When he’s not busy working his graphic-design job, spending time with his family or partaking in myriad other activities, skateboarder Judd Hertzler makes art. But making art doesn’t necessarily mean making time to show it. Thankfully, that’s changing this September with his new exhibition Unravel in Time. Hertzler’s work will be on view at Bows & Arrows.
I did a little Googling and discovered you used to be a skateboarder.
Yeah, I used to be a professional skateboarder. For about 10 years.
How has skateboarding influenced you as an artist?
In skateboarding, you meet such a wide variety of people. It’s exposed me to different artists that maybe I wouldn’t know. Also, being able to travel; say, if I go to Paris for a skateboard demo, I would go to the art museum, too. It’s definitely exposed me to a lot of different cultures, a lot of different artists, a lot of different people. Plus, you can’t skateboard all the time. You always have downtime, so I’d use art as my downtime.
Would you carry a sketchbook around with you?
Yeah, I was a sketchbook junkie.
Your book, A Moment to Reflect: The Art & Times of Judd Hertzler, seems like a scrapbook of sorts.
Yeah, that’s like the last 10 years. People would always see my sketchbooks and be like, “This is awesome! You should really do something with this!” And I finally had a time in my life where I could scan things and put it all together. I combined the more recent art stuff with the old sketchbooks to make it more cohesive.
How did you get into art?
In school it was the only thing I really gravitated toward. I was really good at math, but I knew I didn’t want to be a mathematician. I wanted to put my personal stamp on something. My skateboard friends and I really gravitated toward just doing art—not so much having shows, but just making art that we thought was fun.
Have you been able to find a living as an artist?
I’m an art director for Capitol Weekly Group, which is Capitol Weekly Newspaper and Midtown Monthly. So I do all the layout, graphic design. That’s my living, so I guess I have been able to make a living!
I love when artists are able to do that.
Initially, I would’ve loved to have been a fine artist, but it seemed like too much of a hustle. Skateboarding was such a hustle for me. I got really tired of, “Pay me. I’m worth it.” I’m not very good at that stuff. It wears you down.
Your art often incorporates text along with images. What inspires you?
I’m a pretty closed-off person, so I think that’s more of a documentation on society that I don’t get to share in normal dialogue. I use the opportunity to comment on life and give insight to who I am, my thoughts, my beliefs. I love working with music in the background, maybe incorporating some of the lyrics. Or the TV on. Or [putting] humor into it. Or just witty stuff. I always liked commenting on society through artwork. So it seemed a natural projection.
Tell me about your upcoming art show.
It’s with Ryan De La Hoz from San Francisco. Trisha [Rhomberg] from Bows & Arrows approached me, because five or six years ago, I used to do more artwork, but I’d kind of been out of the loop. Given the opportunity with the new space, I thought it was a great chance to do some art because I knew my peers would be into it and it would be seen by a collective of people I respect.
Is there a theme?
Ryan’s part is called I Saw My Future, and mine’s Unravel in Time. Mine’s about how you don’t really pick life, life picks you. You can make choices in your life. You can direct your life in a certain way, but I feel like my life has just kind of unraveled in time. This is an expansion or dialogue of that.
How would you describe your art to someone who’s never seen it before?
Mixed-media pop art. I really love silk screening. I love digital printouts. But I also love putting it all together and making sense of it. I love painting still. I love traditional acrylic painting. So mixed media really plays well for me, especially coming from a graphic-design background.
You’ve been in hibernation for a while. Are you going to be more active about getting shows? Maybe hustle a little more?
I’d like to. I’ll always do art for myself, and I’ll always draw when I have time. And I’ll always be engaged in art somehow, whether through graphic design or silk screening or something. I’d like to put myself more out there and see what happens.