Finally I sat down and put some questions together for Chris Alliston who is the very talented artist behind the eye catching graphics from Moonshine Skateboards. And I’m stoked Chris took the time out to let us find out a bit more about who he is, enjoy!
Let’s kick this interview off with some basics: where you from, how old are you….
I’m from Liverpool in the UK and I’m about to turn 27.
When did your interest/love for art begin?
If I think back, it was when I first got Metallica – Ride The Lightning. Other records too, but the visuals that accompanied the music that was impacting me at a young age definitely jumped out and grabbed me. I’ve always been a visual learner.
Everyone is influenced by something / somebody in life. Who or what has had a major impact on you, your life and your work?
Definitely other artists like Aaron Horkey and Brandon Holt. They are probably two of the best living illustrators in this day and age. Their skill is mind bending. Aaron is also once of the most genuine guys ever. With a great music taste to back that up. Also I started to read a lot of Tolkien ( almost all of it in fact ) and tons of British nature writings, it’s changed my outlook 100% on how I see things and how it influences my imagination. I’ve found art is similar to writing music in terms of how you digest so many different bands, art, books and film. Then you output your own version of that.
Your „weapon“ of choice seems to be pen and ink. What makes them so special for you?
You can’t hide behind anything. It strips everything down to being nothing but your skills with a pen. I use Photoshop to clean up and add colour. But with inking an entire piece it’s unforgiving and the best way to learn. There is no undo button, you have to start from scratch.
How does a complete process of creating a piece of art / a skateboard design look like?
A lot of back and forth. A lot of sketching and changing things over and over until it clicks for both me and Adam. We also take input from the riders. We take a lot of pride in our art. We have a lot of people buying decks to hang in their homes and I don’t think a lot of companies focus on that anymore. We really push for cutting no corners and making every graphic, shape and colour stain be the best it can be. Screen printing our art is very important to us.
So I keep seeing you on Facebook with hawks..what’s the story behind it?
I got into birds of prey last year when looking for books on hawks for a new Moonshine skateboard graphic. It took a grip of me. Living in a city I really value my weekends with Geoff in the cold British country. Falconry is a hobby ( or lifestyle ) that takes so much dedication, knowledge and patience. And that’s what attracted me to it. Plus nothing will ever beat seeing a falcon in its element. Lethal!
How did the connection to Moonshine Skateboards begin and what does your work for this brand mean to you?
I approached Moonshine back in 2014 in the early days of the brand. I think there was only one board out at the time. I was in my second year at University and I was desperate to make some skateboard graphics. I grew up skating with all of my friends for about 8 years. Five years later Moonshine has been one of my sole outputs. Adam has supported and backed me none stop, he’s a great friend of mine and I really appreciate and value him. I get to have a skateboard companies image and artwork at my finger tips which not a lot of artists can say. It’s a dream come true. Also I must mention the Moonshine team riders are rippers and the company wouldn’t mean anything if it wasn’t for them. Liam Pace, kid is a machine. Watch out for him.
I heard a little bird tweet that something new from you and Moonshine Skateboards is coming…did I hear right?
Yes, our first ever band skateboard graphic. My two worlds of music and Moonshine colliding. A lot of inspiration taken from the Zorlac Metallica decks on that one.
Music and bands seem to be a big part of you work and life as well. I’ve seen the art you have done for the Melvins, Conan, Gallows and Mastodon which are fantastic. For which other bands have you done work for ?
I think one of my favourite bands I’ve worked with has to be YOB. I don’t think I’ve ever been more appreciated and complimented by a band before. It’s a pretty wild feeling when musicians you look up to hug you and tell you what a great job you did. It’s the little things that make it worth while. An amazing band and some great people.
What does music mean to you and your life? What bands do you listen to?
It’s everything to me. I wake up and listen to music, work all day with music and fall asleep with music, and that’s no exaggeration. It varies quite literally to what mood I’m in that hour. Bands I love to listen to while I work though.. Black Cobra, Bolzer, Enslaved, High On Fire. If it doesn’t pack a punch, neither will the art!
Thanks for the interview – any final thoughts or shout-outs you want to add?
Massive thank you to Adam as usual. All of my friends and family that support me constantly. My partner of 8 years Rosie for dealing with art induced mood swings. Drifter for making amazing wood. Tony Gale, Sarah Fielding for being the best printer around. Jon Davis for the wise words and phone calls. And everyone who gave me their hard earned cash to support my art. I appreciate every one of you.
Wanna see more Moonshine Skateboards designs and product? Then head over to there website…
Oh yeah, I did an interview with Jake Anderson a few years ago, check it out…