When you start something new, you never know if it will completely change the trajectory of your life. Skateboarding did just that for Scarlett Markham, owner and creator of Flour Pail Kids based out of Rochester, New York. Scarlett hung around skaters as a kid, and though she admits she was more of a rollerblader, the skateboarders let her practice on their boards. She loved the non-competitive nature of skating and craved learning new things. Scarlett picked skateboarding up again as an adult when she lived in Brooklyn, and she attributes the creation of Flour Pail Kids to her renewed interest in skating.
Scarlett is a lifelong doodler who habitually saves many of her drawings. While living in Brooklyn, Scarlett both worked and sketched artwork in her free time. She felt that the zine scene was “kind of [her] vibe” and upon returning to Rochester in 2014, Scarlett gathered her collection of doodles into her own zine called “Flour Pail Kids.” She pitched the zine to Krudco Skate owner Aaron Costa who took a chance on Flour Pail Kids and began selling it in the shop. Scarlett counts Aaron as one of her biggest supporters, giving her a start and having confidence in her abilities. “He’s been like my wingman. He was the first one to sell anything of mine,” she said. “I was handing him trash paper, and he was okay with it! He said ‘yeah, I’ll sell it!’” Scarlett has drawn inspiration for Flour Pail Kids from the Cabbage Patch parody “Garbage Pail Kids” movies, and Rochester’s history as a flour mill city. “I just feel like I like everything!” Scarlett said, naming cats and comic books as other sources of inspiration.
As her art began to take off, Scarlett wanted to do more with it. She wanted to make pins of her work, but enamel is fairly expensive. She realized she had a lot of broken skateboards sitting around and decided to challenge herself by recycling the wood and making pins with old skateboards. “It was because of skating that I started making pins.” Now that she has had the opportunity to sell her work for a few years, Scarlett admits she could make the switch to enamel but prefers the uniqueness of her entirely handmade, upcycled wood pins. Her art takes an intense amount of work - from de-gripping boards to sawing and sanding out shapes to weatherproofing - but no two pins are the same, making the hard work worth it to Scarlett.