I presented a slideshow of Skateboard Graphics to my co-workers while we were in Maine a few weeks ago. Skateboarding and its culture had a strong influence on me during my adolescence. Skateboarding is the main reason why I pursued a career in Art and Design actually. It turns out that a few of my co-workers also had fond memories of skating. Mark Imbriaco used to skate and Jeffrey Hardy still does. Jason Fried used to light his Vision Gator deck on fire and ride it down the street. Now that’s hardcore!
Powell Peralta, Santa Cruz, etc.
Ah the ‘80s. The graphics of V. Courtlandt Johnson and Jim Phillips are iconic. Menacing, horrid, grimey. Punk Rock and Metal. I would spend endless hours drawing skeletons and dragons in my school notebooks. During this time, all graphics were influenced by this style. However, as the 80’s came to a close that would change.
The graphics for World Industries changed the industry. They were different than the usual skulls and gore that were popular at the time. Artists Marc McKee and Sean Cliver introduced an element of wit and pop-culture commentary that would take the entire industry in a different direction. World Industries gave birth to Big Brother magazine which in turn gave birth to Jackass.
Mark Gonzales and Neil Blender
I loved it when skaters did their own board graphics. I should have also included Ed Templeton in the presentation too. These guys weren’t just great skaters but also incredible visual artists in their own right.
Chocolate is a company that broke away from World Industries. Their graphics continue to innovate. Artists like Evan Hecox take seemingly mundane images like guitars and soda bottles and elevate them to art by putting them on skateboards.
Obviously this is all just scratching the surface. There is so much more to explore with skate graphics and skate culture. Here’s my presentation below. I’d love to hear your stories about skateboarding and how skate culture has influenced you.