American Art Collector - - Contents - Mike Kershnar (510) 517-3728 • mikek­er­sh­nar@gmail.com • www.mikek­er­sh­nar.com MIKE KERSHNAR

Na­ture’s Drama

Grow­ing up in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Mike Kershnar dis­tinctly re­mem­bers the very first time he saw a skate­board.

“I was in sec­ond grade,” says Kershnar, “and there was this kid skate­board­ing down the side­walk and it seemed like he was fly­ing. Not like a la­bored rid­ing of a bi­cy­cle but lit­er­ally glid­ing to­ward me. He showed me his board and the en­tire thing was a mon­ster face. It was a Rob Roskopp drawn by Jim Phillips. It looked like the whole board it­self was alive. And that is what pulled me in, even at that young age.”

Since that day, Kershnar has al­ways con­nected art with skate­board­ing, an as­so­ci­a­tion that has seen him over the years cre­ate T-shirts and wall mu­rals for Thrasher Mag­a­zine, skate­board graph­ics for com­pa­nies such as Toy Ma­chine, Baker, El­e­ment and other projects for Obey and Vol­com. These cur­rent works were on ex­hibit at the Hand­plant Skateshop in La­guna Beach, Cal­i­for­nia.

“My he­roes are peo­ple like Ed Tem­ple­ton and Mark Gonzales,” says Kershnar. “Peo­ple who left in the morn­ing to skate and had a film cam­era, mark­ers in their pock­ets and stick­ers they made. There was no separation be­tween art and skate­board­ing. It was all the same. The first time I walked into a skate­board shop I saw all those hand pulled, brightly col­ored silk screens and I was hooked.”

It was ac­tu­ally Tem­ple­ton who gave Kershnar his first big break in the art and skate­board­ing world. Kershnar was asked to paint a mu­ral at the Et­nies Goofy vs. Reg­u­lar skate­board com­pe­ti­tion. As it turns out, Tem­ple­ton was paint­ing right next to him. Later, the two met and Tem­ple­ton asked Kershnar to cre­ate a se­ries of graph­ics for his Toy Ma­chine brand.

Kershnar has al­ways had an affin­ity for the nat­u­ral world. He feels that his work points peo­ple to­ward na­ture and to take in what it of­fers. How­ever, while his paint­ings are of an­i­mals, it’s not the touchy-feely kind. Kershnar likes to de­pict what he calls the drama of na­ture; some­times it fa­vors the prey and some­times the predator. His coy­ote has a small mouse hang­ing from its mouth. In an­other, an owl is shown with its prey.

“I al­ways wanted to draw an­i­mals but I didn’t want to go for that soft­core ap­proach,” says Kershnar. “I wanted the drama, a bat catch­ing a cen­tipede, an osprey with a fish, a fox chas­ing a mouse. Real things that ex­ist in na­ture. I be­lieve there is a cer­tain drama in na­ture that can en­roll ev­ery­one to ap­pre­ci­ate this kind of art.”

With all of his suc­cess in the world of skate­board graph­ics and such, Kershnar is now mak­ing the tran­si­tion to fine art and his next goal is to take on the gallery world. “I would love to find a gallery to show­case my work,” says Kershnar. “I’ve done mu­rals, graf­fiti, skate­board graph­ics, T-shirts, mu­sic posters. And now this is what I want to ac­com­plish next.”



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