As there will be one-month gaps between each “Memory Screened” page in Skateboarder, I figured out I’d fill the blanks with a bunch of interviews and whatnots just, well, cause those are extremely important issues that need to be addressed. My first question mark? This intriguing Black Label John Cardiel board that says “Dogtown skates” on it (see post below). To me, a symbol of home made times when skateboarding was not so serious, and when lawyers and copyrights belonged to the industries of the “other” world. So between two sobs of old-fart despair I cornered the graphic’s author, Nate Carrico, and pretty much asked him the mother of all questions: What the fuck ?
When did you start doing skateboard graphics?
“Officially? October of 1989. I was 21 and it was a dream come true. My friend Ross Goodman rode for Santa Cruz at the time and Santa Cruz was in a search for an artist to add to their art department after a separation from Jim Philips. I think Ross told someone to call me. I was a doodler that became an apprentice to two of awesome artists, Johnny “Mojo” Munnerlyn and Kevin Marburg.” From there I worked for NHS (all their brands) and some random others; the Cardiel DTS/Black Label graphic being one example.
I stayed ther for one year in 1989, then left to go back to school and work at a skatepark in Sacramento. The “back to school” thing lasted a year, that’s when I did the Cardiel board. Not sure if the graphic for John happened because he was a regular at the skatepark and knew I drew pictures or… If JJ Rogers, a friend of mine that was on Dogtown, recommended me to Jim Muir. The events are blurry. I remember being totally stoked to make a graphic for Cardiel because he was/is an amazing skateboardist and a Sacto local.”
Did you do this graphic specifically for John Cardiel?
“Yes. I’m not clear whether the idea came from John or we came up with it together or Jim Muir gave me the idea. I’m sure it wasn’t a drawing I had laying around waiting for a home because if I drew something on my own it would have a skull in it somewhere.”
How did it fit Cardiel, you think?
“Uh… I actually don’t think it fit him. I think I let John down with that graphic. As a piece of art it’s poor on many levels. I’m sure John has good reasons for picking that graphic as a favorite, but he deserves better art. Some time later, he had an Evel Knievel graphic, just the V stripes with stars. At any rate, if there was a skateboarder who deserved the title “Evel Knievel of skateboarding” it was John. Every time Cardiel rode he put on a show and he went huge. Didn’t matter if the crowd was two buddies of his or 50 kids at a demo. And many times you were watching him for the spectacular crashes too. Though, an Evel Knievel graphic is closer, it still doesn’t fit. John is an original and deserves something original. Something bold and fearless?”
How did it end up on a Black Label board?
“I think John’s account is pretty much the way it went down. Lucero called and I sent the art. I might have gotten a couple boards out of the deal.”
Was Jim Muir bummed at all?
“Alzheimer’s and selective memory filters are in place but… I don’t think Jim was bummed. I would say Jim was the kind of guy that would be bummed for me because the graphic work I did wasn’t going to be made and sold. But I never spoke to Jim Muir after the original job in 1990.”
What did you do after that and what are you up to these days?
“In 1991 I returned to NHS and begged for my job back, I worked there until 1998. Nowadays I work at an in-house design department for a video game company.”
What’s the best and worst thing about doing board graphics?
“Best: getting your art permanently applied to a skateboard that’s distributed and sold. Worst: getting your art permanently applied to a skateboard that’s distributed and sold. Because I’ve made some horrible art in my time.”