In this day and age it’s pretty difficult to stand out in BMX. It takes a lot of drive and motivation to pave your own path but that is exactly what Eben Fischer is doing. He has been busy behind the scenes working on creating some amazing and 100% original artwork for his company Cement Face aka CEM. He is a true artist that takes pride in his work and regardless of whether or not he is creating a piece for his own company or working on a project for someone like Chris Cole he gives it everything he has and doesn’t settle for less than perfect. It’s that kind of dedication and attention to detail that makes Cemface stand out from the crowd. He spends hours, days, weeks and at times months working and dialing in new designs and although he works for himself and makes his own rules he is truly dedicated to his craft and simply wants to give back to BMX and contribute to the industry that helped shape who he is as a person. I took some time to head down to Long Beach straight to the Cemface headquarters and hung out with Eben and got the chance to pick his brain a little bit. Check out a quick glance into Eben’s world for the 34th edition of TTL.
Go ahead and give us a little info about yourself.
My name is Eben Fischer, I am 28 years old from Quincy Illinois but I have been living in Long Beach, CA for the past five years.
What originally inspired you to get drawing and painting?
Pretty much my whole life I have been drawn to art. Whether it was watercolor painting or coloring with crayons. My parents took notice of that and put me in classes at an art center and got me into taking some lessons as well.
What are the main mediums you work with these days?
The past ten years I have been working a lot doing automotive airbrushing and then as of the last couple years I have been working a lot more with ink, color pencils, water colors, and acrylic paint. I try to keep it pretty broad and try to mix it up as much as I can.
What is your favorite to work with and why?
I guess I don’t really have a favorite but I appreciate the different techniques that go along with each medium. I have always been drawn more to the shading and effects that you get from each style as opposed to choosing one over the others.
What is it that you do exactly for work these days?
I do a lot of freelance automotive airbrushing still whether it be for cars, trucks, motorcyles or whatever but over the past few years I have been trying to get more into illustrations and designs.
What originally brought you out West?
I wanted to try and pursue BMX and automotive air brushing as well. There is a really large scene for both out here. I ended up getting a full time gig at a custom hot rod shop out here within the first month that I moved and spent the first two years working there and trying to build up a clientele and get me to a competitive level in the auto industry. Originally my focus was riding but as the years go by I have been pursuing my art work more and more.
All of your stuff is hand drawn/painted so what are your thoughts on that being that we live in the digital age?
It’s just something that I have never really been drawn to or had the desire to learn. It makes sense and there is definitely a lot of cool looking work out there done on the computer but a lot of it has to do with me really enjoying the process of actually drawing and painting by hand. I appreciate the little flaws that come from working by hand. Sometimes coffee stains and smudges can tell a story.
When did you officially start Cement Face?
Cement Face started loosely in 2010 and a few designs have been going for a while but in the past year especially the last six months we have really tried to put a lot more focus into it figuring out which way to go and just make it happen.
Who has helped out so far with getting things going with the company?
I do all of the artwork and run the creative side, Cody Cambell has been running the online store and doing the web side of things, Morgan Long has been helping out with the team and Wes McGrath shot all of the photos for our first catalog. Nate Richter has also helped a bunch with promoting the company and getting the word out.
How many current t-shirt designs do you have?
We have around ten original designs at the moment with more to come.
On average how much time do you spend on each design?
I would stay anywhere from about ten to fourty-plus hours. It’s a labor of love too. I don’t work on a new design and watch the clock I just kind of loosely keep track of the time I spend on each piece.
What is the process to creating a shirt from start to finish?
Sometimes I get really stuck in a rut where I will start one design and work on it straight until it’s done. I also try to mix it up and get multiple designs started at once just to be a little more productive.
What is a typical day for you?
I wake up around 8am, get ready, eat breakfast and start working around 9 or 10am. Even if it’s my own artwork I still try to think of it as a regular job. So usually I will work seven days a week. I work throughout the day and if I go out and ride I come back and work at night. A lot of times if I am just throwing around ideas and doing sketch work I can work into the night but if I am inking something out and it’s late I might put it off and start fresh in the morning. I guess every day is a different day.
What are some of the ups and downs of working for yourself?
You have no boss, no one looking over your shoulder and the biggest thing is having your own creative control. The biggest downfall is not having a steady income. One month you might kill it but then there might be a few slow months after that. You have to be careful with your money and make sure your bills are taken care of during those good times. If you enjoy what you are doing the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
What advice do you have for any young aspiring artists out there?
It’s the same as riding and first of all you have to enjoy it and love doing it. It takes a lot of time to find your style and find what you are best at. I think the best advice is to just follow your instinct and have fun with it. The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.
What goals do you have for Cement Face for the future?
I guess to try and have it be a street wear brand rooted in BMX. I also want to work more with the team and work on taking some trips and also do some video projects.”
Who is on the team now?
Bobbie Altiser, Morgan Long, Dan Kruk and Sean Morr have all been a part of it since the beginning and they are the main dudes that we have been working with so far.
What current projects do you have in the works?
Right now I just want to try and stay focused on getting on a production schedule, overseeing everything and structuring the team. We also want to work on some sort of mix tape DVD at some point as well. For winter we want to have some crew necks, some hoodies, beanies and ¾ sleeve shirts.
Are you guys doing any advertising yet?
We are planning on doing some online and print advertising eventually but right now we are focusing on hitting up a bunch of local jams and more core contests to support the scene and promote the brand from the ground level. We are headed to Texas Toast this weekend and want to be able to meet face to face with potential customers and spread the word that way.
If anyone wanted to get their hands on some Cement Face gear how would they go about that?
Right now all of our designs are available on our online store and they retail anywhere from $17.99-$19.99. You can also pick up our stuff at Dan’s Comp as well. If any shops are interested in carrying Cement Face feel free to get a hold of us.”
Any shout-outs and thanks?
I want to thank Morgan Long, Cody Campbell, Sean Morr, Bobbie Altiser, Arnold Vigoa, Sam from Tree, Nathan Parker, anyone who is buying or supporting Cement Face, any shops and clients that have hired me, any of my previous sponsors for helping me get to where I am today, BMX Union for the interview, Larry Hitchcock, George Hornig, Josh Delcour, Coby Klauser, and I also want to thank my parents.
If you are presented with an opportunity take it and run with it.
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If this week’s feature inspires anyone to pick up a paintbrush, marker, pencil or whatever else you can create some art with then my goal would be complete. It’s always a struggle to pursue any kind of art for a living and a means to make money but if it’s what you love to do, you have to just go for it. Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the thirty-fifth edition of Through the Lens and as always feel free to leave any questions in the comments section or email me at [email protected] and I will hit you back as soon as I can. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @jeremypavia.