Big Mike Gonsalves, better known as Zeachman, will shred circles around you, create an amazing piece of art for your wall then tell you a story that will make you laugh so hard you’ll piss your pants.
I’ve known Big Mike since we were kids, and his artwork, like his snowboarding, has always been epic. From designing the t-shirts at Last Call to creating snowboard graphics, Mike’s work is an extension of his personality; it’s loose, a little bit loud, and will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
For Mike, art, snowboarding and skateboarding have always gone hand in hand. The first time I met Big Mike was at Waterville Valley where we were both on the snowboard team, traveling around the country and chasing the professional snowboarder dream. “The whole pro snowboarding thing was pretty tough, but I knew I wanted to do art and keep snowboarding. I got into skateboarding, and I started replicating the graphics I liked,” he states. While the snowboard dream didn’t work out exactly as planned, the influences gained from years on snow can still be seen through his work and his riding.
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After following the route set by many former East Coasters, Mike made the move west to California, where he became a graphic designer. His skate and snow influences were joined by their wave-riding counterpart, and his art began to take on aspects of surf culture. “I’m starting to play around with resin and coating artwork. In SoCal, it’s how a lot of artwork is presented because the surf community is so big, and the art is influenced by the culture in the area,” he explains. It’s this method of adapting work to the surrounding culture that stands out in his artwork. He’s done pieces on canvas and wood, and often mixes things up by creating work with paint as well as pen and ink doodles. “I’m still finding things that I like and that work; it’s something that’s cool about art,” Mike says. “You learn new ways to create, and you take what looks good and use it to your advantage.”
Mike’s best-known artistic creation came alive through a furry little character with an interesting backstory. “One summer, I was working at High Cascade and Bode Merrill came up with the blog Harsh Zeach to Scorpion. He wanted me to create the header, so I took Zeachman and made him slide down the back of a hundred-dollar bill. People in the snowboard industry went to that blog and knew that character, so that was my entrance into art in the snowboard community. It’s where I got my artist name. Everybody knows me as Zeachman,” Mike explains.
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And while the Zeachman character may have been born on the internet, for the last three years, he has found a home on boards from Dinosaurs Will Die. It’s a partnership that makes perfect sense for Big Mike, and he sums up the process of board design, “With DWD, it was natural. They’re the coolest brand ever. If you have heart and love for what you’re doing, people see that and pick up on that.”
If you’re ever at Big Bear or Loon and you see someone riding mach-10, wearing a Zeachman hood and walking the boundaries of what it means to be in control, chances are it’s Big Mike just taking a few laps. And make sure to keep your eyes peeled for Zeachman; you never know where the little critter will pop up next.
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For direct inquiries, shoot Mike an email at [email protected]