Todd Bratrud is a Minnesota native but currently lives & works in Grand Forks, North Dakota. His art is some of the most revered in skateboard history - his extremely detailed imagery with playful content is identifiable across skateboarding and beyond.
Bratrud has worked with many companies from Consolidated Skateboards, Nike, Volcom, Creature Skateboards, The Hundreds, to regional skate shops (THIS & Familia), Burlesque of North America, and is co-owner of Send Help Skateboards.
Being from the upper midwest and dealing with the changing of seasons, does your work/productivity change with the seasons?
i for sure work less in the spring and fall, then stay in the studio through the hot parts of summer and the cold of winter. i plan for it even, knowing there will be months of time where i won't really be outside or thinking about skateboarding at all.
Your graphics are everywhere in the skateboard industry, but you seem to always find time to contribute to more “direct” causes, like the LB project, Hawks Nest fundraiser, graphics for THIS - How do you balance projects that pay industry $$ and projects for the “cause”?
i don't really know, i just try fill every moment I'm awake trying to do stuff like this. paid or not i stay busy with things that I'm into or believe in so that the gratification can in-part be the payment if there is no money available.
Besides drawing constantly, do you play hockey during the frozen months? Growing up, I always use to draw on my hockey sticks and spend way too much time on the tape-job - do you make make create your own Bratrud sticks?
i play a little, not much... just for fun with the nephews, usually on a lake and not in a rink. I've for sure painted a few sticks and made hockey related art with the nephews as well. hockey is everywhere up here!
Both your parents were artists and you grew up around art - were there/is there any artists that you to look for inspiration?
i look to what my friends are doing most of the time, or just reflect back to the stuff that inspired me as a youth... thrasher magazine, pinball games, GI JOE package artwork, stuff like that.
Mike Davis is apart of this year’s Plys (so stoked) and Burlesque continues to pump out amazing prints and colabs - Can you talk about your involvement with the starting up of Burlesque of North America.
i wasn't super involved, just kinda of was hanging around all those BRLSQ people at the time, we were all making a magazine and it just kinda of transitioned into print making and doing work for people outside our little group. the natural progression was to do more and bigger projects and eventually needed to become something official.
Have you seen any clowns in the North Dakota cornfields?
I'm pretty sure i have…
Thanks again Todd! You can see his new board for Plys With Purpose on November 18th.