers.
Favorite subject matter: I’ve been loving to explore fantasy and sci-fi genres lately. I grew up on 80’s cartoons. It always comes back to that.
All-time favorite snowboard graphic: That is a tough one, there are so many. Terje’s sword board is so iconic to me. The base graphic is so visible from any distance and done in an illustration hand that reminds you of being a kid and having fun in the woods, pretending to be a warrior. The top sheet is this sketchy illustration that looks like it’s done fast and spontaneous. It’s positioned in the tail that emphasizes the directional shape. It was also the very first time a sword was put on a snowboard graphic. It’s hard to top that graphic. It’s truly the holy grail of board graphic achievement to me.
Do you listen to music or anything when you make art? If so, what: I have music on alllll day. It’s usually a steady stream of metal from Sleep, OM, High on Fire, Electric Wizard, Danava, Hällas, Burzum. The list is infinite, honestly. I find so much energy in music. It fuels so much life in me. I’ve been able to slow down and enjoy a lot of vinyl here in corn-teen.
Advice on how to get over a creative block: Surround yourself with all of your favorite shit. Turn on your favorite music. Light some things on fire: candles, sage, a slice of pizza, whatever. This changes the energy in the room. Look at your favorite print material, sketch books, comic books, movies, cartoons. Whatever it is that stokes out your visual mind and makes that spiky, fear feeling in your heart, have it saturate your thoughts. Then, this is the crucial part, walk away and close your eyes. Your imagination has just been fed its favorite food. You will start to see things because your mind is jacked up and surfing on your favorite things. These images are gifts. Now open them.
Artists that influence/inspire your work: VCJ, Ralph Bakshi, Saul Bass, Edward Gorey.
Any cool collabs, work, galleries, projects, etc. that you’ve done (or that you’re working on currently) that you’d like to share: I’ve been refurbishing old skateboard decks and putting roller skate trucks on them. I was inspired Neil Blender and Peter Hewitt’s Instagram posts (@nblender and @goonsac). It’s been really fun to experiment with. They handle like carving on a groomer. It’s a bit like designing a snowboard, playing with shapes and seeing how they handle. Then I’m applying graphics by hand.
Where can people purchase your art: I currently have some drawings for sale from my last show at EVO Seattle on my web shop: https://robinbankz.bigcartel.