"TAC is a union of die-hard individuals who continually push the limits of [boarding] life—Surf, Skate, Skim, Ride, Live—TAC does it all. Made by riders, for riders."
The origin of TAC dates back over a decade ago when a group of groms began skimming Castle beach (aka Third Ave Beach in Santa Cruz, Ca) on the regular. Growing up in the area also got us skating, surfing, and just about anything else that incorporates a board. Inspired by our heroes, and driven by a desire to continually push the limits, we prided ourselves on our aggressive style (surf, skate, skim, snow, wake, dirt, whatever...) and general ridiculousness.
Recognizing the unique nature of the break and the friendships that it made possible, Ben K. put pen to paper and tried to capture the spirit of those early days, and propel that spirit forward. Today we are stoked to have so many talented artists and riders contributing to this unique project! We can't wait to see what the future has in store.
Likely acronyms for TAC:
- Third Ave Crew
- TAC Apparel Company
- The Apparel Company
- The Artist Collaborative
Ben K. Bio (TAC History Long Version)
My name is Ben Koscielniak, (ka-sholl-knee-ack) aka Ben K. I have been creating art my whole life and it all started around the age of 4 or 5, my mom was a single parent and most of the time i needed to be occupied with something or else id be left stir crazy. Growing up with the attention span of a fly doesn't work well with the regular everyday activities. I couldn't just play video games or watch tv or what have you. I had to be doing it all, all the time.
Drawing came about, because it was one more thing i could wrap my head around. I never really thought i was a natural at art, i just didn't really have that side of the brain yet. My mom eventually bought me this sweet "how to draw animals" book one day and it was on. I was so intrigued by it, i loved art. Its the one thing that is constantly changing and never the same. Although like i mentioned, i had a very slight to extreme case of the usuals (A.D.D) so at this time i wasn't able to focus a whole bunch of time on it. It made me anxious.
Throughout school, my favorite activity was drawing, whether it be, how good i can draw this letter, or how perfect i can draw this wave, i loved art. It was the one schoolastic activity besides recess that i enjoyed.
I think it was in Jr. High when I officially decided i wanted to be an artist for a living, or a graphic designer. Even though my confidence wasn't really there with the drawing aspect, i knew it was my calling, i knew that if i could be doing something that I had a passion for, i could actually enjoy my career. Throughout high school i continued with art, taking classes, drawing more, we even had a graphic arts ROP program at school. It was around that time that I came up with the acronym "TAC", it stood for "Third Ave Crew". It was strickly a joke, had no real meaning. I lived and grew up on a street called "Third Ave", and of course there were others that grew up on that street or near, so we became the unofficial "Third Ave Crew".
Growing up in Santa Cruz and in a very strong surf/skate culture, I started taking a lot of interest in Graphitti Art, it was all over! All sorts of colors and designs and characters it was awesome growing up surrounded by that. I started writing "TAC" on everything, it just sort of became the normal, and everyone knew who was "TAC" and what "TAC" stood for. My drawing skills had also really started to develop and my style started shaping up.
After graduating high school, i focused a lot of my time on skimboarding. I had turned pro just after my 17th birthday and i really wanted to make a name for myself in the skimboarding community. After a few years of traveling and skimming, i decided it was time to do a little growing up, so i started checking out colleges. I had been kinda going to our local community college "Cabrillo" but really hadn't felt like i was going anywhere there. In 2003, i enrolled in Brooks College of Sunnyvale, it was a huge decision, and a shit ton of money. I was scared, was graphic design really something i could do? Could i really spend hours upon hours everyday doing art? I didnt' know, but i knew at that time that skimboarding wasn't going to take me anywhere and i still needed to make a name for myself.
I did it, i made it through and eventually graduated from Brooks. Only 5 of the people who started with me made it through the whole program, at that point i finally felt somewhat like i had accomplished something. It was also around that time that i created the branding for TAC Apparel, i think i spent about 10 minutes one day and bam, i had it, i just knew it when i looked at it.
So, i had the TAC logo, i had no website, no clothing, nothing, but i had a logo. It was a start. The wheels really started rollin at that point, i got my first official job as a graphic designer at a local design firm called "Sleepless Media" and let me tell you, i was pumped out of my mind! Working there allowed me to really craft my style, and also build TAC as a brand. My boss then, Jon, really helped me learn the ways of design beyond what i had learned in school, he allowed me to have complete creative freedom. That in itself was worth a million bucks to me, how could i have possibly landed a job so sweet that i really already had say in what i was doing. It was awesome, i eventually took over on all the print design and even started doing some really sweet web design at Sleepless.
After about a year of working there i started making connections within the business, i met all kinds of people from screen printers to designers, which then led to my first order of TAC stickers. I made a order of 3 sizes, and had a total of about 2000 stickers, it was a real milestone for me and TAC. From that point on i put TAC stickers on everything, and i mean everything, i gave them away to friends who also put them on everything. You cant drive down Portola ave in Santa Cruz without seeing at least one.
Still no clothing yet, a shit ton of stickers, no website, we were killing it(haha)! After just a couple months people started reckonizing the logo, i would hear people all the time "what is TAC" "I like that logo" "I see that thing everywhere, thats you?" and yes, still no clothing. It wasn't until about 2007 that i finally made the first TAC shirt, it was a one color design, very simple and featured the TAC mascot "Chomper". At the very same time i had just thrown together a very basic website and got the shirts and stickers up for sale. Everything was very exciting, I was really starting to build this brand, i thought.
Months went by of being only slightly inspired, work was rough, and i was skimboarding, surfing and snowboarding much less. Pretty much all i did was work, and i was burning out bigtime. I went through a bit of a rough patch, kinda really let myself fall off, i wasn't happy with my life. But, why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up. I gradually pulled myself outta my rut that i created, started skimming more, started hanging with friends more, just started livin again. It took awhile, a long time, i had a lot of growing up to do(and still do), but i was doing good again, i had a goal and something in sight that i wanted. I knew that i wasn't going to be working for someone else for the rest of my life, i knew i had to make this "TAC" thing happen.
So here i am again, full force, no stopping, sleep when you die, thats the mentallity you have to have. Not one person in your life is going to do it for you, you gotta take that bull by the horns and make shit happen. I had grown past the point that something was just going to fall in my lap, i mean when does it ever? So here i am, making it happen, you just gotta, right? What the hell else is life worth living for if you dont make the best of it? TAC is my life, my breathe and my child.