The YOW Artist Series was created in 2020 to invite artists from around the world to explore different themes that we feel are central to the human experience, as well as to the surfskate community itself.

In its first edition, the 2020 Artist Series featured 4 artists from 4 different countries who contributed one-of-a-kind designs according to the theme of “Origin.” These limited-release boards were immediately popular, and sold out within weeks to every corner of the globe.

Now, with our 2021 Artist Series, we’ve returned to visit another key question of existence: Time. We teamed up with the trailblazing Spanish painter and illustrator, Mercedes Bellido, to create the custom Mercedes Bellido 34” surfskate board. With a strikingly unique combination of natural and occult symbols, her design investigates the cyclical and fleeting nature of Time.

Born in 1991 in Zaragoza, Spain, Mercedes Bellido is a painter and illustrator currently based in Madrid – and at the forefront of contemporary Spanish art.

Inspired by surrealist masters such as Giorgio de Chirico and René Magritte, Bellido’s paintings effortlessly create an aura of mystery and symbolic power, where nothing is what it seems and every little detail has a story to tell.

The artist’s enigmatic work often blurs the lines between good and evil, between beauty and decay, inviting the viewer to reconsider the assumptions they make about life, death, and everything that hangs in the balance.

And her metaphysical style – which she dubs “Baroque surrealism” – evokes both the mystical and macabre through recurring motifs of skulls, stars, tarot cards, and tattered polaroids. Yet she often pairs such sinister symbols with the flora and fauna of our natural world, including fruits, flowers and wild animals such as panthers, snakes, and birds of prey.

Given her prowess as one of the most sought-after Spanish visual artists active today, we are honored to feature Bellido’s world of occult symbols and vivid color palettes in our 2021 YOW Artist Series with the Mercedes Bellido 34” board.

One of the cornerstones of human intelligence – and an enduring riddle of the mind – is our ability to transcend the physical and entertain the world of concepts: Love, Justice, God, etc. And among these abstract ideas, we find a very real phenomenon that we all experience, yet cannot see, smell, or touch: Time, or the “indefinite and continued progress of events and existence.”

Questions about time have vexxed philosophers from Plato to Lao Tzu, Darwin to Einstein. What causes the sun to rise each morning, and to set each evening? Why is youth wasted on the young? Is time travel actually possible? (If so, why didn’t anyone show up to Stephen Hawking’s 2009 cocktail party for time travelers?)

On the surface, it seems like Time – with its changing of seasons, its turning of clocks and its moving of Earth round the sun – should be a straightforward and convenient way to measure life as it is lived. Yet anyone who has experienced an hour of skating with friends and an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic will tell you: each of us experiences time in a way that is rarely pure and never simple.

For us here at YOW, the most compelling metaphor for time is the sea. With their ebb and flow that is somehow both transient and eternal, the seas and oceans of the world will outlast any human civilization, and even life on Earth as we know it. When we surf, we attempt to become one with that perpetual motion, if only for a moment – to ride each wave until it breaks, again and again, until we’re whipped and it’s time to go home.

Our YOW Artist Series 2021 seeks to explore these ideas further, and spark inspiration in our community. So we’ve commissioned the renowned Spanish contemporary artist, Mercedes Bellido, to create a limited-edition board design that reflects her own personal and creative concept of Time.

For this design, Mercedes Bellido has turned to Japanese folklore to create an elegant and harmonious layout. Its imagery is serene and idyllic, but full of occult symbolism that references both the eternal and ephemeral.

BAKENEKOS: Two bakenekos (化け猫, “changed cat”) feature prominently in the center, and they are a form of Japanese yōkai, known as spirits or apparitions. In this case, the bakenekos are mischievous feline phantoms that grow more tails when they live for more than 100 years.

CHERRY BLOSSOM: Also known as sakura (桜 or 櫻), the cherry tree is an iconic part of popular Japanese culture. The short-lived bloom of the cherry blossom each spring is deeply symbolic, as it is associated with the fleeting nature of time, beauty, and life itself.

OUROBOROS: Originating in Ancient Greek magic (οὐρά ‘tail’ plus -βορός ‘-eating’), the ouroboros is the striking symbol of a serpent eating its own tail, an endless circle that represents the cycle of life and death repeating forever.

MOUNT FUJI: As a cultural icon of Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Mount Fuji is profoundly meaningful to many people. And as a mountain, it’s an ancient symbol of eternity as mountains take millions of years to form.

LUNAR PHASES: A classic nod to the cyclical nature of time and the revolution of the moon around the earth.