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That's right, the 2012 line is here. ...and just in time for Spring!

  • Artist Profiles
  • The Comet Takeover  (go)
  • Comet Ranks in Top 5  (go)
  • Comet Screen Printing  (go)
  • ...the Revolution  (go)

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Happy Spring,
The Comet Team
Artist Profiles
Kaya Donaj-Keys and Arlo Chapple are the artists behind the 2012 line.  Both are Comet employees who buck the traditional concepts of space and being.  Instead, they seem to channel a different universe or dimension where strange creatures ride crystals and speak in shapes.  

Arlo has been with Comet since Comet moved to Ithaca four years ago and has worked in every aspect of skateboard manufacturing.  Kaya joined up with Comet a couple years back to help dial in our graphics process.  If you've been checking out our boards over the last few years, you can see the advances, no doubt.  As both artist and graphics director, Kaya worked double time for this 2012 graphics launch. 
Arlo Chapple

Artistic Approach
In my work I attempt to embody the notion that creation is amusing and enriching for not only the creator, but the viewer.  I don't see anything inherently special in the role of artist/designer, as the creatures and chimeras of my work are hopefully recognizable as being plucked from the collective imagination (don't we all have a soft spot for four-armed bear mutants?).  The yin yang is oddity and simplicity, together in harmony. Typically, my work involves traditional surreal cartoon and illustrative elements, ideally without the traditional capitalistic/regimented notions of what our imagined worlds should be.  Drawing for me is like meditation... with creatures.

Comet Graphics
Given that it is 2012 and all, a year of so much apocalyptic and revolutionary hubbub, I wanted to make some characters that were would be at home on a spacecraft, at the base of a mayan pyramid, or on a gnarly skateboard.  I wanted them to look powerful but keen-witted, ready to mutate if the situation calls for it, like any good skateboarder.

Essentially, it goes like this:  I draw as much of the graphics as possible in actual size, on paper.  I start with a pencil sketch, getting everything looking how I want it, and then use a marker with the appropriate line density to ink it all.  Although I did some details in the line work on the computer using a tablet, I much prefer the meatspace paper approach, because it allows you to better visualize the final result in reference to actual board size.  After inking, I scan or high-def photo the large drawing, and get it in photoshop as just lines, so I can color it and add details as needed.  Once it's colored and orderly, it's master Kaya's ballgame.

As a child growing up in upstate NY, I was exposed from a very early age to drawing and the arts.  I read comics, drew comics, and generally soaked my brain in all sorts of linear representations of the world, from Crumb, to Escher, to Kricfalusi.  I attended the University of Rochester, where I continued my interest in illustrated narrative, studying English and Studio Art.  Following my completion of my BA, I began working at Comet, where I continued my mutant renderings, albeit more so on wood than on paper.  Lately, I've been animating my drawings, and am excited to do more of that.  You can catch my work at Mutant Moments or my Art Album in Facebook.
Kaya Donaj-Keys

Artistic Approach
What I'm offering is a loosely assembled collage of the inner workings of my mind, imagination, doodling, and so much good coffee. It's all a rambling pen and ink conversation with paper.  Art for the 2012 line sprouts from sketch pad doodlings of chaotic revealing content.  The conversation unfolds for the viewer as the lines unfolded for the creator.  It's an experience.  A ride on a 68 degree day with the sunny smell of fresh grass.  Surreal and imaginative daydreams that a pen once had.

Comet Graphics
My goal was to refine the ink cosmos that the current Comet creatures occupy.  I feel the cosmic dimensions that that the art has stumbled upon acts as a bridge, bringing riders through to the other side with a board under foot.  Keeping in line with the creatures of Comet lore I looked to other dimensions for life and allowed line to act upon those findings.

I like creating as much as possible in an organic sense, using pen and ink.  The computer is a tool that I use to translate and jettison those drawings into the world but the origin comes from the real world.  Hand drawn art has a different feel than purely computer generated art.  It's important that the line has soul.   When applying the art to our skateboards, I Like around 94% clear extender with a sharp squeegee, water spray bottle for misting, a 160-200 mesh and 'Fresh Roots Radio' on the stereo. I keep it malleable and fresh.  No board is alike.  I love our ink studio with water-based inks that clean up quickly, have no harsh chemicals, and use pigments that are rated safe even amongst tender infants.  Can a print maker ask for more?

I grew up in a creative environment that included linoleum and woodblock cuts, printmaking, and the Southern Vermont Arts Exchange.  I attended Alfred University graduating in 2002 with a BAFA concentrated in Electronic Arts. I then worked in kitchens for cash and took a hiatus from art to chef for almost a decade.  After doing a freelance design gig for gimme coffee I met the screenprinter, asked if he needed help, and got into the trade.  That was years ago now!  If you ever visit Ithaca, I recommend that you visit the Shop Cafe for the best cup of coffee in a couple hundred mile radius, which in a town full of Gimme Coffee is pretty impressive.


The Comet Takeover
If you've visited our store today, you might have noticed a new addition to our lineup.  Those who've been following us closely will recognize the shape.

It now has a name...
the Takeover. The creation of this skateboard shape began back in 2010 and evolved through collarations and ongoing feedback from several Comet team riders.  Get the backstory on the Comet blog.  Look to the next newsletter for Takeover video and rider review.

Comet Ranks in Top 5
Each year, leading skateboard magazine, Concrete Wave, conducts a readers poll on top brands across a variety of skateboard-related categories.  We were stoked to open up this year's issue to find Comet ranked in the top 5 in three big categories:
  • 3rd Favorite Skateboard Company for Downhill
  • 4th Favorite Skateboard Company for Freeriding
  • 5th Favorite Skateboard Company for Sliding
To us, this simply means that you all rock.  If you are reading this, then you are part of the community that follows us and shares the positive vibes.  We'd like to put out a huge THANK YOU out to all of you.  Please pass on the good news.


The Fine Art of Screen Printing
In the same Concrete Wave issue, Comet president Jason Salfi authored a short article on screen printing.  He covers its history and current evolution and then compares this process against modern alternatives in their impact on our environment and health.  Jason's article concludes with an interview of Arlo and Kaya on their experience in this process.  Here's the first paragraph plus a link to read the rest online.  Follow the link and scroll to page 42.

Imagine you are sitting in a skateboard shop.  You see hundreds of brightly colored boards on the wall.  Some boards are intense.  Some are decorated with a simple logo.  Some smell funny.  There are many ways in which a board gets its graphics.  Here is a bit of past, present and future about screen printing from Comet Skateboards.

...the Revolution
A revolution is on the horizon.  You are on the front line.  You can feel it in your blood.  Times are changing.  You will see it all unfold in the next three newsletters.

Forward this to friends and foe.  

Let the revolution begin.

Bob and the Comet Crew

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Comet Skateboards
126-B The Commons
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 233-4910

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