Hershel Baltrotsky

Hershel Baltrotsky


February 26, 2016

Hershel Baltrotsky

I know when I was a kid, I used to get my mom to take me to the skate shop just to look at the different deck graphics. I was super into the old Powell graphics by VCJ. Were there any companies or artists that you were into growing up skating?

My first memories of board graphics were from hand-me-downs around the neighborhood. Sims, H-Street, Vision…stuff like that. My brother and I actually got into a fight the first time we went to get our first real deck. We both wanted the same Matt Hensley H-Street board, where he’s swinging around the street sign. We both ended up getting it, mine with natural veneer and his with red. When I was a little older, I was eally into Ed Templeton Toy Machine graphics and more local East coast-ish stuff like Capital, Zoo York, and Alien Workshop.

Outside of skateboarding, is there anyone out there that you get really inspired by?

I could list a lot of people, and truthfully it’s always changing…but here’s the short list of current and all-time inspirations: Dad, Joseph Cornell, Woody Allen, Ray Johnson, Henry Darger, Matt Furie, Garry Winogrand, Steve Martin, Ian McKay, John Flansburgh and John Linnell, Annie Leibovitz, Alfred E. Newman, Marc McKee, and on and on and on…

You were just in a show recently with the other guys from the Art Dump. Can you tell me a little bit about it?

Girl Skateboards partnered with Project Red to create co-branded products to help raise money for Red’s Global Fund. The art show was another outlet for us to create original artwork that could help with fundraising. We displayed a print by each artist, wooden OGs (Girl dolls), and all the original artwork created to make the co-branded products. Everyone in the Art Dump is awesome (and I’m not just saying that either), so any time we do a show it’s always a blast!



How long have you been shooting? What’s your preferred medium? Is it all digital?

I’ve been taking photos my whole life. I grew up in a photographic family—my father is a photographer and had me working in the darkroom from an early age. My preferred medium would have to be black and white 6×6 or 35mm. As of late, most of what I shoot is either digital or 35mm film, I’d say it’s a 50/50 split.

What’s your favorite place to go if you want to get out of LA for a little while?

How ’bout my top three, in no particular order (I have a hard time answering anything with one answer): Fernwood in Big Sur, Amtrak Surfliner South to San Diego, and an NYC weekend!

Q+A by Rod Hunting
Portrait by Ben Colen

(A version of this post originally appeared in Design Bureau (2011). Published with permission.)

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