Hemlock Hat Co x Ballast Point

Posted by Hemlock Hat Company on

Hemlock is proud to announce our newest colloboration with Ballast Point and Paul Elder.

We came together to create two unique exclusives. Our decision to create something special with Ballast point wasn't because they are right in our back yard (literally speaking) but because they embody a culture just like our own. 
Paul Elder is the man behind the designs. He is behind every label, sketch, painting or any art work related piece at Ballast Point. He is a San Diego Native just like us (go figure!) and is an avid fisherman and surfer.  You can find him out on the water or creating the next master piece.
Take a peak at his latest WSLS10 interview below:
Ballast Point has seven different locations 6 of 7 based in southern California. This collaboration is strictly exclusive to Ballast Point Breweries. Swing by or order online before their gone.
Read more →

Hemlock Hat Co x Llew Mejia
The Westbourne

Posted by Blog Savage on

For our first drop of Summer 2018, Hemlock Hat Co. launches our debut artist collaboration teaming up with celebrated creative, illustrator and pattern artist Llew Mejia. We got in touch with Llew to ask a few questions about how the Westbourne came to life, his artistic process summer days and his inspirations.

1) When did your illustration work begin and who are your design heroes?

I began in art school, but that was just the beginning of what I do now because I never really thought I would also do textile design. It branched out and I'm really glad it did because it's arguably more interesting seeing your work on people's beloved personal objects.
As far as inspirations I can't name a lot of people who are heroes but I can say that I'm really inspired by people who went nameless and worked in textiles in the early 40s- late 60s they are my biggest influences.

2) As an illustrator, where did your inspiration for the 'Westbourne' print come from?

I also get a lot of inspiration from antique etchings of nature from scientific illustrators . I find that for this one it was especially helpful to look at books such as the Cabinet of Curiosities. As well as books by Ernst Haeckel, who's also one of the greatest illustrators of ocean life in all of history. I also make it my own with color and style but you get the idea.

3) Have you ever tackled an underwater/sea-life print? If so, how was this one different?

I have done so before yeah, I think it was more fun just because I got to do whatever I wanted and I hadn't drawn certain animals in the print until this one came along so that was great. I think also the application of it on a hat I had never done that before which I was really stoked on!

4) When creating a print or illustration, where do you typically begin and what are some steps between concept and final product?

I usually look at a lot of imagery online and otherwise but I like to gather as much different reference as possible be that going outside and getting some sun or going to an aquarium for reference, or just looking over my collection of scientific illustration books I think getting your eyes on different things is important to create an end product that's varied . Then comes the boring stuff sketch, scan , finagle , modify, sketch, color and final ;)

5) What is your process when in the early stages of an illustration? Is most of your work initially hand-drawn and eventually finished on the computer?

Yeah it totally depends on the project some are start to finish analog work and others are digital.
It depends what kind of look the client likes a lot of the time it's easier for all of us if I start analog and end digital so we can modify colors easy for printing processes. But I like doing both they each have their upsides and downsides.

6) You have a unique perspective on American and Mexican culture; are there any specific experiences that you drew from in creating the Westbourne print?

Hahaha. I can't say directly that there were any specific experiences but I suppose subconsciously all my work is influenced. I spent some time in Australia at the Great Barrier Reef as well as swam with some sharks when I was a kid in Mexico which in hindsight I don't understand why my parents were chill with that. I guess no risk no reward or something haha.

7) What is your favorite Hemlock Hat Co. style? (Other than the Westbourne!

I think I would have to say the Cape Town, just because it reminds me of the very retro era of design in Hawaiian bark cloth style shirts. It pays homage and I think that's important and it's nice and subtle.

8) Describe your ideal summer day.

Cloudy, bit of rain, humid but altogether tropical, hopefully near a coast surrounded by beach life and the smell of the ocean.

9) Outside of making art, what are some of your interests?

I read books on psychology, I also really like looking at art shows in town , traveling as much as I can without going broke haha and Netflix and chilling heavily.

10) What are you working on right now? After we launch the Westbourne, there are bound to be new eyes on your work!

Haha let's hope so! Eh at the moment a artist spot with a art material company, a few deals with hotels that hopefully pan out and then the usual helping out surf life companies which is always good and I'm always down to work with folks like that ;) that's all I can say for now!

Thanks Llew!

See more work from Llew Mejia via his website.



Read more →

Camp Shred 2017

Posted by Anthony Lora on


We had an epic time participating in the 2017 Camp Shred event, hosted by Surfride and Surfer magazine. With over 3,000 people in attendance, the event was definitely a success! Located at the sunny San Elijo coastal campgrounds in Cardiff, CA we couldn't have asked for a better location. 

What is Camp Shred?

Camp Shred is the largest surf demo on the planet! Surfers and beach-goers come from everywhere to test the latest and greatest from top board, wetsuit and fin manufacturers.

Not a surfer? Not a problem! There were a ton of other awesome brands at Camp Shred running great deals, giving out freebies and stickers, and promoting their brands throughout the weekend. 

Hemlock Hat Co. 

Sun Bum

Spy Optic


Like loud tunes and quality brews? We thought so ... and so do we! The Pizza Port Beer garden was 'going off' with plenty of good music and beers ... what more could we have asked for?

Pizza Port Beer Garden

Thank you to everyone who came out and supported Hemlock Hat Co. and the 2017 Camp Shred event. We hope you all enjoyed yourselves as much as we did. See you next year!

- Hemlock Hat Co.


