Every once in awhile, Mirko Antich will see a skateboard deck in a skatepark or on the street that takes him back a few years to a time when he was just finding his feet as an artist.
He was working retail at Spyder Surf, and on a whim asked his manager to consider using some of his sketches as board graphics.
Several months later, Antich was selling skateboards he’d designed.
“It’s pretty dope seeing people riding those boards. I usually compliment them, like, ‘Hey that’s a rad board,’” he says, and laughs. “Those decks were my first paid art gig.”
That was in 2010. Then, Antich was a tattooed kid who liked to draw; now, he’s a slightly older tattooed kid who’s gaining local repute as an artist and employed as a graphic designer for international action sports company Globe. His designs appear on billboards, clothing, event posters, cruiserboard decks, and in catalogs distributed across the globe, and they’re about to hit Spyder again, but this time in a bigger way.
In collaboration with Spyder, the Redondo Union alum is preparing to launch ‘murk lurks x spyder surf,’ a line of T-shirts and skateboard decks featuring his illustrations.
The surf and skate shop, which has branches on PCH and Pier Ave., is making an effort to reflect more local talent in its merchandise and planning to work with several SouthBay artists a year. Antich, 25, will be the first of a series.
“murk lurks x spyder surf is something that happened pretty organically,” he says. “I’m all about Spyder and the Spyder family – that’s what it is, a family – and I really want to do something for them and for the community. Spyder is kind of where I got my start.”
It’s where he realized his foremost hobby – “I was always sketching; If I wasn’t drawing something was wrong,” he says – might be able to earn him a living.
“I’d been to four city colleges by that time,” he says. “School just wasn’t my thing, and I was kind of like, ‘What am I doing? I’m 20, everyone’s almost finishing college and I don’t really have a plan.”
Antich, who was born in Peru and bred in Redondo Beach, had for years been embedded in the SouthBay subcultures of skateboarding and punk music. These inspired his “doodles” – sketches that found expression in notepads, iPhone notes, and, sometimes, on the skin of tattooed friends.
“My subject matter has a lot to do with SouthBay beach life and the music I’m into,” Antich says. “It’s just inspired by stuff that goes on in my life. The other day I ate pizza and I drew a slice of pizza. I take everything that goes on in my life and throw it into a melting pot, and I guess that’s where I get my designs from.”
Several years ago, he started posting his work – “vomit from my brain,” he calls it – on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. People responded.
They liked his style and his edgy, satiric, almost counterculture approach to documenting SouthBay beach life.
Encouraged by their response, he resolved to design some decks for Spyder. And encouraged by the success of that plan, he applied for an unpaid internship in the art department at Globe’s El Segundo office. After six months he was offered a full-time job.
He quit Spyder and art school, and focused his energy on creating designs that appear in promotional materials and merchandise across North America, Australia, and Europe. One of his designs was even ripped off and mass-distributed by an overseas retailer, which for Antich is two parts flattering, one part frustrating.
But whereas Globe’s branding strategy sets the confines of his professional work, murk lurks x spyder surf will be a purely personal outlet.
For Antich, it will be a way to pay homage to the first steps he took on the path to becoming a recognized artist, and the company that made them possible. It will also be a way to pay tribute to the SouthBay, his infinite source of inspiration.
“People, when they think of the SouthBay, think of the beautiful beach and stuff like that but there’s this whole other subculture of music and art,” Antich says. “There are so many talented people. Hermosa Beach is known for some of the most influential bands in punk history – Black Flag, Descendents, Circle Jerks, Pennywise – they started this crazy movement and they’re from where we’re from. I want to be a part of that. I want to influence the SouthBay just as much as the SouthBay has influenced me. It’s a give and take, you know?”
murk lurks x spyder surf hits the shelves of both Spyder Surf locations in Hermosa Beach in October. To see up-to-date projects, follow Antich on Instagram: @murklurks.