Gear Guy


Who Designed My Topsheet?

Some of the graphics on skis and snowboards are really spectacular. Who draws this stuff?

Sep 6, 2012
Outside Magazine
Ailine Liefeld for Freunde von

   Photo: Ailine Liefeld for Freunde von F


Back in the late '90s, I bought a skateboard from the company Antihero, and rode the thing into work every day. The deck had an amazing painting on the bottom, created by artist Chris Johanson, which unfortunately became more and more streaked and rubbed-off over my many commutes. But I liked the design so much I became obsessed with the artists who add the finishing touches to gear design. It turned out that Johanson had exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. When I got married a few years after that, my wife bought me a Johanson piece as a wedding present. This one hung securely on the wall.

My interest was piqued again when I saw Burton’s Custom X snowboard, which came out last month, with images by a painter named Brett Cody Rogers. Even the early technical reviews of the board refer to Roger’s striking topsheet, a rush of black and white brushstrokes around a solid black X.

What led Burton to choose graphics from an artist who usually exhibits oil paintings in international galleries? I did a little research and was surprised by what I found.

Burton's Custom X Snowboard
Brett Cody Rogers' Topsheet

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