Soy Panday Talks Magenta Skateboards & Board Design
We sat down with Sourya “Soy” Panday, Co-Founder & Art Director at Magenta Skateboards, Artist and Professional Skateboarder, to ask him some questions on his acclaimed brand. Renowned for his board designs his work speaks for itself.
Can you talk me through Magenta? What it represents and what it means?
Magenta is a skate brand we started 10 years ago with one of my best friends Vivien Feil and his brother Jean. We try to make an honest brand that looks like us, something that doesn't focus too much on performance, but rather on the idea that spending time kicking it with friends in the streets of a city is a very enjoyable thing to do. For me it also means a way to express myself artistically, which is something I enjoy in the same way I enjoy skateboarding. I enjoy sharing what has made these things so interesting to me.
Magenta Skateboards shoots video parts all around the world. Is this a mission to skate new terrain every time you make a film? and for places like India that have never really seen or heard of skateboarding, what’s the reaction from the locals when you start tearing through the streets?
I guess any reason to travel is a good reason, and skateboarding is what has made traveling so fun for most of us so why not show this in our videos? The feeling of being in a new city where a fun spot could be at the turn of any street is really exciting. New spots are very fun, finding them is like an infinite search, and so infinite fun. As for India, most people there don't know about skateboarding at all. There is a small skate scene in some of the big cities, but even that is fairly new, and only concerns a certain social class. When we walked through certain streets where regular tourists are already a rare sight, with those strange objects with wheels in our hands, we really looked like aliens from a different planet. Another funny thing with Indian streets is they seem to us a complete chaos filled with animals, kids, beggars, honking cars seemingly following no rules. You get to think you could do anything in this chaos and it would go unnoticed. But of course, you are a complete oddity there and people just stare at you. Once, we were skating a sidewalk and a super citizen yelled at us and called the cops because we were disturbing the peace, and you look around and you try to make sense of the word 'peace' in this context. But this chaos is their everyday life, it is what they know, it's not chaos to them. To him we were the chaos. There isn't so much to skate in India, it was really just an excuse for me to show India to my friends, since I’ve been going there since I was a kid and always thought it's something everyone should see once in his life.
I feel the pandemic is a topic overly discussed, however I wanted to know if you have taken any inspiration from this strange time? Your work is heavily influenced by nature and right now we have seemingly in ways been disconnected from this.
Yes, that's very true. The confinement and its atmosphere, what you get to see or not see, does for sure impact your creative output. During the first confinement last April I was working on a board series, which turned out to represent the room I spent my confinement in. It wasn't planned out, I just realized it as it neared completion. The global look of the artwork is perhaps a bit different than what I usually do, because the atmosphere I was in was itself different. But I think – hope - it's an interesting series. It will be my confinement memory.
In the past you’ve incorporated a lot of visual effects into your board designs, such as 3D imagery and optical illusions. Why is it that you like to challenge people's visual perception?
Partly because it's very fun to come up with those ideas, it's playful, and partly because of what I want to say. I tend to believe the reality we experience is merely a personal projection of our emotional state, much like it is in the case when we dream. And so, practicing a certain flexibility of perception may help us not get trapped in a reality that we don't like, a reality that could start to feel like a nightmare. The idea is to say that there isn't only one way to look at anything but many, and that it can be both fun and helpful to see these other angles. And so, I try to draw a world that lay at the frontier between reality and dream. Ideally, I’d like people to have as much fun looking at all the details as I have putting them in. I like the idea that maybe I can surprise them; those few seconds of surprise in the eyes of someone who has seen through an optical illusion is really a priceless sight. Besides, these visual effects are the only way I have found to express ideas that sound too complicated and abstract when I try to talk about them.
Last year saw the release of 4 board series, conceptualized and designed by Panday himself.
SUMMER20 INFINITE LOOP
When was the first time you customised a deck?
I first proposed to try and draw a board graphic when I was a sales intern at Cliché, but it didn't happen. Then I did a board graphic for my shop sponsor, Bud Skateshop, and this was followed by a couple graphics for my then board sponsor, Landscape. And then we started Magenta. When we started Magenta, I had never touched Photoshop and I had no idea how preparing files for print worked. Actually, I had no idea how anything worked.
As someone who inspired you and most of us, what was it like to work with Mark Gonzales?
Mark has always been super nice with me whenever we've met, and there is obviously something very childish, carefree and playful about him, and this is exactly how my experience of working with him for his Guest Artist board was. He sent me 4 horizontal strips of drawing, each about twice as long as a board, with no explanation of how to fit those on a board, and left me to deal with it, haha. Perhaps he was playing with me and wanted to see how I’d sort it out. Basically, I could have made 8 boards with it. It's like I asked him for a sphere and he gave me a cube, pretty much saying "Now you make it fit into a sphere if you like" haha...
Any plans for the future?
Big plans indeed: keep doing what I love doing for as long as I can, hopefully a good while.