SANTA CRUZ -- Lucas Musgrave is the coolest dad in the schoolyard.
The tattooed, nose-pierced 39-year-old draws for 10 to 15 minutes on a brown paper lunch bag every morning for his 5-year-old son Bishop. Always in ink, the pictures depict everything from Bart Simpson à la Nirvana's "Nevermind" to Batman.
"I read somewhere to put a nice note in your kid's lunch, so I took his lunch bag, drew a superhero and wrote 'Bishop' on it," said Musgrave, a Seacliff resident. "He was super stoked."
And Musgrave has plenty of experience spicing up surfaces. He's the art director and brand manager at Santa Cruz Skateboards, contributing artist to Creature Skateboards, and freelance designer for trendsetting skate companies including Globe Shoes, OJ Wheels, Nor Cal and Mr. California.
From sketching out the latest deck design to creating shirts depicting women in flames, Musgrave essentially landed his dream job. He purchased his first board, an NHS Jammer complete with Kryptonics Wheels, at age 9.
"I remember going in, picking it out, the smells, all the cool dudes," said Musgrave, who grew up in Aptos. He now owns approximately 300 to 400 boards that he designed.
Musgrave currently gets three to four emails a week from teens looking to lend a hand, which he easily relates to. In addition to hitting the pavement daily, Musgrave was enamored from the start by the skateboard sketches of heavyweights including Jim Phillips and Jeff
"I used to trace all of Jim Phillips' art," Musgrave said. "Jeff Kendall interviewed me when I applied here, and I rode his boards as a kid."
Musgrave's road to working at Santa Cruz Skateboards is as colorful as his idols' prints that line the Seabright offices' walls. He got his first tattoo at 14, and started tattooing his friends with his own kit by 16.
"It was my first taste of someone saying, 'I want this to look like this,' " Musgrave said.
Musgrave attended Aptos High School but never graduated. He went on to work at Bill's Wheels for four years, then started working at Santa Cruz Skateboards nine years ago, which he described as being "awesome, because there's not much work for illustrators in Santa Cruz."
Santa Cruz Skateboards is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, which will include the office opening a skateboard museum in July. Throughout expansions and growth (Santa Cruz Skateboards is part of NHS Inc., which includes Independent Truck Co. and Creature Skateboards), Musgrave works to maintain the company's original aesthetic that initially captured his 9-year-old eyes.
"It's awesome to work here. I'm humbled to be able to work with these people and do this," Musgrave said. "Working in skateboards is a sacrifice; you could make more money elsewhere, but here I get to work with people I admire."
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Getting to Know
Born: June 16, 1973
Family: Wife Tina Musgrave and 5-year-old son Bishop. Tina works in outside sales at the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Art: Musgrave sketches and paints at home every evening with his son Bishop. 'I'll be painting and he'll get upset and say "I wish I could paint like that." I never put any pressure on him, though. He's gonna be into what he's into.'
Skate World: While Musgrave spent a period of time in Southern California, he stays true to his roots up here. 'We're fighting regionality. People in SoCal don't want to ride a NorCal brand.'
Instagrammer: Musgrave Instagrams his art every day under the name SC_GOON, using the hashtag #lunchbagart for the designs he sketches up for his son Bishop. He currently has more than 635 followers.
Reaching Out: Santa Cruz Skateboards is trying to reach out to younger audiences. Last year, the company's page had 8,000 likes with an average age range of 24-35; it now has 190,000 likes, with the average age 13-18. 'The art connects with kids today. It's a visceral experience.'