For Will Stephan, owner of Chicago-based Sapient Skateboards, coming into skateboard production began first with a love for skateboard racing, and then working in skateboard distribution. In 2019, he began to dream of owning his own skateboard production company and completed his first prototyping of a board. Then he moved into branded products more recently, expanding his relationship with Marwood Veneer. “All of our boards are hand-designed and crafted and made to order. We have custom graphic options and we are moving into stocking inventory for some of the local retail shops,” Stephan said. He mentioned that shaped boards – wider and shorter– are making a comeback, a throwback to the ‘80s. “I love the craft aspect of what making a board is. Most of our sales are from Instagram and we are becoming a Midwest brand. There’s a fantastic skateboarding community here (in the neighborhoods of Chicago) and we are looking to activate that scene further.”
Many of the Sapient boards are hand-painted on the boot with airbrushing, stencils and freehand lines to give them an original graphics finish from Thaddeus Zurawski.
The cave-inspired lettering of their Sapient logo is complemented by a two-color gradient. For the main color, they chose the oldest naturally occurring pigment in the world — red ochre. As you make your way down the gradient of the logo, it eventually fades into a bone white. This was achieved by taking a direct color swatch from a human skull.
The two prehistoric elements of form and color were deliberately chosen to convey a more grounded connection with the world around us.
Stephan was excited to find Marwood for his boards and recently paid a visit to Jim Martin, CEO and president of Marwood. “I love being around the energy of the entrepreneurs we meet. Will and I enjoyed connecting and he gave us a fabulous board to go into our collection,” Martin said.
“We find that the age range of interest runs from 4 to 60. The main target audience is about 15-to 35,” Stephan said.
Every Weds. evening this Fall you can find Stephan and Sapient Skateboards sponsoring a skateboard evening, with a small grilling cookout for those interested, at Wilson Skate Park in Chicago beginning at 4 PM.