This past winter, we got together with the longest pro rider of the Signal family, Jake OE, and brought his passion project Fooj to life. This limited run of boards are special because he had a hand in designing from start to finish. We dropped in for a chat with our Art Director, Mitch Delaney, to see what he had to say about the process, and learn a little bit more about how a board comes to life.
When did you guys start working on this project?
In the summer of 2016 Jake texted me saying “Hey bud! I’m taking a road trip down to SoCal, no plan just gunna come hang.” A few weeks later, he pulled up in his Dakota with a camper shell, flip flops, sweatpants and a big grin. It had been a while since we all had seen Jake, since he had been pursuing a career as a finishing carpenter in Minnesota while lapping Buck Hill in his spare time.
How did Jake share his artwork with you?
One of best parts about Jake is that his passion for drawing shows the minute he sits down anywhere. He is constantly scrounging for any medium and receivable surface to begin doodling. Underneath the wooden frame sleeping area he built in his truck, he has two large drawers filled with tools and piles of scraps of wood from job sites. Those scraps are painted with what he calls Fooj Faces, which are representations of friends, family and strangers in his own loose way.
When did it go from scraps of wood to building a snowboard?
We started catching up and talking about his artwork, when the conversation turned to illustrator. I sent him a top sheet template to practice on and he became a determined student. I showed him my process of bringing artwork from page to screen and how to prep it for print. He took the directions and ran with them making 20 different graphics that week, random and weird, funny and raw.
So you had top sheet ideas, what was next?
We emailed Dave Lee with our ideas, and he was down. With Jake getting busier with life post snowboarding it was a no brainer to give our longest pro rider his own project within Signal. We finalized the graphics and built a prototype.
Is that prototype the board we see today?
No, we actually completely re worked the first graphic. Jake was worried the white nose would mess with his head while riding street, so he started over; drawing more faces, more color pallets, more comps. His 1817 sweatshirt finally sparked the idea for the final product. Why not stick to colors people already associate him with? Black green and white seemed like the most obvious answer.
What did you do to tie everything together?
Once we had a color scheme, it was pretty simple. He wanted a really basic base, with Fooj written, in bold green and white. We decided on our favorite Fooj face, and it looked best on black with a simple word mark below it. His previous boards have all been printed with matte material so we kept that consistent.
To add a final touch, we used a matte material printing gloss black on black that created subtle but radical dimension on the top sheet. We collaged the Fooj eyes in a column in the nose and tail to be printed in gloss. When Jake finally said “Wow” I knew we had accomplished his goal.
Stoked on Fooj? Drop in on one today, there aren't many left!