10 Questions with artist Skye Walker: ‘I always felt a connection to this town’
Skye Walker was born in Big Bear in 1978. His parents, Morris and Lynn Walker, were artists and entertainers and they raised Skye and his sister, Amoris, to be creative and artistic. Growing up, they traveled a lot and lived in a variety of places like California, Nevada, Spain, Hawaii, Colorado and Oregon.
Morris and Lynn performed for many years all over the world as folk singers (as well as working some great full-time jobs) and when the kids were old enough, they became a part of the show. They toured the country performing for schools as The EarthWalkers.
Their show had a message of saving the planet woven with folk and bluegrass music, and accompanied with a good mix of humor. Morris played the guitar and sang; Skye played banjo. Lynn and Amoris also sang and played tambourine and rhythm instruments. Morris was the leader, and he was also the fall guy for most of the show’s humor.
Throughout his childhood, whether living in one place or traveling, Skye’s main love and focus was on art. Drawing cartoons daily evolved into more advanced work like paintings, realistic drawings, watercolors and murals. In 1997, Skye received a four-year art scholarship to Oregon State University and he graduated with a BFA in graphic design in 2001.
While he loved Oregon, Skye had felt a connection to Encinitas his whole life. As soon as he graduated, he moved to North County San Diego and settled in to surf, begin his career as a designer, artist and muralist, and explore all the amazing aspects of Southern California.
What brought you to Encinitas?
My family visited Encinitas all the time while I was growing up, because we have family friends here. I always felt a connection to this town, and once I graduated from college at Oregon State University, I packed up my art gear and my boards and made a beeline down here. Best decision ever.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Encinitas?
This town is so special and one-of-a-kind that I could never suggest improvements to it. But I guess progress is the main thing that I could focus on with this question.
You can’t really stop progress. I just hope that as new businesses arrive and buildings are built, they respect the culture of this town and don’t push out the people and businesses that give this place its character and history. One spot I think could use some love is La Paloma Theatre. I think old movie theaters in small towns are so rad, with the marquee out front and it’s got one screen and it’s not a major movie theatre chain. So many epic surf- movie premieres happen there, as well as just catching an evening film after you grab dinner in town — it’s such a cool place! If it got cleaned up a bit, a little bit of paint and new lighting and maybe a new screen, that place would look great for another 30 years.
I also hope to paint a couple more murals in the Encinitas area. The best thing I could ever contribute to this community is art, so I hope that comes to pass.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by other artists, my family, friends, music, and of course, the ocean and Mother Nature.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, who (living or deceased) would you invite?
I would invite both of my grandfathers, who passed away before I could know them and get their insight on life. My mom’s dad, Bill Wallace, sold life insurance while my dad’s father, Risdom Walker, was a roughneck on oil rigs — their banter would be amazing. Bruce Lee, so he could enlighten us with his philosophies on life. American painter John Singer Seargent, so he could tell us about his theories on today’s art. Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, to tell us about her plight as a female artist and give us her theories on today’s art. The legendary Hawaiian waterman Duke Kahanamoku, so he could share his stories of riding waves. Dave Chappelle, because he’s comedic genius. And William Wallace: Apparently my grandfather is a descendant of William; he was named after him, too. It’d be cool to hear him talk about taking on the English with his 6-foot broadsword.
What are your favorite movies?
I’m a movie buff and I like a lot of genres. But if I had to pick a few, they would be: “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Amadeus,” “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” “Enter the Dragon,” “Groundhog Day” and “The Darjeeling Limited.” There are so many amazing films, these are just a few. I need to make a real solid list — there’s just too many great films!
What is your most prized possession?
My father gave me his 1962 Martin D-28 guitar when I graduated from college. He traveled all over the world playing this guitar with my mother, including on the road with our family band. It’s such an amazing instrument and the guitar case is held together by hundreds of stickers, shellac and amazing stories. It’s priceless to me. As I’ve gotten older, material possessions don’t really mean much to me except for that guitar. And my external hard drives, as they catalog all the art I’ve created over the past 20 years.
What do you do for fun?
Surf, mountain bike, body surf, snowboard, hike, paint, draw, movies, travel and enjoy nature as much as possible.
What is it that you most dislike?
Lately, I dislike how fast time is going. It’s not even funny. All my friends’ kids who were just born yesterday (it seems) are now 5 years old and telling me how to build Legos and what they think is cool. So this whole “time flies” thing bugs me. It just means I have to savor every moment and not waste one second worrying or being bugged by meaningless things. And catch as many waves as possible.
What would be your dream vacation?
Well, it’s kind of a dream vacation in San Diego every day. We are so lucky to live here. But, if we are going to super-dream status, here it goes: Boat trip with my buddies to some Indonesian island chain for an epic surf trip, then fly to New Zealand for a mountain biking adventure and finish it off with a back-country powder snowboarding trip somewhere like Jackson Hole. That sounds pretty dreamy to me.
What is your motto or philosophy of life?
Go with the flow.