Caia Koopman, who is a renowned artist living in San Diego, was born and raised in California and was skating during the late 1980s and early 1990s. In an interview for Snowboardmag.com, she shared that “I grew up identifying with the punk rock skater scene in Northern California. Hair bleached white, tons of eyeliner, learned to skate ditches, pools and Derby Park; the good old days were a lot of fun. These days I’m skateboarding with my boyfriend’s 9 year old, but snowboarding more because landing in snow is much friendlier than cement.”
A photo of Caia skateboarding Derby Park appeared in the zine Equal Time (Vol 1. No. 3) in 1989, created by Lynn Kramer.
Caia attended University of California Santa Cruz from 1987-1991, starting out as a math major and then switching to art halfway through her program. Caia earned a bachelor’s degree in art, which led her to a freelance job with NHS to create her first t-shirt graphic, followed by Wave Rave snowboard apparel.
Caia then moved to the mountains for snowboarding, living in Utah and Colorado which led her to pursue a career in snowboarding graphics with some major action sports companies (K2, Morrow, Joyride, Roxy, Hurley, Volcom, Acme, Hyperlite, OP, Rossignol, Oakley). Caia cultivated her own iconic style, described as pop surrealism, and has tended to represent women in her artwork. In her LinkedIn account she notes that the female characters, “are imbued with this fearless sense of defiance.”
Her creations will be familiar, as they have been featured in many art exhibits and celebrated in Juxtapoz magazine. Caia’s work has also been reproduced at the micro level, such as pandemic masks and adorable women’s “Love U” socks for the Tony Hawk Pro Skater Collection, all the way to the macro, in some huge murals like her seawall painting “Let’s Solve the Dissolve” in Santa Cruz, which she created in September 2021.
As a skater librarian, I was especially stoked to see her designs for a beautiful children’s book called Umijoo: the wondrous tale of a curious girl and her journey under the sea (2019) by Casson Trenor.
Check out Caia’s website here.
- Hargrove, Kelli Lynn. “First Friday: the eclectic art of Caia Koopman.” Snowboard magazine. November 15, 2013.