INTERVIEW WITH U.K. ARTIST/DESIGNER RICH TAYLER

When you buy a magazine as a kid, you don’t think it will be the first step in a long career as an international artist. You may not know the name Rich Tayler but their is a chance you have worn a shirt designed by the U.K. Artist.

BTR: Growing up where you did, the beach wasn’t far  but it also wasn’t close. Lack of rides made getting down to the beach pretty hard. How did you get into surfing?

RT: Yeah it was pretty close to be fair, the draw back is that a lot of the times we get waves the weather is pretty bad so the folks weren’t up for sitting in a cold car on a rainy & windy day whilst one of their kids got his kicks. My local skate shop sold cheap boogie boards so that was my gateway, there was no way a young me could afford an actual surfoard. I just used to paddle it about on beach days but rarely got any waves to start. Then I think i bought a bodyboard mag from the newsagent and that kinda showed me what was possible and I started to go more regularly. Still a kook with little to no knowledge, me and my mates decided to go out on a bigger day at the pier. I caught my first proper wave, and again, didn’t know what to do. So, i went right. Straight towards the pier legs! I ditched my board and tried to swim away but the rip was pulling me back. I eventually got clear and made it out I remember being super freaked out by it haha! After that experience I gave up surfing, and got really into skating.18 years later, I got myself a job at a surf shop in town. My lovely manager ( now my wife) was so kind as to give me one of the old demo surfboards so I could give it a go again. That was 15 years ago now, and I still blame Ness for giving me that board if she mentions me surfing too much haha!

BTR: How and when did you get into art? Has your art always been influenced by surf culture?

RT: I think my first engagement with brands and art that really stood for something I was into was in that bodyboard mag I bought. From then on if I got into anything new the first thing I would do is go buy a mag and find out whats whats what and whos who. I also worked at that same skateshop for years so being surrounded by boards everyday only encouraged my eye for commerciality within design.I once got detention in maths at school for drawing a logo on my book, 20 years later I ended up drawing that logo for a job. I’m still shit at maths.

BTR: Who are some of the brands you have worked with around the globe? Surf and Non-Surf.

RT: So i started off as a designer for a uk surf brand, Animal. This is where i was able to turn an interest & hobby into a real skillset that I am able to use wherever. Other surf brands are Salty Crew & Vissla. Working with these two brands is amazing, proper fan boy moments!
DHB cycling, Maverick Trail running I guess you could say I get a lot of varied work coming through. I really enjoy this as it is very easy to get stuck in “surf world” 🙂

BTR: Back in March you started a project called “People for Surf”. Tell us about the project and how shops can be a part of it. 

RT: I wouldn’t say it was a project as such, I just felt really awful at the way the pandemic hit the surf industry.Seeing everyone from independant  surf shops to household name brands closing their doors and sending staff home. I just wanted to help, the only way I could think was to offer out a graphic for free that anyone could use to make and sell merch in the hope it might put a few quid in their till. 

BTR: Who are your local surf shops and what do they mean to your local surf community?

RT: We’ve got a couple, They both hold competitions / film nights and social events for the local community which are always fun. 

BTR: Any advice for the surf industry?

RT: Don’t be stuck up. If everyone worked together, just think what we could do & how great it could be 🙂

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