Tastemakers 2009 Geoff McFetridge
by Jonathan Schultz / produced by Mayer Rus / portrait by Scott Council
Think of McFetridge as a goodwill ambassador for skate culture. From Champion Graphics, his Atwater Village–based studio, the CalArts grad applies the aesthetics of his demimonde to feature films, home decor, even billboards for hegemonic soft drinks. Most remarkable about his style, which favors softly contoured animalistic characters and line-drawn, Sgt. Pepper’s– reminiscent figures, is how well suited it is to clients of every ilk. Champion does the “Live Simply” T-shirt series for Patagonia, a project that might have spiraled into “Life Is Good” pabulum if not for McFetridge’s minimal, winking illustrations. This followed a limited run of lunch boxes for skate-fashion arbiter Stussy, which were immediately snatched up and hawked on eBay.
Collaboration is central to McFetridge’s enterprise. At Pottok Prints, he and his wife, Sarah DeVincentis, design hand-silkscreened wallpapers. With partner Yong-Ki Chang, he crafts skateboards and apparel under the Solitary Arts name. He’s also a card-carrying member of the Director’s Bureau, a loose collective of music-video, commercial and feature directors that includes Sofia Coppola (he animated the intro to The Virgin Suicides). Projects of such unimpeachable cool might not, at first blush, harmonize with Champion’s ads for EmblemHealth and Pepsi One. But therein lies McFetridge’s cultural currency as well as his cred—street or otherwise.