It has been 9 years since Michael Paddock walked into the Rome offices and since that day he has been an integral part of the successes of photos, videos, print ads, and board art. He has taken on multiple positions within Rome, such as Staff Photographer, Team Manager, Graphic Designer, Board Art Director, and most importantly the resident Master Chef. However, aside from his skills on the grill, it’s obvious that Paddock’s dedication and passion for his work shows a true love for snowboarding.
If you don’t know who he is then it’s about time you were given an introduction…
When did you join the Syndicate?
Initially I started working with the SDS in the winter of ‘02 as a contract photographer. I was living in June Lake, CA, and spent my time traveling and shooting photos with the team. That following summer I was given the chance to work with my friend Sean on the first Artifact graphic and that next winter I went back to shooting and traveling with the team and the Neoproto crew. Those winters on the road were amazing and the following summer of ‘04 I finally came on as a full-time employee.
What do you do at Rome?
When I first started, I split my year designing in the summer, and traveling and shooting photos during the winter months all over the west. Plus, we needed a Team Manager so I took on that roll as well. ‘05 and ‘06 were some of the best winters I’ve ever had and I was basically living out of my car and board bag. Over the years my role as a designer has evolved, and photography has taken more of a secondary role. As for the past 3 years, I’ve been Art Director of the board category, handling all the graphics from concept to production. I’ve been able to design some boards that I’m super proud of, as well as work with amazingly talented artists.
So you moved away from the heavy action photography of your Neoproto days?
Not completely, I still shoot all the product photos for our catalogs and website and on the rare occasion I’ll get out with the team to shoot some action photos. This year I spent a week with the team in Europe. We stayed at Backyard Austria and got some shots that you can see in the February edition of 12-Months.
(If you’re unfamiliar with Neoproto, you better grab a little background info HERE.)
Before Rome were you aspiring to be a graphic designer?
I went to college for graphic design, but I always had a love for photography that started back in high school. In college, I was able to minor in photography while getting my design degree and I was fortunate enough to get hired at an ad agency outside of Boston before graduating. I didn’t get to shred much that winter and after eight months I was over it. The opportunity to move out to Mammoth presented itself, so I packed up and jumped in a car with the Neefus brothers. We stuffed four dudes in a one bedroom apartment, rode every day and just lived the dream. I spent a lot of time shooting photos that winter, and that’s how I came to meet Josh and Paul here at the SDS. My experience in graphic design is what they needed so it worked out in the end.
As a designer you must constantly be searching for inspiration – what are some things that inspire your work?
That’s a pretty hard thing to pin down. It really comes from anything around me. Jokes and stupid humor are definitely up there. Fishing and good whiskey are too. I’m also really inspired by chefs. Cooking is an insanely creative activity and the knowledge and talent that goes into transforming some random ingredients into a beautiful and delicious meal is incredible. I get just as hyped eating at a good restaurant or when I pull together a good tasting (and looking) meal as I do riding a board I designed. Cooking is definitely the most creative thing I do outside of Rome.
(Here are a few quick dishes from the kitchen of Paddock. You can drool over some more of his delicious recipes on instagram at @paddock)
Which artists do you look up to or have enjoyed working with?
There have been so many great people to work with over the years. Some of the best artists to work with are the ones I can connect with on a personal level. I think the work produced definitely shows it. Some of my favorites would have to be: Jiro Bevis and the ‘Sorry For Partying’ Artifact, D-Face and the Mod graphics he did a few years ago, Jon Contino and his work for the Crossrocket series, and my friend and former co-worker Joel Brinson, who’s done a few boards for us over the past two years. The ‘14 Postermania is his work, and I really wish I was there for the image creation session!
Tell us about your all-time favorite board graphic?
Ohh man…there are too many to list. My all-times would have to be: Tarquin Shotgun graphic, Brushie trout board, Ranquet Heineken graphic, the Seven graphic with the skull on the base (cant remember is that was first or second year of the Seven) and the Joyride plant base. As far as Rome boards; the first Artifact is super special to me, because it was the first graphic I worked on. Other highlights are the Neasden designed Agent, Live Nude Girls Artifact, the Mod and Mod Rocker that D-Face did, and last year’s Crossrocket, by Jon Contino.
(’09 Artifact, ’12 Mod, and ’13 Crossrocket)
There are tons of people who have one of your decks saved in their collection. Do you have any that you have personally kept untouched?
Some of the limited “Shop Kid” only Artifact boards are still in plastic, along with a D-Face Mod Rocker, some Addictive Collection Agent Rocker’s I did a couple years ago, and the “Really Inappropriate” Artifact Shocker board.
Sounds like you’ve been able to get loose on some one-off board graphics in the past?
I’ve definitely had quite a bit of creative freedom here at Rome; far more than most designers I know. With the limited “Shop Kid” product, I was able to get away with anything…most of the time. I just had to revert to my original sketch for the in-line versions of those boards. I have a pretty bad filter when it comes to what’s appropriate or not some times, so it was nice to have the opportunity for those original ideas to see the light of day.
So, what new 2014 product are you most excited about?
Finally, for all the shred nerds – What is Michael Paddock’s current setup?
BOARDS: Crossrocket 156 for everything – groomers, pow, and park jumps. Camber for hauling ass on groomers, and the 3D Diamond helps it float in the pow. I’ve also been riding an Artifact 150 for warm spring days and that’s been pretty awesome.
BINDINGS: 390 Boss. Regular – 21” wide: 15 degrees front, -6 degrees back.
BOOTS: Libertine, size 10.