My fourth installment for Slambase is skater/artist/businessman Michael Leon.
About Michael Leon
Michael Leon is the kind of creative guy you want to hang around just in the off chance his abilities rub off on you. Born in 1974 in Tampa, Florida and educated at CalArts in Valencia, CA, he is an artist, a designer and a skater, and this triad works in combination for everything he does. He has exhibited extensively over the past two decades, designs for a few lines and worked as the Art Director at Nike for a few years in the second half of the last decade. He collaborated on the SB, Tech Pack, and 6.0 lines and helped with some pieces for the ’08 Olympics in Beijing.
Before he started at Nike, Michael founded Commonwealth Stacks, a company that continues to this day. Established in 2000 and operating out of the second bedroom in his apartment on Commonwealth Ave. in Los Angeles, Stacks was Leon’s outlet to produce t-shirts that could be used as conversation pieces and as a “platform for simple, thoughtful design”. Sure enough, Leon has stayed true to his idea and his t-shirts are everything he wanted them to be: simple, interesting and thought-provoking.
Leon is probably most famous for his “skull wearing sunglasses” artwork, which has been re-released multiple times in different sculptured forms and is know as the Gypsum Skull. In late 2009, Michael and two of his friends, Kevin Lyons and Geoff McFetridge, co-hosted an exhibition at HVW8 Gallery in Los Angeles, displaying the artists’ extensive bodies of work.
Most recently, Leon’s Stacks underwent a transformation when it was announced the brand would enter the new decade primarily as a skateboarding company. Its first drop was a set of three skateboard decks all featuring the same logo (‘Stacks’ in a neat font and a V-shaped bird tucked in the top left-hand corner) in different colours and some apparel featuring the same logo.
Stay up-to-date with Leon on his blog: http://arkitipintel.com/reporters/michael/