Last night at Semi-Permanent Andrew Johnstone asked Michael Leon why he thought there seemed to be so many skaters who are also creative (skateboarding being a recurring theme with Semi-Permanent speakers of the past 9 years).
Michael didn't really have an answer, but I know a lot of creatives who used to be skaters, some never stopped, some are getting back into it.
Skateboarding culture and graphics (especially graphics from the 80's) are things that most if not all these guys love and respect to this day.
I thought I'd try to entice you once were grommets out of the woodwork. Perhaps share some old skate stories and photos, or scans of skateboarding memorabilia, especially graphics. New school skaters welcome too of-course. :)
I'm hoping the thread will serve as inspiration for anyone, whether you skated, skate or not, so dig deep, get gnarly and post away!
I used to skate, A LOT! I would get about 5 quid for a weekly paper round which meant I could go to town on Saturday with my mates and skate our hearts out. Actual ledges and decent stairs... there was nothing but cow turd and rivers where I grew up. If we blagged the train then I could get a burger or something, otherwise it was halves on a box of hot chips.
I only gave up because I was out of it at some party and left my board there, just never got a new one! I was about 23 I think... so was riding for about 8 years. Got a stack of broken boards in my mums loft back in the UK, always wanted to do something with them... was never sure of what though?
When we got to college we were able to borrow videos cameras etc, made a couple of dodgy videos. I haven't got any photos of those days out here though, it's all in the mother land. Feeling nostalgic now! :-)
Transworld Skateboarding is what got me in design in the first place. It wasn't until I saw David Carson speak at Semi-permanent that I realised he was the Art Director for the magazine. Little did I know it was Carson who inspired me into design in the first place.
I used to be able to draw this from memory, perfectly!
Here's an old photo of me and my crew back in 89? The Bones Brigade Tour in Bendigo, I'm in the front with the yellow Stussy t-shirt. We spent the day skating with Tony Hawk, Bucky Lasek and Frankie Hill.
That's amazing stuff hairy... my first set of wheels were lime green Powel's. Got them off a kid at school for 8 quid. Could of got him to bring them in the next day but wanted them sooo bad I cycled 4 miles to get them that night.
Skateboarding exploded when the Bones Brigade toured Australia in the late 80's. There were quite a lot of skaters around before they came, but after they came everyone jumped on the bandwagon.
My first memory of skateboarding culture: I was in art class and a mate of mine David Birtles was looking through a skateboard magazine (Thrasher). I remember only one page form that magazine. It was an advertisement for a skate shop and the entire page was covered in all the different boards they sold. The board graphics that stood out on the page, and burnt an impression in my memory were the Vision Psycho Stick and also the Gator board.
I had to have a board. I had no money and I begged my Dad to buy me one, which he did eventually. I got my first board from Surf Dive and Ski on George street in the city. There was a guy there, Thrash was his name, he was rad. I picked out a Powell Peralta Lance Mountain future primitive board. It was a complete. I bought some rails and a tailbone, nose bone too and I totally killed the board using my Dad's power drill getting the stuff on. I remember crying because I screwed up the board with the hammer drill. HAHA.
I got bitten by the bug pretty bad thanks to a group of skaters at school. Every single day I'd get home and skate in my backyard until the sun went down. It was all about learning how to ollie back then, then from there it was all about how high could you ollie (I ended up being able to ollie over 6 boards).
I soon realised that the board I had was way too big for me so I went out and bought a new "mini" deck.
Check the stupid board shape, which got destroyed in flip trick attempts. So cool though in retrospect.
Some other decks I've owned:
Note the melting Salvador Dali like clocks (I was into Dali's work much later).
Chriss Miller G&S.
Dad bought me this back from one of his many Hong Kong trips. On the phone he said it was a black board. I was so hoping it was going to be Tony Hawk's last deck for Powell. A limited edition all black board with a Tony Hawk logo on it. When I got this ugly thing my heart sank (haha).
I continued to skate every day after school and in the city on the weekends. We watched Animal Chin, a legendary skate video which changed the way we skated. The Bones Brigade in the video were looking for Animal Chin, it's a "journey is the destination" kinda message and we took that on big time. IE: Constantly skating through the city and the suburbs "chin searching" - looking for cool skate spots.
At some point the Australian public got sick to death of skateboarders. They tried to shut us down and riding a skateboard became illegal. Kids were having their boards confiscated by police. A lot of skate parks were built in an attempt to get kids to stop skating on the streets but street skating was way more fun than skating ramps (in my opinion). Despite the loud "skateboarding is not a crime" stickers we wore with pride police continued to confiscate boards and skaters (myself) disappeared.
I tried my hand at vert (ramp) skating. I got OK at it, but it just never felt the same as "Chin searching". I gave up. I got back into skating a little bit during university, with a mate who also gave up for similar reasons in high school and during the early years of work I hooked up with Ash Bolland from Umeric who was into skating but I've never truly gotten back into it.
I've bought a couple of the new school paddle pop style boards. I'm not into them. Too thin and I hate the tiny wheels (I've always had massive T-Bone wheels on my boards).
Like hairycow. I spent a lot of time in high school drawing that Caballero dragon!
Signed Merda glow in the dark deck.
Workhorses. The old Hosoi Hammerhead with T-bone wheels, Bones swiss bearings (first set I bought from my first skateboard purchase ever, still going strong!) and tracker trucks.
Over the years I've always bought boards though, as art. I've got them up on my lounge room wall (the stairs going up into the house).
After Semi I'm inspired to design my own board. I've heard that there are a few old school skaters, who are also creatives by day, and they're starting a crew and hitting the parks. I want in on this action so I'll be building up a couple of boards soon. Can't wait :)
Perhaps the video that forever changed all skate videos. Less on the pros, more on new blood. High energy, insane soundtrack and Ray Barbee (his deck had a huge nose on it, so close to a double kick deck). Danny Way too.