(Photo by the ever-awesome Sean Cronan)
Writing this page is kind of like giving yourself absurd Top Chef-style challenges. Only it doesn’t involve cooking a delicious, raffiné dish with car tires and Dr Pepper (naked, with no pans or stove) while former Guantanamo guards taze you with pepper spray. All in four minutes.
So after the Salbas and the Mountains, this month’s Tom Collicchio-free challenge consisted of finding a recent pro that went through at least two or three different graphically interesting companies in the past decade. Easy? Not if we talk about modern-days, fluo-free companies, and even less if you try to find a pro that had an input on his graphics so he has something to say about them. It comes down to a handfull of dudes, really. Upstate-Newyorkan/Tucson transplant Aaron Suski is one of them. Maybe because he spent most of his career on one of the most graphically slept-on companies, 5boro? Or maybe cause his first board was “not that hot as far as graphics go,” as he says –it was a Jeff Grosso Enjoy- leading him to a long Natas-only stint? Whatever the reason, Suski picked his five faves out of his three board sponsors. Your time… starts… now!
“That was my first pro-model ever, so I was pretty excited when this came out. Basically Dylan took my sketch book after I went on a 5Boro trip to England for a couple weeks, where I had done some art and cut off images from bags and random stuff in the streets. The horse and the little farmer behing him came from this little café that we went to every morning in Brixton. This one wasn’t even a finished sketchbook, he just browsed through it and picked some elements. The bird in the right corner I drew. Then he put the train and the statue of liberty, and it’s pretty rad cause I was taking a two-hours train to go back home in Ustate new York, so that was very symbolic of that. I used to always keep kind of journals like this but i’ve been slacking lately.”
“The actual artwork for this board was hanging in the skate-shop that I ride for out here [in Tucson], my friend Doug did it and gave it to the shop. It was probably done on a 8×11’’, big piece of white paper, I think it was done with crayons.
Anyway, I thought that’d be a sick board, so Steve [Rodriguez, 5boro’s mastermind] went with it. This dude Doug was one of the first people I met when we moved out here. And we skated with him all the time, and to this day he’s one of the people who skates a lot. We actually just went skating today. He’s a very talented, Jack of many trades kind of dude. He hasn’t done many board graphics I think, but he’s always doing art or working on something.”
“Enrique is a sick tattoo artist, so I kinda asked him how he’d feel about doing a board. He also lived in the South West for a while, and if you live down there you’re really exposed to Dia De Los Muertos, the day of the dead, cause we’re only one hour away from Mexico. It’s really festive down here, it’s awesome. But anyway, Enrique’s been influenced by that as well.
I basically just gave him the idea to make it the Dia De Los Muertos board, and just kinda told him what I wanted, maybe some skeletons with guitars or something. He painted this on a big piece of wood, on a big 3×4 plank. I shot a hi-res photo of it and sent it over. I never knew anything about this day on the East Coast, and i took a huge liking to it when I moved here, and I like what it represents to the people, it’s soulful. I guess I love this board cause it ties in with moving here for me.”
“My friend that I grew up skating with in Upstate New York did this graphic, I mean he lives in Jersey, but whatever. He put a lot of work into it, it’s not something you put one hour, or even one day in it, it’s super intricate work. He also did a lot of the graphics for Brooklyn boards, when that was around.
Originally this one was gonna be a totem pole, but he came up with this and I loved it, man. He just nailed it. Rad little animals on it. The funny thing, I am not especially into shamanism per se, but I have a high respect for the whole Native American philosophy. It’s intriguing to me.”
“All the East Coast dudes leaving Birdhouse at the same time, that was a trip, man. But a window of opportunity opened this way, so… It just felt right to skate for an East Coast company again and this was my welcome board on Zoo. I was so impressed. Dude, I couldn’t believe it, that idea had never been done. The bridge bricks for the headdress and the buildings for the feathers, the black on grey with the arrowheads on the background…
It wasn’t even a series or a regular board, it was just kind of a debut board, that’s only because I just got on. It was a whole theme like I’m migrating back to the East, a Native New Yorker coming back home kind of thing. I still go back to New York once every two months for two weeks in Spring and Summer. It was just rad to be back where I started.”