104: Mark Lewman/Mountain Dew and Minor Threat

Mark Lewman, Nemo HQ, Portland, November 2019. Photo: Tozer

“Everyday I have a different set of things I want to do. It’s like a drug. You can be and do anything you want to do. It never leaves you”

It’s the first episode of my special Portland omnibus – and I kicked things off with this conversation with the great Mark Lewman, recorded at Nemo HQ in Portland.

Lewman has had one of those circuitous, intensely creative career path that action sports culture often throws up. We’re dealing with creative royalty, a man who’s resume includes stints steering era-defining titles such as Freestylin’, Homeboy, Sassy, Dirt, Grand Royal and Big Brother. Along the way he worked on Jackass, collaborated with his friend Spike Jonze and ghostwrote Mat Hoffman’s autobiography.

Photo: Tozer

He then switched codes, went brand-side and works today as one of the honchos at Nemo Design, delivering ground-breaking campaigns
for some of the biggest companies in action sports.

As you might expect from that CV, Lewman has a wealth of anecdotes and experience, and I had a blast during this conversation. As ever with these episodes, this is the story of how somebody carved out a unique career in the industry, and had a riot doing it. Right up my strasse, then.

Photo: Tozer

My thanks to Lewman and everyone at Nemo for being such great sports for this one, and to Travel Portland, Kex Portland, Hertz and Black Diamond PR for their help in pulling this one together.

Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Mark

Show Notes

  • Copacetic.
  • Typical day of unknown.
  • Recording in the Nemo HQ.
  • 20th year in business.
  • Halloween pictures.
  • Birth of Morrow Snowboards.
  • “Dubious beginnings”.
  • Nike 6.0.
  • Editorial background.
  • BMX racing.
  • Midwest action sports.
  • Childhood Bible of BMX.
  • Self-guiding through the sport.
  • Stationery gift.
  • “I had never written anything before”.
  • Product test of Mark Gonzalez Vision Signature Board.
  • Moved to California aged 17.
  • Pitching.
  • Mountain Dew and Minor Threat.
  • ‘Lord of the Flies’ structure.
  • Innovation in the mid-80s.
  • “That curious ADD of ‘what’s next?’”.
  • Starting Club Homeboy.
  • Magazine within a magazine.
  • 5 year rule.
  • “Complacency is your biggest enemy”.
  • Subscription cards.
  • Ambitions to broaden.
  • Inflammatory content.
  • Instincts.
  • Working with Beastie Boys.
  • From Copywriter to Creative Director.
  • Creative leap of faith.
  • Pre-internet journalism.
  • “Take what you have to give, based on where you’re at and what tools you have”.
  • Changes.
  • Sport that forces you to be creative.
  • Jackass work.
  • Bulletproof vest.
  • Dumb on purpose.
  • Trappings of successful California living.
  • One-way ticket to Costa Rica.
  • Disconnecting to find the next step.
  • Finding home.
  • Co-writing with Matt Hoffman.
  • Jackass The Movie.
  • Boom Boom Huckjam Tour.

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