By Jason Hitchcock | Photos By Hesh Photo
Darin Roth, or Drain, is an interesting and talented transplant from Oklahoma to the Denver area. Loving all things bicycle, he rides through the streets on an assortment of hodgepodge creations that he has welded together. With his focus mainly on his artistic endeavors, Darin has started to make his way in the Denver art scene, winning first place in Truly Rejected’s T-shirt design contest and hanging his works in art galleries around the Denver area.
When I was five years old my parents had just divorced. My Mom, younger brother and I moved into a new house on a hill in Wray, Colorado. On my 5th birthday I was taken to a Wal-Mart to pick a bike. The bike I wanted had some sweet plastic on it, making it look like a motorcycle, but it had training wheels and my Dad wouldn’t let me get it. If I wanted to take a bike home that day, it was two wheels or none. I chose the two. Later that day I really learned about pain. There was a hill by our house. I walked it to the top of that hill, turned it around, got on it and started rolling back down the hill for maybe five seconds before I hit a big gopher hole and flipped and rolled through all kinds of goat head patches. I was crying my eyes out and my Mom was pulling the goat heads out from all over my whole body. I got back on my bike that day. I’ve gone through that kind of cycle with my bike countless times since then and I guess I’ll never learn.
From the day I got my first bike I was constantly trying to jump over something or ride wheelies. When I turned ten or eleven I really started getting into the BMX culture. We moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had been saving up for a new bike for a couple years from birthday and Christmas money so I bought a Diamondback Joker right after we moved which was the day after my last day of 6th grade. I spent that entire summer with no friends, riding my new shitty bike, which seemed real sweet at the time. Riding BMX kept me going and I was able to get a clothing sponsor and because I was always looking at all this really great design work it ended up giving me a bit of an inspiration.
My first real art experience was on a Halloween night when I was about five years old. There was an event going on at the community center and they had a coloring contest for kids within a certain age group who wanted to enter. So I entered it. I remember everyone sitting in a big circle in this room and we were all told to color the same thing: a Halloween-like version of a troll - the little pudgy rascals with crazy hair! So we were allowed very “minimal” help from our parents or babysitters. The only help I had was simply what colors I wanted to use and I did the rest. Man, I really thought mine was looking good. Solid colors and all inside the lines. I think my only focus was not letting the crayon go outside of any lines - ever. So I thought it was really rad when it was finished. Then we had to turn them in, and this “kid” turns his in...That was the moment I had my first art revelation. The hair had highlights in it; every part of it had shadows and highlights added to make it look real. Its pudgy little belly was really round; it looked like it was popping off the page. I was blown away that something like that was created in the same room I was sitting in. I also learned what a cheater was that day. That kid’s babysitter inspired me though. Not to babysit little kids and cheat for them at community events, but she introduced me to the idea of art and the potential that we all hold within ourselves.
Outside of the clothing magazines from BMX companies, I was never really into art. I didn’t take it serious but that started to change when I got into high school and got to take an advertising class at a tech school. I was able to experiment in a lot of different kinds of art forms. I learned t-shirt printing and other media. It opened my eyes a lot. Then I had to go back to school with my regular art teacher who I didn’t think was an artist at all.
Every year Bixby, Oklahoma had the Green Corn Festival. We had an assignment to make a poster for it and I just grabbed crappy markers and I drew it in half an hour. It always looked like a child did it. So I would draw a guy eating corn or something.
My senior year I still did the poster in five minutes and almost turned it in. I stopped myself and looked at it and realized I had to make a choice and do a good job and win it or just turn in the same shitty poster I always did. So I won it. I did a huge ear of corn 3D cartoony style with the dates and stuff, I got a 100 buck and lunch with the town council, I turned down the lunch.