Artist Profile - Rory Doyle

Rory Doyle’s the talk of the town at the moment, with two standout graphics in the Endeavor line-up, Rory’s hitting his artistic stride. We got a hold of Rory to find out more about the man and what inspires his designs.

The Roots Series graphics as prints... simply stunning

There’s no denying that the artwork on a snowboard influences your purchase decision, fickle as it may be, of two boards that are similar, your going to choose the better looking of the two.. it’s natural selection, who’s going to choose the ugly duckling when the alternative is a beautiful swan.

Max Jenke at Endeavor has got one hell of an eye for banging designs… just look at the Endeavor 09/10 lineup, let’s face it Max’s not so much a snowboard brand owner as much as he is an art gallery curator. Two designs that have stood out to the crew at Snowboard Review this season have been the Endeavor Roots and the late release Kale Stephens, in-fact we liked them so much we hit them up on the blog and even put the Roots on the pedestal as the best design of the 09/10 season. Little did we know that it was the very same man responsible for both designs. Let me introduce Mr Rory Doyle, an artist with an eye for style who takes influences from everything from Vancouver street art to 19th century Czech Art Nouveau pioneer Mucha. Rory’s work this season has generated huge interest from the worldwide snowboard community and with a double page spread in Snowboard Canada, Rory’s starting to get the recognition he deserves. We caught up with Rory to find out a bit more about a man who’s no doubt going to be pushing snowboard art in the right direction for the foreseeable future.

How did you get involved in creating board graphics for Endeavor Snowboards?

I met Max Jenke several years back when I had just finished school. Over the years I had helped Endeavor out with some minor things here and there which eventually evolved into designing boards.

Is designing a Snowboard a ‘work of art’ that really means something to you, or ultimately are you designing something that looks nice and will sell?

I think it needs to be looked at as both to be considered successful. I always want the end result to be a piece that I’ll be happy with and will also sell. If I can take my idea that may be a bit deviant from your standard board graphic and translate it into something that will appeal to any given rider, than I feel I’ve done my job.

Did Max and Scott let you get on with the artwork for this years board or did they give you a certain amount of direction?

It’s a collaborative process. I usually pitch Endeavor an idea and they come back with initial feedback and direction. Then I usually get on with it asking for some smaller points of feedback throughout the production. The Roots was great because we both knew what the end goal needed to look like, so along with a little help from Max, I just went for it. I also have to thank my friend Derek Stenning, (also a designer for Endeavor) who gave me some really valuable illustrative feedback on that series. Keep an eye out for his Endeavor High 5 series for the 2010/11 season, they look unreal.

In our opinion the Endeavor range this year has some of the strongest graphics we’ve ever seen and for us the Roots series has to be the stand-out. How happy are you with the Roots this year and how does it feel to have designed a classic?

I’m pretty happy with it. There are obviously things I’d like to change or do differently next time but I like it and have received a lot of great feedback. It’s sort of hard for me to think of it as a classic being that it was a take on Mucha’s seasons but with that said, there are a lot of differences and I tried to add some of my own flavor in there. The whole process was challenging and fun. I have to thank my fiancé and her sister. They dressed up in bed sheets and posed while I photographed them for reference, they were a huge help.

The artwork for the Roots has been heavily influenced by the work of 18th century artist Alphonse Mucha; why did you decide to use his work as inspiration? Why did you think that work by an 19th century Czech artist had any relevance to a 21st century subculture?

His work is timeless and amazing. He created a lot of series, which gave me the initial idea. I thought it would be cool to try a board series in a similar fashion and the story behind the Roots series aligned nicely with the Nouveau style (earth tones, natural shapes, beauty etc.). I hadn’t seen any boards done like that so I couldn’t miss the opportunity.  As far as his art being relevant to snowboarding, I didn’t think it was, but I didn’t worry too much. Artistically speaking, Endeavor’s line is pretty authentic so there was more than enough room for a Nouveau series that hadn’t been done.

We also picked out the Airhole & Endeavor collaboration on the Endeavor Kale Stephens as a standout design this season, the richness of colour and the dark ninja / undead theme are polar opposites to the Roots Series. Turns out you were also the artist responsible for that killer design too. Do you feel pressured to create your best piece of artwork to date for each board that you work on? And how did you find working with Kale?

