Friday, June 4, 2010

Skate Art Satire

By far my favourite thing about skateboard art is that it's constantly self-referencing and satirising.

Take these Welinder, Hawk and Rodriguez decks with their iconic VCJ* skull graphics; The images were prolific enough to trigger instant recall in anyone who saw even a corner of one not obscured by stickers.

Compare these later decks for Rudy Johnson, Jason Lee and Mark Gonzalez, and what you get is a small grin forming at the edges of your mouth. These are from the then-newly created blind skateboards, a company started by Gonzalez. The decks were a response to a Powell Peralta ad which poked fun at blind, and other new smaller skate companies like World Industries and Flip, which involved former riders of theirs.

Want to see how Powell handled it?


VCJ* is an acronym for Vernon Courtland Johnson, the artist responsible for all Powell Peralta art in the 80's. He seems to have vanished into obscurity, save for some new work, and a collaboration with the mighty Jim Phillips, for Pocket Pistols. Unlike the former, the latter has many books out liberally packed with eyeball-popping graphics and continues to turn out amazing and extremely influential artwork.