James Jarvis, Jon Boam and Marcus Oakley illustrate decks for new South London skate company Blast Skates.

James Jarvis, Jon Boam and Marcus Oakley illustrate decks for new South London skate company Blast Skates.

Blast is a fun new London skate company by illustrator and Stockwell skatepark local Matthew Bromley.

With his new ‘Chronological Board Series’, Bromley picks an important point in history to be illustrated by his favourite artists. The first theme is dinosaurs and rad doodlers Marcus Oakley, Jon Boam and James Jarvis have taken up the deck-decorating challenge.

The series launches this Thursday at the Hoxton Gallery, London, with a specially created zine by Kyle Platts and some other fun Jurassic-themed surprises.

We caught up with Bromley to find out more.

Why did you start Blast Skates?
The seed was planted about three years ago now, I just moved to London and I was freelancing my illustration, in that time I was working on some great little jobs but always wanted to do skateboard graphics but my illustration didn’t seem to fit into any of the brands I liked. there’s also that whole it’s not what you know it’s who you know sorta thing – like in any industry or angle in life. So I guess the reason what I started it was, no one else is gonna give you the opportunity, do it yourself!

What’s the skate scene like in London?
I can’t answer that question for the whole of London, I live in South London and Stockwell is my local. There’s a different vibe in each park or area, I know I’m being biased but Stockwell skatepark has the most welcoming relaxed vibe going. I do skate street at night which is so much fun when you’ve got a good crew. I didn’t grow up in London so again I can’t say, but growing up in a a small village I think gave me a really interesting perspective to look at skateboarding in London from videos and mags it seemed like a lot of fun!

Did you want to add something new?
Of course! Not just another logo board at first, ha, but you have to establish some form of brand and identity. The whole plan and agenda is still massively in its embryo stage. Coming from an illustration background I was seeing so much amazing artwork and
illustration and thinking to myself, ‘Wow! They would do an amazing graphic but the skateboard companies will just play the safe card and produce the standard Popsicle shape with the artists everyone knows and likes.’

Who else is involved in Blast?
Design side of things it’s all myself, I drew the logo and stuff, obviously this CS1 involves the artists: Jon Boam, Marcus Oakley, James Jarvis and Kyle Platts. I have long chats with very close and good friends who feed me their input and thoughts which I’m very grateful for! I guess you could say there’s a crew/mates/collective and Blast Skates will be exploring some fun projects with certain individuals. As for a ‘team’ or ‘riders’ I don’t like the idea of owning anyone, although I understand putting a name to a product or company helps sell stuff and strengthens an identity. Hey, I dunno, let’s just have some fun!

What have been the challenges in bringing it to life?
Money. Time. Impatience.

Were there any inspirations?
Seeing boring crap on boards and people still buying it!

Can you tell us about the Chronological Board Series?
People buy screen-printed posters or artwork for £50 – £70 to a couple of hundred pounds and that’s just on a sheet of paper! So I thought why not put that screenprint onto a beautifully custom handmade shaped board all made in England? These boards are very special and very limited, once they are gone, that’s it. No more re-runs. I’m so happy with all the artwork and so grateful that the artists involved trusted me and gave me the chance to work with them.

How did you choose the artists/why did you want to collaborate with those people?
It’s just being über fans of their work really. I’d gotten to know them a little through doing my personal illustration work and after talks I think they could see how serious I was about making this happen and not just a pipe dream, I can’t thank them enough for supporting the idea.

Can you describe one of your favourite designs in the collection?
They are all my favourites!!!

What are your plans for the future of Blast?
To have a blast I guess!

Come down to the Blast show on Thursday at Hoxton Gallery and keep up with Blast happenings on the website.