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Volume 24, Number 4 — April 2017

"Color Me Bad" — Brian Clinebell

Brian Clinebell says,
Brian Clinebell says, "Skateboarding had a big effect on my art because that was what I wanted to do — design things that involved skateboarding." He is also the lead singer of the San Diego-based rock band known as The Kabbs.
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Always interested in art, he also loved skateboarding

By Angela Wampler | A! Magazine for the Arts | February 29, 2012

Brian Clinebell, 33, is the son of John and Cathy Clinebell. Brian ended up in California because of his passion for skateboarding. He was always interested in art, but he also loved skateboarding — so much that he was one of the key players who raised the money for the skateboarding park at the Coomes Center in Abingdon.

Brian says, "I skated a lot in elementary school, then took a break to try some other sports, but eventually came back to skateboarding while I was in high school and haven't stopped since. During my junior year of high school, I really got into skateboarding. We had a small crew of kids around the area who skated. Skateboarding had a big effect on my art because that was what I wanted to do — design things that involved skateboarding."

A 1996 graduate of Abingdon High School, Brian received a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from San Diego State University. He still lives in San Diego, where he works for a web advertising firm, Underground Elephant, and does freelance work for Lurkville Skateboards and the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego.

Previously he worked at other skateboard-related businesses. While attending San Diego State, he designed graphics for shirts and ads for Pacific Drive, one of the most influential skate shops in the world. After college graduation, he designed apparel and skateboard accessories for Fallen Footwear. "When the economy hit California hard, I got laid off and started freelancing as much as I could and just kept plugging away at getting work and doing art," he says.
After freelancing almost two years for companies such as DC Shoes, Sector Nine Skateboards, and Elwood Clothing, he got a job at the Mad Media advertising agency. "I did mainly web design that helped me get my current position at Underground Elephant," he added.

Influences like Pop Art, album covers, skateboarding, and California culture permeate his studio and design work.

"San Diego has a huge skateboarding scene and quite a few skateboard companies are based in San Diego and Los Angeles," says Brian. "I worked at several skate shops out here and seeing everything coming out from the brands has been a huge influence on my art and style."

Some of Brian's friends are DJs who are record collectors — "they love finding rare vinyl" — and Brian peruses their collections for ideas. He says, "I love the '60s album covers and German album art from the '60s and '70s. There was a lot of photo montage and collage on some of those record covers. I've been doing collage work and mixed media for a long time now.

"I do many different things with my art such as CDs, poster art, skateboards, web graphics and fine art. Some artists might want to be serious about their art making and not have fun with what they are trying say or do with their art. I try to bring experiences and imagery that surround me into my work, whether it be from a childhood experience or imagery I saw at the record store. With so much access to information, our generation of artists has a different outlook of the world."

Brian is also the lead singer of the San Diego-based rock band known as The Kabbs, which has been receiving notable media attention.

"My musical influences have been mainly garage rock and classic rock. I have a few friends who DJ out here, and they really got me into more garage rock from the '60s such as The Seeds, The Animals, The Chocolate Watchband, and The 13th Floor Elevators. Personally, my favorite singers would be Ronnie Van Zant, Mick Jagger, Roky Erickson, and Jim Morrison.

"The Kabbs started out as four friends jamming and making up a couple of songs," he says. "Kyle Whatley, the guitar player, got me to start singing, and that led to me writing songs. The past year has been a very successful year for us. We have been featured in a DC Shoes skateboarding web video ("Never Knew"), a Transworld surfing film ("Surprise Excitement Party"), a Fender Guitars video interview ("Fender Vision") during the Johnny Rad Fest event in San Diego, and we're working with the Planetary Group in Los Angeles on a college radio campaign.

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"Death at Dinner" by Brian Clinebell


"Eyeball T-shirt" by Brian Clinebell


Skateboard design by Brian Clinebell


Clinebell, left, is a member of The Kabbs with Chase Elliott, Kyle Whatley, Ashley Brus.