Geoff Cunningham is a San Diego native who's creative and artistic mind drives his success. Being the co-founder of Linksoul, a golf and lifestyle apparel brand, has allowed Geoff to combine his passions into a career. Creating art on all mediums, (painting, photography, etc.), he pulls his inspiration from everyday life. When he is not barefoot in his art studio, Geoff turns to Bluprint shoes to help guide him through the course.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER YOU HAD A KNACK FOR DRAWING AND ART?
I was an only child. (end of interview). But really... as far back as I can remember, I was always creative and I guess that just never ended for me. I was lucky enough to have incredibly supportive parents who encouraged me to pursue my interests and just as importantly, I had amazing teachers along the way that helped me even further.
WHAT MEDIUM(S) DO YOU WORK IN? DID YOU CHOOSE THEM OR DID THEY CHOSE YOU?
I was trained to use whatever medium the work calls for. Once I know what it is I want to make work about, I usually play with it in my head (and then in sketches) as a painting or a sculpture or an interactive work until it starts to reveal itself. Sometimes it is obvious and sometimes it changes direction midway. There's so many weird ways work comes about ... I'm not even sure it's ever happened the same way twice for me. I'm usually always painting on the side though, painting is the practice for me. It holds every aspect of art and so it helps to keep all the "muscles" loose. When I don't paint, I start to petrify.
HOW HAS GROWING UP IN SAN DIEGO SHAPED YOUR ART?
San Diego is like my second skin at this point, it's just always been on me. I didn't even learn to really see myself or this place I call home until I left it and traveled to other places around the world. For example, studying Apartheid in South Africa helped me think about border issues here. Nearly every place I've been has given me something to think about in San Diego. And now a big part of my work is local, as I look at the aspects of the current war and our country's relationship to it through the lens that Oceanside provides me as a military town.
ARE THERE ANY ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE YOU? WHAT ABOUT THEM INSPIRES YOU?
I think I've come to a realization in this stage of life that this question is too personal to answer. Essentially, I think it's comparable to asking "what turns you on?". I would just end up giving a list of weird things that would only make sense to me ... So many artists, people and things inspire me. Sometimes I have to work through feeling like I could never be as amazing as what I've just seen and that I should just give up because what's the point anyway... first it's Netflix for a while and then I try to carry myself back out to the studio. It's all very dramatic.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR ULTIMATE 'COMFORT ZONE'? WHERE ARE YOU, WHAT ARE YOU WEARING, WHO ARE YOU WITH?
Surfing my (secret) spot. I'm there dressed accordingly with the other "church goers".
WHEN YOU ARE NOT BAREFOOT IN YOUR STUDIO, WHAT ARE ON YOUR FEET? BOOTS, SNEAKERS, SANDALS ... WHAT GETS YOU FROM POINT 'A' TO POINT 'B'?
Flip flops all summer long ... even to work because we don't have air conditioning. And then it sneakers for the rest of the year. Boots when I go to Wisconsin to visit the in-laws and the comfiest golf shoes I can find for the course.
YOUR ART STUDIO IS ONE OF A KIND, EXPLAIN YOURSELF. HOW DID YOU BUILD IT, HOW LONG DID IT TAKE?
It took about three months. I built it with a guy who knows everything about how to build things, because I myself know absolutely nothing. I do love it. I love all artists' studios. What's more fascinating that seeing a room where someone's insides are all over the walls? It's unlike the rest of the house, where you are just portraying some image of yourself. It's the real stuff.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR FREE TIME?
The five minutes I have of "free time" a day are usually spent getting in political arguments with people in the comments section of whatever article I'm reading on my phone before bed. Some people go hunting... same thing.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO CO-FOUND LINKSOUL? WHERE DID THE ART DIRECTION FOR THE BRAND START?
After starting and stopping with several large companies, my partners and I just decided that we were never going to get where we wanted to go relying on the basic formulas and restrictions of corporate America. Basically, we were over it, and the feeling was mutual. We couldn't have a company and preach our philosophies and hold true to what we call "the 5 aspects of our perfect day"; time with friends, time with family, time in nature, physical exercise and making stuff with our hands ... all within the corporate box. So we took the best-of-the-best and got our own pirate ship and now we are doing it the way we know can work.
The art direction comes from a few inspirations; the roots of the game/what it was when it started (a communal game based on shot making and socializing) ... a return to natural elements ... and really whatever would connect us to the soul of golf. We grew up in the surfing culture so we used that a lot as the model for the direction, surfing always kept its connection to the soul aspect. The elements are all there, we just hunt and gather and update a touch. A lot of rewinding to move forward.
YOU ARE ONE OF THE FIRST PEOPLE TO HAVE WORN BLUPRINT SHOES ... HOW DO THEY FEEL?
I recently went on a golf photo mission to Ireland, which is a pretty big test of a shoe. It involves climbing a lot of grassy dunes and enduring a few rainstorms ... and you end up walking about three times as much as the golfers you are following. Anyway, the shoes were awesome. They survived it all like a champ. Lightweight and extremely comfortable, and I had someone say they liked them every day I had them on, which is something you usually don't hear from other men. So yes, 5 stars!