Making Babies

Making Babies

by Stephanie Nusser

Who: Baby Skateboards

What: Skateboards

Where: CalSurf and Tarnish and Gold

When: Sept. 3-11


For Jake Stein, Timothy Hudson and Fletcher Barnhill, making babies is part of their routine. They have made around a hundred since winter 2008 — Baby Skateboards, that is.

“The name was dumb enough that no one else was gonna have it and there are so many puns you can use,” said Stein.

But don’t let his relaxed demeanor fool you – these boys really know what they’re doing.

Stein started making his own skateboards three years ago and has been skateboarding for nine years. In August at CalSurf Skate and Snowboard Shop, Baby Skateboards were exhibited for their hand-painted boards. The show displayed 40 skateboards from different series such as the current “13” series and the previous “99” and “666” series.

Until Sept. 11, several Baby Skateboards will be on display at Tarnish and Gold in Northeast for the “Skate Related” art show alongside other boards. Skate Related features skateboard-related artwork, and posters are on sale for $30.

These homemade boards are cut, designed, and customized at their home in Uptown, or “anywhere outdoors,” according to Stein. After ordering blank, uncut and pressed boards online, everything is a team effort.

“We pretty much always make them together — all the artwork is collaborated, all the work is collaborated, everything from the drawings to the designs,” he said.

From the initial cutting of the boards to the finished artwork, the entire process is pulled together among the three designers. Preparing a board for graphics takes about 25 to 30 minutes, but applying the graphics is much more time consuming.

A basic idea is visualized for the series theme, but each board is “spontaneously created,” because “if you can imagine it, you can make it,” Stein said.

Occasionally, Baby features local guest artists such as Hardland and Heartland. Baby also collaborates with local musicians such as Larry Wish, Obchod Na Korze, and other members of the Soothing Almonds Collective for their video demonstrations. This mix of local art, music and skateboarding creates a tight-knit community within Minneapolis.

The Baby Skateboards website claims this collaboration between the art world, the local music scene and their boards has become intertwined in a new dimension of skateboarding.

“I get to do whatever I want. That’s just what skateboarding is about,” said Stein. That is the glory of having your own business; it is the American Dream.

These boards are not just limited to the Twin Cities. They’ve had one go to Mexico, one to New York and another to California. They’ll keep on making them, according to Stein, “as long as people want [them] to cut boards.”

They can customize the artwork and shape of the board specifically for your taste or you can get a finished board of your liking for $55.

As Stein said, “everyone loves a Baby” — especially one that won’t cry when you drop it on a vert ramp.