I try really hard to not just focus on the scene in Barcelona despite it being my bread and butter. I love to share art from wherever I have been on my travels and I also try and bring some attention to some other scenes that might fly under the radar. I’m Scottish, from Aberdeen specifically as some of you might know so if the chance presents itself I like to share some info about artists or projects in my hometown.
One such project caught my eye on Instagram recently and that’s a collaboration between an artist who goes by the name of Honk and local skateboarding company, Doric Skateboards. I’ve been following Honk’s career for a while now and I’m a huge fan of his unique character design. I especially like his hip hop inspired work… stickers coming soon FYI!!
I also came across the works of Doric Skateboards last year through Justin’s page with their pop bottle boards that really brought me back to my youth in Aberdeen. If you didn´t get your fizzy pop delivered you´ve never lived!
So to celebrate the release of these limited edition skateboards, I decided to chat to Justin about the collaboration and his career in general. Also, he speaks very Scottish so if you need anything translated, hit me up!
Hi Honk how are you? Tell us a little about yourself…
All good in the hood manny! So my name is Justin & I hail from Aberdeen which can be found on the north east coast of bonny Scotland. I’m a husband, father, son, brother &grandson, southpaw, ginger, bearded, a simple creature basically who enjoys simple things, music, art, trainers, clothes, sleeping (although don’t get much of that with the boys)
My handle is Honk which comes from a nickname I got 15yrs ago when I was in new Zealand honky (due to wearing trucker hats, checked shirts) this has stuck with me ever since.
I got my higher in art whilst I attended Northfield academy (the only subject I really enjoyed) and after that went into hibernation.
How long have you been doodling/painting for?
I work in the oil & gas industry 6 months of the year in Ghana and it’s because of this I revisited something I loved doing through my early yrs……drawing. Only over the last 4yrs or so I started back doing art of some form. Slowly but surely finding a style which will hopefully define what will be instantly recognised as me, myself and mine. Now I try & do it on a daily basis to keep me sane.
I try doing different mediums but struggle with the age old problem of confidence…. I mostly do digital art now on my ipad pro but have done paintings on vinyl, stones, canvas, skateboards, murals (victoriart project), doors (painted doors Aberdeen), on friend’s walls etc.
What’s the inspiration behind your various characters? An eclectic mix of things I imagine!Is art a full time job for you?
Inspiration come from everyday life, things I see in general,people I meet/ I’ve met, passing memories, pop culture, Aberdeen, Scotland, stories I’ve heard ooohhhhh n beards, a lot of beards etc etc. As mentioned art isn’t a full time job (would love it to be) for my sins I work in the oil & gas sector overseas.
You have just released a collab with Local skateboard brand Doric Skateboards. How did the chance to collaborate come about?
I knew Gary already due to us having collaborating previously (I believe it was the first of many colabs Doric has done since) Small world as we both grew up a stone’s throw from each other, went to same school, knew the same people but never really knew of each other. I know regard him as a friend and well the rest is history.
Tell us a little bit about the designs you came up with for this project.
So the colab thing with Doric skateboards came about when I looked at a picture of the William Wallace statue in Aberdeen and got inspired. I had an old sketch of a dude on a skateboard, just sitting doing nothing which I decided to transform into William Wallace riding into battle on a skateboard (this idea was not specifically for a Doric colab). I then posted it on my Instagram @honk79 and Gary (heid bummer of Doric skateboards) reposted it on the @doricskateboards Instagram page. When he did this it got quite a big response so he reached out to me & said ‘LET’S GET THIS ON A SKATEBOARD’ so we got together and did exactly that…… Really pleased how it’s panned out and the feedback has been very much positive & appreciated.
How was it collaborating with Doric? Is this your first collab on something of this nature?
It was an easy process if I’m honest, I had the idea drawn already, Gary digged it so BOOM went the dynamite. We were actually looking to collaborate again throwing ideas around but this then became priority. As mentioned we collaborated a couple of yrs ago on a deck &tees. Since then I haven’t really collaborated with anyone else really, I would like to of course (COUGH, COUGH, PLUG, PLUG) but just finding that common ground or someone to reach out and also for me to pull my finger out and get the confidence to do them.
I did collaborate with SNEAKERS ER (trainer/shoe/sneaker cleaner) a few years back, Al & Rob (owners/creators) reached out to do some character designs so they could put on postcards & send out with packs etc, that was a major thing for me at that time. Since then they have went on to near world domination (due to my illustrations of course & not due to the outstanding product they have) couldn’t have went any better.
I’ve did posters/designs for local companies like MELT, Brewtoon, got asked by the SNEAKERS ER guys to do some live drawing at Scotland’s biggest trainer convention SOLEBLOC (a very humbling experience as met some really lovely people who influence things in the industry) & some others on Instagram but not on a mass scale.
Do you have any crazy ideas/projects that you’d love to do one day?
I’d love to do a vinyl figure of one of my characters. This has been an ambition of mine for a few years now. Just getting the time & know how to do it holding me back. I’ve played around with super sculpey but that needs practice. I’d love to do a label for a craft beer (came close once but was not to be). I would also like to collaborate with some of the Aberdeen illustrators at some point & see what we could come up with. Also a big sneaker head so to have something with Adidas etc would make my day, month, year and life.
What do you like to do with your non-painting time?
My non painting time is divided solely between being a husband to 1 wife, father to 2 mad boys & working in Ghana. I play football on a Sunday, enjoy having a beer or 2, eating food and watching good TV.
What’s the ideal soundtrack to a day’s creating?
I will listen to mostly anything if I’m honest but 9 out of 10 times it’ll be rap music of some sort. You may have guessed this due to a bulk of my illustrations nodding to it. Anything produced by Madlib, J Dilla, Wu-tang, Edan and Alchemist is a no brainer. I also really enjoy orchestrated music/soundtracks especially by Hans Zimmer, Nick Cave/Warren Ellis, Johan Johannsson, Jon Hopkins etc.
Huge fan of Jon Hopkins work! If you could have one super power for the day what would you choose?!
OOFFFFT…. Erm invisibility or teleportation would be top of the list….. if I had to choose one probably invisibility.
What’s next for Honk?
A 4 week trip to a drill ship in Ghana, this interview (thank you by the way) After that who knows what will come up. I just each day as it comes, hopefully something comes up in terms of art but we’ll see! At the moment I have an exhibition on at PARX CAFÉ in Aberdeen so this is a big deal 1st time I’ve done something like this. I believe it has been successful so far so aaaaallllllll good, nice exposure for me to people who don’t even know I exist, this is all I can ask for. HONK OOT!