The idea is simple, collaborate with a wide range of artists to create an ever-changing range of art-driven skateboards and soft goods. NYC-based Mood makes rad skateboards that are as fit for your wall as they are for your feet. Founded by fellow skaters and designers Calvin Waterman and Grandison Taber—an industry veteran who until recently ran Fountain of Youth skateshop with Donny Barley in Providence, RI—in opposition of the boring logo-centric brands currently dominating skateboarding, Mood is all about creativity. Or as Waterman puts it, rather than always trying to follow a one-dimensional brand identity, Mood was created as "a way to work with people and to think in a way that lets ideas happen. And just do what we think is rad." Sure, what the Mood dudes think are rad may not be for everyone, but that's sort of the point. They're doing it because no one else will. From their minimalist designy board graphics and 5-panel hats to their awesomely bizzare short films, Mood is creating some really unique work that isn't likely to be found elsewhere.
So we know what you're thinking, doing collaborations isn't a new idea, and it definitely isn’t a rare happening in the skate industry. But what makes Mood's artist collaborations different is a sense of honesty—they're not just slapping some B-grade work by a buzzworthy artist on a blank plank and selling it for a fortune. You won't find any "cool by association" collabs with Keith Haring or Damien Hurst at Mood. Rather, Waterman and Tabor work hand in hand with artists they find interesting, regardless of cultural relevance, to either select the perfect piece from a preexisting body of work or commission a new piece to be produced specially for the board. Either way, the resulting graphic is unique, and the result of a genuine collaboration.
Acting as both co-owner and creative director, Waterman usually chooses each artist himself. But a recent partnership with Athens, Greece-based book store and publishing house Ommu led the brand down a different path that resulted in a unique collaboration of a caliber Mood had yet to reach. Originally approached to do a pop-up shop, Waterman shifted the idea towards doing a product together. By creating a deck, both companies could reach a broader audience—Mood to the art types in Athens and Ommu to the skate and design community of NYC. And so, the folks at Ommu connected Waterman with an artist back in Brooklyn, Bill Saylor. To put it plainly, Saylor is kind of a big deal. He recently published a book with his buddy and cult film hero Harmony Korine—of Kids fame—for godsake. No stranger to strangeness, Saylor opened up his studio to Mood and created a unique graphic inspired by a surfboard he had when he was younger, channeling his typically psychedelic style and reoccurring imagery.
And yes, Mood decks are cool as hell, but ultimately they're skateboards, and meant to be treated as such. "Our skateboards are completely designed to be skated," reassures Waterman. East coast heavyweights Chapman produce Mood's entire stock, as well as boards for some of the industry's biggest brands. And to further hammer home the commitment to skating, Mood decks sell for $50, and that's not going to change. "We're never going to go above the price of a standard board, even if what we're trying to do costs more money—which it often does. And we completely accept that because to us, it's a skateboard and that's the single object you have to have."