I’m sure you’ve noticed if you’d been checking in on us here at Looking Sideways recently, we recently arrived at the culmination of the ‘Eyes’ art / snowboard project that began in March last year as part of the exhibition we hosted at the Wängl Tängl in Mayrhofen, Austria. The plan was for the final artwork created during the show by LS artist Owen Tozer to be turned into graphics for a very ltd. edition of snowboards, and right from the start we had a snowboard company in mind to collaborate with on the project, one that was dedicated to art and design, made great boards, and had the ability and passion to work on a unique project like this.
Endeavor Snowboard Design have been committed to art, and artist collaborations, as an integral part of their brand and board design process since they began in Vancouver, Canada, 10 years ago. Working with the likes of Marok, Mr. Jago, Meggs, Jeff Hamada…they develop the look of each model in their line of boards in collaboration with the artist. This commitment to the aesthetics of snowboard design obviously attracted us to them, but that’s not all – it’s all well and good making great looking boards, but they need to be well designed / made, and ride great too; Endeavor have numerous coveted ‘Transworld Good Wood’ awards under their belt, and having ridden their boards ourselves, we were sure of this aspect too.
With the opening of their new headquarters in the Gastown district of Vancouver last year, which includes their office, showroom, photographic studio (renowned photographer Scott Serfas, is part owner/founder of Endeavor) and R&D facility the ‘Archetype Lab’ Endeavor also importantly had the ability to hand make snowboards in-house. Of the ‘Archetype Lab’ Endeavor say “Our focus is primarily on research and development, creating different prototypes which will translate into future product lines. However, limited edition runs of products will be produced out of the Vancouver, Canada facility. Collaborations with other brands and a new series called Archetype will be introduced and sold exclusively online.” And so it was here that Endeavor board design guru Jason Broz hand made the 10 unique Looking Sideways X Vans X Endeavor Snowboards – see our film of the project for some details of the process.
Endeavor co-owner and founder Max Jenke sat down with us to talk about the brand, snowboard design and art:
Q: Endeavor have always stood out as a strongly independent company and always had a strong creative design ethic or art direction, from the stylised ad campaigns and photos used for catalogues to the use of and promotion of art and artists for board graphics – obviously this is important to define a brand, and sell product, but why is this so important to you?
A: “I’ve always been interested in creative direction and design and I found quickly that I preferred directing talented artists rather than actually doing it (my skills aren’t as good, nor am I patient enough). When I was riding professionally, I always worked with the brands to create ads, etc. and when we had the opportunity to start Endeavor, it was pretty much the main reason we started it – to create a brand that represented us and our love of design.”
Q: As well as the fact that you make great boards, i’ve ridden many and know you’ve won numerous awards such as Transworlds ‘Good Wood’, the main reason we (Looking Sideways) wanted to work with you was your commitment to bringing art to snowboards, of collaborating with artists to create graphics. We see a definite connection between the creativity of skating, snowboarding, surfing and what you might call more traditional artistic outlets, be they art, photography, music, film, design, fashion etc…how do you see this/these connections?
A: “I think all of these are tied to personal expression and the freedom making art or participating in these sports give you. Taking a fresh line down a mountain, skating an empty bowl, or catching a perfect wave give you a rush, and how you take your line is essentially a work of art. Watching Devun Walsh snowboard is like watching a master paint – i get the same amount of satisfaction and I think as cheezy as it sounds, he is an artist in what he does.”