Outside Lands 2014 was a huge hit this year and B’stro was excited to see one of our very own designers selected again as an “Outsider Art” artist. Alán González painted throughout Golden Gate Park and, through a sponsorship with GoPro, captured a lot of the progress of his work on video. He also shared his work on Instagram (@Sir_AG) and you can see a recap of all the action on Instagram and Twitter with #OLOutsiderArt.
When Alán joined the B’stro design team earlier this year, we knew he brought a keen eye for design and a fresh perspective on engaging with different audiences. What we’ve learned since then is that his Outside Lands work is indicative of his passion for all things San Francisco. From teaching art classes to low-income students to designing skateboards and clothing, he is a major player in the San Francisco art scene and is constantly taking on some of the most exciting and unique projects that the city has to offer.
We sat down with Alán to learn more about some of his passion projects.
How did you end up designing the FTC x Chris Cosentino deck?
When I moved here in 2008, the first thing I needed to do was find my new “home-away-from-home” skate shop. This would be a place I would meet people, pick up my supplies, explore the city and learn the street culture of my new home. I was walking on Haight Street and saw a sea of people pouring over the sidewalk all trying to enter a store. FTC, a local SF skate shop for over 25 years, was throwing a huge art show/party/skateboard video premiere. There was a strong sense of community, love and passion for skateboarding and art… I had found my new home. I started doing art shows with FTC and grew that relationship into designing skateboards and apparel for them that sells across all of their locations worldwide.
Kent Uyehara, the owner of FTC, presented me with a project in collaboration with his good friend — and well known chef — Chris Cosentino. It was immediately clear that we all had very similar ideas and passions… Chris was a good man, grew up skateboarding, loved the history of skateboarding and respected all that came from it. He already had a vision of a particular graphic from the past that he wanted to pay homage to. It was inspired by Calvin, of the Calvin and Hobbes comics: Calvin is sitting down for dinner, angrily stabbing his fork into a table, not wanting to eat. This graphic reminded Chris of being a kid, and not wanting to eat when he’d rather be running around outside. I composed a couple of versions of what Chris would look like as a cartoon version of the same kid, now all grown up, ready to dig in and eat his food as an adult. That was all it took and it ended up being the final design for the deck.
I began photographing ShoeBiz products and events a little over four years ago and grew that into designing all of their creative assets including collaborations with other companies. Converse approached ShoeBiz when they started planning their flagship store in San Francisco with the idea that they would open a collaborative store. As an introduction to the city, Converse wanted to be welcomed to SF with open arms and thought that a collaboration with a local shoe store in San Francisco — with a legacy that dates back to 1979 — would be a great way to do it. I represented ShoeBiz in those initial meetings and helped develop the ideas and partnership between the two companies. It was my responsibility to develop, design and present the shoes that would work for both companies.
What was the creative brief?
The creative brief was quite open. Converse left almost everything open. They trusted me to develop and design whatever we wanted as long as it represented the city of San Francisco in a local and organic way. I had to present quite a few concepts that needed to be reviewed by both companies and go through legal review before I could even start designing, but for the most part, everything was on me to bridge the gap between both companies and introduce Converse to San Francisco.
What made this project so special for you? How would you like to build off this opportunity?
As a kid, I was a huge Nike head and collector. I remember spending all of my money on Dunks. I had Dunks in every color and sometimes would get the matching hats and gear that complemented the shoes. Nike was a huge influence on me as a designer with their color palette, their collection, their apparel, their packaging, the accessories and the random projects and collaborations they would do with other artists and designers around the world. I always wanted to work with Nike when I was a kid and get into footwear design. The closest I got to that was working with Converse, especially now that Converse is owned by Nike.
You’ve only been here for a few weeks but you’ve already had your hands in a number of projects… what’s been the most fun so far?
I love working with creative people. Creative people get me motivated, get my brain going, give me inspiration and bring new wood to burn my fire to create and push myself. I love working with the B’stro team on package design, identities, ad campaigns and websites. This agency is doing some great work with impressive clients. I always tend to surround myself with creative people, people that create for love and passion; whether it’s music, art, design, carpentry, shaping surfboards, making magazines or whatever it is… I am always around people that have a passion to create, build and use their hands. I am also excited about diversifying myself as a designer. Working with the team of creatives I worked with before (and the design and art I was designing before) is COMPLETELY different from what I am doing now. I love different. I love to be tested and learn to diversify myself anyway I possibly can.
Essentially, I feel like I want to be a part of everything I encounter in some way, shape or form. As a creative, I want to learn and grow and diversify my design any way I can, no matter what it is that is sitting in front of me at any time or place. B’stro has really given me the opportunity to continue that pursuit.
Check out some more of Alán’s #OLOutsiderArt from his 2012 recap