Who am I and why I love being a freelance illustrator

I’m Joe Tamponi, I’m 32 and I started working as a full time freelance illustrator three years ago, after spending three weeks in California. First off I want to suggest you something to listen reading this thing, and it’s this album. Check out to this other post that analyze some colors from some punk rock covers!

Joe Tamponi - Illustration & Graphic design inspired by Skateboarding, Surfing  & psychedelic art.
CA – Hometown

I started skateboarding when I was fourteen, and surfing when I was sixteen but I quit some years later because I definitely started with the wrong board and I was lost in a bunch of other things. I surfed again thanks to a friend in California and I fell in love again. But stop with the boring stuff.

I love drawing bold, eye catchy, super colored illustrations that make you feel like you’re in the 90s again, pushing that stunning Santa Cruz skateboard deck in a sunny road with a bunch of palm trees over you, with the Nofx pumping in your headphones.

Thinking about nothing, heading to a flat spot to learn some tricks and kill some time with your buddies.

What I’m looking for in a successful artwork is to create something that looks like a vintage skateboard sticker, with all those flat colors and badass punk fonts. Let’s see some examples:

Take a look at these, and you can see what I love the most. In the 80s ( and even earlier) legendary graphic designers like Jim Phillips and Jimbo Phillips, Vernon Courtlandt Johnson, Kevin Ancell, started an incredible art style.

There were a lot of different branches I know, but their work inspired generations of young skateboards, illustrators, graphic designers and so on.

pic by Cridar – 2013

But I always been that kind of person which loves a bunch of stuff, and something which seriously inspired me is all the art that came out from the psychedelic era.

For example the legendary gig posters of the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco from 60s/70s, by Bill Graham. I mean look at the composition and the color palettes of this stuff. they’re just incredible.

The study behind that fonts inspired by the psychedelic trips, the colors are vibrating, sometimes they’re hard to read, the composition looks like is moving into weird shapes.

So, usually I like to do something in the middle between the psychedelic art of the 60s with all those bubbly, drippy fonts, and the strong, bold lines of the punk-rock, skateboard, surfing inspired illustrations from the 80s and 90s, when the skateboarding era was literally exploding.

When I was younger I was always adding a bunch of lines to my artworks and everything was super messy.

I was always struggling to find the way to catch the right thickness with a fair amount of details, which i guess it’s something that it’s always on my mind when I’m drawing. The perfect balance between a bold minimal piece and something detailed.

Well, the research and the study never ends, nothing it’s perfect, and it will never be.