BRAYDEN FROM HQ SKATE

“A solid 90% of the art I create is just because I like it, or I wanted to draw it. And this kind of chilled out, ‘just be’ attitude has definitely carried over to my brand. The idea that if it’s something you like to do, and you’re not hurting anyone, then do it, or don’t, whatever. You do you.”

Meet Brayden Wilkinson. He’s the founder and head designer for lifestyle brand HQ Skate. And he drives a ute. I know this because I borrowed it once to pick up a washing machine from Sydney, and I got a stress-induced nose bleed on the Harbour Bridge owing to the fact that I’d never driven a car so big and loud. Cool story, Hansel. Let’s move on…

The story goes that Brayden studied design at Tighes Hill TAFE from 2010-2012, kicked butt, and found a way to make some dollars being his own boss. HQ Skate was born.

“The first embers of the idea started to spark at the end of TAFE, when I came to realise that working for other people sucks real hard.”

Mate, I feel ya. We all do. #creativesunite

HQ Skate started with humble beginnings. He drew some stuff, had some tees and hoodies printed, and sold them to friends and family. Fast forward a few years and HQ Skate is repped around town via markets and an online store.

Bray’s design inspo is always seeded by hearing a phrase from a friend, music, or on TV that resonates and captures his imagination. “I’ll whip out my phone and make another note in the never-ending list of ideas. It may sit there until the end of time, or if I wait for the idea to stew, form on its own, evolve and grow in the back of my mind, it will become fully fleshed and I’ll begin drawing.”

When he’s not working on his HQ Skate designs, Bray is holding down two jobs, playing soccer, coaching an all-ages women’s team and getting up to all manner of shenanigans. A local to Newie since day dot, Bray is a keen advocate of our rad city, a ‘just let it be’ kinda dude, and an artistic powerhouse.

What inspired you to want to make and sell clothing?

I wanted to draw and create and make art, and being stuck in an office doing page reports and booklets for someone just 100% is not for me. So this seemed like the most enjoyable way I could art. The fact that I get to see people wearing it all over the place is a pretty cool feeling.

How does the creation and production process work for you?

So my process only ever varies in one area, and that’s the time it takes for a concept to become a fully fleshed idea and begin drawing it. It begins by hearing a phrase that resonates with me, from music or friends, on TV, or wherever; the sentence for whatever reason has captured my imagination. This is where I’ll whip out my phone and open yet another note to my never-ending list of ideas, and it’s very possible that it could sit there becoming nothing more for the rest of time. I like to wait for the idea to sit and stew, form on its own, evolve and grow in the back of my mind while I go about my life doing other things or until a deadline comes. But every now and again, an old idea will remerge to the forefront of my mind now with legs, so I can take to a pen and pad to flesh it out, then tighten it up on the computer to get it looking how I see it in my mind. But even then, some ideas get lost along that design path because they were premature to being created, so they sit on paper in my computer desk waiting to make another appearance when they’re ready.

Fresh threads at www.hqskate.com or visit markets around Newcastle, such as Hunt & Gather and 3 Peas. @hqskate

What’s the main message behind the HQ Skate brand? 

I hate this question, hey. All my life from Visual Arts back in the day to TAFE teachers and peers, everyone seems to want to find the meaning that isn’t actually there. A solid 90% of the art I create is just because I like it, or I wanted to draw it. And this kind of chilled out, ‘just be’ attitude has definitely carried over to my brand. The idea that if it’s something you like to do, and you’re not hurting anyone, then do it, or don’t, whatever. You do you.

Tell me about your dream for an ideal planet…

So, everybody just needs to chill, hey. A little bit of walking in other people’s shoes wouldn’t go astray these days. I would love it if people could just understand that there’s no singular perception that you can thrust onto every situation. If 100 different people saw the same car accident then it is perceived 100 different ways, even though they all saw the same action take place. I guess I would just like to see a bit more understanding and empathy from my fellow brain-driven meat-suit skeletons.

Why do you love Newcastle?

Newcastle is the best, for its mass diversity of people; you can see and be inspired by all walks of life just by taking a stroll down Hunter Street on a Saturday morning. And the fact that you’re only ever a hop, skip and a jump from the beach really doesn’t hurt. It’s just a chilled out city with a little bit of everything you could ever need.

Who is the coolest person you know?

My mate’s dad! This man always demonstrated a warm welcome and pure love for everyone around him, and as I grew up with his son, he would always facilitate our need to get around town to skate or be at the local skate park early on a Sunday morning. As far as lawyers go, he’s my favourite. I don’t think I’ll ever meet anyone more kind-hearted as a person in my life. For an old surfer, skater, skier, chilled lawyer, odd food combination creator, family man… that’s pretty cool.

When she’s not interviewing cool people about cool shit, Amy is doing other writing stuff. Words are her jam.

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