Read more →

Racking Focus with Spencer Owens

Posted by Kevin Tucker on

“Racking Focus in filmmaking and television production is the practice of changing the focus of the lens during a shot. The term can refer to small or large changes of focus. If the focus is shallow, then the technique becomes more noticeable.”
Spencer Owens is one the most relevant motocross photographer/videographers today, having his work featured in some of the most prominent media outlets within the motocross industry. Recently, he has shadowed the legendary Simon Cudby at RacerX, one of the top motocross magazines in the industry. Some of Spencer’s recent work can be seen in Phantasos Media’s Season 3 of the Spectrum Series. While at the pinnacle of his field, Spencer has a story that not many people know about...until now. We recently sat down with Spencer to talk shop and to help share his story.
Hemlock Hat Co: First off, you have been an ambassador for the brand for a few months now and have helped a lot with getting our name out there, so thanks for that!
Spencer Owens:  I love being a part of the brand! The hats fit my lifestyle perfectly and I can’t imagine them looking any better

HHC: Let’s dive in, where does your passion for motocross stem from?

SO: Well I got my first bike when I was just 5 years old, a CRF70, and rode BMX even before that.  My dad got me into riding, and his dad got him into it, and so on. Once my dad and I convinced my mom to let me start racing, I raced in a lot of the local southern California amateur series for a few years.

HHC: So before cameras came bikes and racing?

SO: Yeah, a lot of people don’t know that I was serious about racing and was training and aspiring to turn professional one day.

HHC: What happened?  I mean, you’re obviously not racing in the pro classes, but you are still very involved in the industry with photography. How did that happen?

SO: ​I have always taken pictures, even from a very young age I was expressing myself through photography and graphic design. But my love at that time was motocross and I was focused on racing and really determined to go pro, but my life changed very unexpectedly. I had a really bad crash while training at Pala Raceway in Southern California 2 days after my 14 had just switched to a 250cc four stroke coming from a 125cc two stroke, and was trying to get used to the new bike. I was pushed off balance by a gust of wind over a big finish line triple and cased it pretty bad. I was knocked out for about 10 minutes, which obviously is not a good thing. 

HHC: Wow, so you suffered some pretty bad injuries then?

SO: Yes, on my initial hospital visit the only thing that was really hurting me was my head and my leg. They did an X­ray and found I had shattered both my tibia and fibula. They told me it would take about 6­ - 8 months to recover, but 7 weeks into it the doctor discovered that I had also broken 4 toes and my ankle. I had dislocated my knee, bruised my shoulder and ended up having nerve damage in my entire right leg. I was told I might not walk again without a leg brace so riding / racing motocross was definitely not going to be in the cards. I had three surgeries and a 14­ month recovery. That was a really scary period of my life. I even wrote a book about that insane year. LOL

HHC: That’s heavy man. Really tough to come back from, is that when you really committed to photography?

SO: Well, I actually started getting back into graphic design while I was recovering from the injury. I decided to start a clothing company to help raise money for other injured riders. As time went on some of the motocross shops started carrying my designs. It’s pretty cool when you see people around town wearing your shirts. I initially started taking pictures at the track to put on my shirt designs and found that I really loved shooting moto. I also worked in the entertainment industry for a while which really helped to hone my skills in front of and behind the camera.

HHC: Did you immediately start hitting the So Cal moto tracks to get your name out there?

SO: I did start going to the tracks but not necessarily to get my name out there. I was just having fun. I was homeschooled, so I was lucky to have the freedom to start taking some college classes while I was recovering from my injury, which is where I really grew my knowledge of photography and design.

HHC: College classes, at what age, 14? SO: Yeah, haha, I was actually 14 ½ when I started taking college classes. It was funny because my dad had to come with me to class because obviously I couldn’t drive myself. Everyone just thought that we were friends, nobody suspected that he was my dad or even that I was only 14.

HHC: That’s amazing. That’s very impressive that you were motivated to learn at such a young age.

SO: Thank you. It was a great experience and those classes really helped me when I started to shoot moto seriously. I was actually 17 when I realized that I should combine my love for moto and photography. The first time I intentionally went to the track to just shot moto, I was at the Elsinore track and Cooper Webb was there. Long story short, I had a great time and Cooper reposted one of my photos on his Instagram, which was really cool for me. That confirmed for me that I was where I was supposed to be. That’s when I started hitting it hard and “trying to get my name out there”. LOL It’s all been a crazy ride from there but my real “start” into the industry came about 4 months later when I saw Simon Cudby at the San Diego Supercross in 2015 and showed him some of my photos. The next thing I knew I was interning with him and shooting for Racer X. I have been very lucky to have Simon as a friend and mentor and the support of everyone over at Racer X.

HHC: You have an incredible story and have already been very successful in this industry and your work really speaks for itself. I think it’s apparent that you are doing what you are meant to do.

SO: Thank you!  I am very lucky to be doing what I love every day. It has taken me to some very cool places and I have met some amazing people. I’m very excited to see what the future has in store for me.

HHC: And what do you have in store for the future? Or at least anything that you’re allowed to share with us?

SO: Well on the schedule for the rest of the year I have the USGP at Glen Helen, Red Bull Straight Rhythm, and Monster Energy Cup again this year. Monster Cup last year was my very first supercross event that I had ever shot so it will be great to go back there again this year. I also still contribute to the Racer Exposure column that runs in the monthly issue of Racer X Illustrated. I’m a freelance photographer so as far as projects go ... I’ll have to keep those under wraps for now . . . ;)

HHC: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down with us and share your story. We are very happy to have you as an ambassador to our brand and look forward to seeing your work in the near future!

For photography inquiries or to work with Spencer, contact: spencerowens165@gmail.com

Read more →