If David Hockney was a skater, it'd look a lot like Peter Phobia’s Balance and Kickflips

Inspired by Peter Phobia’s teenage years as a skateboarder, his series Balance and Kickflips reflects on a creative mindset about freedom, friendship and adrenaline.

Inspired by David Hockney’s vision of California and skateboard videos of the early 2000’s, the series loosely follows the main character’s journey through an imaginary mecca of skateboarding, almost like snippets of a mixtape.

The visual soundtrack of this story is supported by warm colours which evoke feelings of long summer days and nights. It’s a world of limited colour palettes in hues of pink, red, purple and turquoise-blue skies.

"As a teenager, my life fully revolved around skateboarding," the NYC-based artist tells Digital Arts. "I was obsessed with board graphics and vibrant illustrations in magazines I discovered at my local skate shop.


"Skateboarding was all about the D.I.Y. attitude. We didn’t only build our own ramps, but I also began to draw my own graphics, print my own stickers and used stencils and spray paint to design my griptape.

"Looking back, those experiences and feelings played a fundamental role in my life and eventually led up to me pursuing a career in illustration."

Skateboarding also introduced Peter to a community, giving him chances to connect with people regardless of their origin, social status, age and gender.


"My inspiration for this series is deeply personal, yet I hope the language it speaks is universal. Skateboarding is a way of life and Balance and Kickflips is a celebration of that spirit."

"After a knee injury a couple of years ago (though), I couldn’t skate as much and as technical as I used to," Peter continues. "These days it’s more about having fun, skating to the local Deli to get a cold soda and not as much about learning new tricks anymore.

"I still want to contribute to the community that made me the creative person I am today. New York is a wonderful concrete playground for skateboarding, especially in summer.


"Oftentimes my deadlines keep me busy drawing but anytime I need a break to clear my head, skating the streets in Bushwick is the perfect thing to do."

Skate on over to Peter's Instagram for more.

Related: Adobe Illustrator tutorial to create repeating patterns for skate deck art

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn't affect our editorial independence. Learn more.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Read Next...