Thanks, I’m glad you like it! I usually try to progress as an artist with every project and given that it was a different style, it presented a challenge. I enjoy that though and I find I get a bit more satisfaction in the end. Working with Kale is cool. I’ve done some Airhole work with him in the past and he’s great. He knows what he wants which is nice and he communicates it in a friendly manner.

Design is clearly a really important part of what Endeavor are doing and their brand identity; how nice is it to design for a brand that are so keen to invest in local artists and are focused on creating boards that are aesthetically different to the majority of brands on the market?

It’s great. Every season I’m so excited to see what the other artists have come up with. Endeavor has a really solid network of talent. It’s really helpful as an artist that Endeavor promotes me just as much as my board. We have great exposure like bios on the product, the website and catalogues as well as extras like art shows. A lot of board companies don’t even include the artists name on the top sheet and I think the designers/artists are often over looked, which is unfortunate because graphics sell boards so why not promote the driving force behind that.

Where do you find the inspiration for your creations and do you put a lot of time into researching ideas?

I find inspiration all over the place. The internet is obviously great but lately I’ve been feeling outlets such as art blogs and sites are getting pretty saturated and can be scrambling at times, so I’ve been looking elsewhere. For example I have a decent sized collection of old vinyl that is great to dig through. I put a little bit of time into researching ideas, usually starting with the theme or vision and then trying to align a high level concept with it. From that point if it references anything that is generally known, then I want to get it right. In my latest series for Endeavor, there are famous landmarks from all over the world. I definitely research to make sure elements such as those are on point.

What tools do you use to create your work? Do you use traditional drawing and painting techniques with oils and other old school tools or is all of your work created on a Mac?

It depends what I’m creating. I used to paint on canvas years back and I wrote graffiti quite heavily for numerous years as well. With respect to Snowboard design, I generally start out with sketches, scan them onto the computer and I digitally paint from there. My full time job is a 3D artist at a video game developer, so I often use 3D in my pieces as well.

It seems that Vancouver has a really good community of artists; what influence have the mountains and the presence of a large Skate and Snowboard community had on the city’s artists? Is there a website where we can see more art from you and your peers?

Yeah there is an amazing pool of talent here with a wide variety of styles. I can’t speak for other Vancouver based artists but I definitely think it’s influenced my work. I’ve grown up with skating and snowboarding being really prominent in my life. I skate all year round and snowboard in the winter so I guess that makes it extra important to me that my boards look good.

If you want to see more of my work you can check these links:

We heard rumors that you skate and like to throw a few shapes on the dance floor….we want to know if you snowboard and if so; what board will you be riding this coming season?

Ha. Yeah, I b-boy a little bit. I haven’t been getting busy lately but would like to start up again. Since an early age skating has been my favorite thing to do, I plan on skating until I’m unable to and the same goes for snowboarding. I have no idea what board I’ll be riding this year, maybe the B.O.D, it’s a perfect board for me…

Tell us a bit about the ‘Wasted Talent Crew’ and explain why you’re in it when your talents clearly haven’t been wasted?

Wasted Talent is a skateboard posse comprised of myself and 3 of my closest friends. We’ve grown up together and years back we wanted to start a band and came up with that name. Years later only one of us is melting faces with his axe so there is no band. It was pretty much something to write on our boards and the odd wall when pissed. Recently we did a small order of WT skateboards just to have for ourselves and give away to righteous deserving schralpers. It’s a greasy long haired skeleton sitting on the toilet reading a newspaper with all our names in the headlines.

Do you have a website where our readers can see more of your work? Do you sell prints or do we have to buy a snowboard if we want your work on our wall?

I definitely sell prints. To inquire you can contact me through either of the referenced websites.

Have you got an advice for any aspiring artists, producing some hot designs and looking for a break?

Keep at it, and don’t try and finish anything without asking for feedback. Sometimes you have to stick your neck out and take a risk to get your work out there.


Finally; Banksy…....genius and innovator or irony and sell-out?

Innovator of Irony.


Thanks Rory have a great season.

Proud of that one then? Ninjas, sleds and wolves, what more could a man want in a graphic? Kale Stephens late release.

Posted by Rich Ewbank in Features.

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What colour is powder?

Big Shug on November 09, 2009  at  09:03 PM

The Roots is definitely a stand-out design for this years designs. Looking forward to seeing more of your collaborations with Endeavor Mr Doyle.

Keep up the good work.

Big Shug


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