Will Correa’s Art Captures a Unique Angle in Skating
Two things have always been the driving forces of Houston artist Will Correa’s life: skateboarding and art. He picked up both around the age of nine, devoting himself throughout his teens until the burdens of real life got in the way. Then, three years ago, as a more established man, he picked up both and has started running with skateboard imagery in a humble but exciting way.
“I just felt there was a void in my life,” Correa says. “I felt like there was a piece missing and I wanted to find it.”
What inspires him is how skaters are captured by sports photographers. Such shots are usually the genesis of a new piece.
He starts off by hand-drawing a skater, then scanning it into his computer to do coloring and other work in Photoshop and Illustrator.
“It’s not very often somebody that’s getting an air ten feet out of a bowl has their picture taken,” says Correa. “It’s amazing. It’s beyond any other sport I’ve ever watched. I also like catching skaters exploring new places. So many more places are skateable than people think, and it’s awesome to capture someone tackling that. I think skaters just look at the world differently from anyone else.”
Skateboard art is usually very pop x punk: colorful, bold, and edgy. A mix of sketches and digital rendering, Correa’s art resembles a video game.
“I look through thousands of images to find one that really grabs me,” says Correa. “You can tell the ones that go big, or you can see when they’ve created a new trick and are nailing it for the first time. You can see it on their faces.”
Much of his work is a love letter to skateboarding from his youth in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Nearly all of his pieces are specifically dedicated to an actual skater. For example, pioneering skater and musician Mike Vallely is one of his favorite subjects, as is streetboarding trailblazer Mark Gonzales. Like Correa, these sportsmen are still around and contributing to skateboarding into their forties, something that moves Correa deeply.
“Skateboarding is more of a brotherhood than, I think, any other industry,” Correa says. “All those guys are still around. A lot of them own companies that contribute to the industry. It’s come a long way.”
That sense of brotherhood is more of a motivator for Correa than the money. He doesn’t show in galleries, though he will do the occasional commission—which he immediately spends on art supplies.
Instead, he embarks on what could really be called one of the most dedicated and successful fan-art campaigns around. After he finds his image and does his magic, he simply tags the skater and photographer in the finished product through social media. He makes no attempt to sell it or cash in on it, but focuses exclusively on celebrating the moment he’s enhanced for the betterment of skateboarding culture.
“That way they know I do it for the respect of the player and the trick,” says Correa.
Images: Will Correa