Off the Board w/ Brother Merle

What’s your name and where do you currently live?

My name is Gabriel Lalande and I live in Montréal, Qc.

What was the original spark that got you inspired to start making art?

I’m not sure what really sparked me, but when I was a kid I always drew in my school books. I was really into drawing funny faces and logos. I drew a lot of skate brand and punk band logos.

Frontside Boardslide – Dan Mathieu Photo

How long have you been doing this for?

The Brother Merle project started around 2013 as a joke when I was hurt and waiting for my 2nd ankle surgery.
In 2015 I bought the domain name and started an online portfolio to upload my graphic design work and illustration.

Noseblunt Slide – Dan Mathieu Photo

Do you have any training / schooling or are you completely self taught as an artist?

I’ve studied Graphic Design in College and I had a few drawing classes, but other than that I’m pretty much self taught.

Are there any similarities you’ve found with progressing your art in comparison to when you were in the streets everyday progressing your skating?

I think skateboarding helped me progressed for a lot of things. I always had to work hard to film tricks and learn new shit and I think it helped me appreciate working hard to get something done. I believe anything that comes easy is not really worth it.

Skateboarding is a big part of your art, but you also seem to be obsessed with elderly people, where is this obsession coming from?

I think this obsession came from my grand father. He was an overweight French immigrant and wore a neon green speedo all summer long. He was really funny and had a lot of charisma. He had a slingshot to shoot at squirrels and taught me how to swear in Spanish. Maybe that’s why I’m inspired by elderly people, they remind me of my grandpa. He definitely made me want to be like him when I’ll be old.

What are some ways you over come those pesky creative blocks?

Listening to music, skateboarding with friends, watching cartoon and just getting out of my workspace.

Your series of boards for Foundation Skateboards got a lot of good feedback, how did this come along and where did the inspiration came from? Were the riders involved in the graphics?

Mike Sinclair hooked me up with Ultimate Dist to ride for Foundation around 2012. I had a photo in Exposé Mag and I sent the issue to the Yeto guys, I added a print and some stickers inside the mag just for fun. Then this dude Derm Collins, who’s a sales rep over there started following me on IG. A year later he DM me asking for a Brother Merle shirt, I sent him a box at the Tumyeto office and the art director emailed me to work on a board series.

I came up with the senior citizen idea, but the riders where not involved. It was kind of a surprise when the boards came out, they found out each graphic was a representation of them as an old folk.

Nick Merlino with the Corey Duffel graphic

Any other collaborations with skate brands coming up?

A Canadian series with Bones Wheels for Ryan Decenzo, TJ Rogers and Matt Berger is coming for Spring 19.
Another board series with Foundation is coming for Spring 19 as well.
Shops can already pre order via Ultimate Distribution.

Any advice for people wanting to start making art or wanting to be an artist?

Have fun, don’t take yourself seriously. I can’t stand snobbish people.

Goals for the future?

Drawing and working on more projects and skating as much as I can.


Where can people find more of your work?

You can find my visual junk here:
Instagram: @brothermerle


Flat Gap with Bearing the Dog – Dan Mathieu Photo