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Nanaimo artist lands underwear deal

Russ Morland displays a sample design of a specialty line of underwear that his artwork adorns. The line is sold through snow and skateboard shops across North America. - MELISSA FRYER/The News Bulletin
Russ Morland displays a sample design of a specialty line of underwear that his artwork adorns. The line is sold through snow and skateboard shops across North America.
— image credit: MELISSA FRYER/The News Bulletin

You find the lurkers in the most unlikely of places.

That’s probably how the creatures, creations from the mind of Nanaimo artist Russ Morland, got their moniker.

Now the characters can be found on men’s underwear through My Pakage, specially designed for athletes in action sports, in skate and snowboard shops across North America.

“It’s kind of funny,” Morland said. “I think that’s why I was so stoked to do it.”

Morland operates out of his tattoo shop and art gallery Electric Umbrella in the Old City Quarter, where he creates original art pieces on skin and canvas. The lurkers, recognizable for their fantastical, animal-like appearance with multiple eyes, horns and limbs, began to appear more than a decade ago when Morland worked in a skate shop in the Old City not far from his current shop.

The deal with My Pakage, a Canadian-based, specialty underwear line, came about while Morland was painting on site during a skateboard lifestyle tradeshow in Vancouver last year. He was introduced to company owners through a friend.

“I just asked them,” he said. “I work on that whole ‘you don’t know until you ask’.

“Sometimes, it works out.”

Morland designed a square tile for the company, which put it into a repeating pattern to create rolls of soft, stretching and sweat-wicking fabric. The boxer-briefs are specially designed to support male anatomy while peforming tricks, stunts and other manoeuvres on skate and snowboards.

But they’re also good for wearing day-to-day.

“They’re the most comfortable underwear I’ve ever worn – and I’m not just saying that,” Morland said.

It’s not the only fashion design that Morland is involved in – he’s currently in the early stages of a design process with a major shoe company. That project, he said, is still on the drawing board and is expected to take years to complete. But each project helps build momentum to allow the artist to make a living from his creations.

“I think it will only keep going,” he said.

My Pakage with Morland’s design is available locally at Island Riders.

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