Kris Markovich: “All the Zorlac guys would give you shit for skating street”


(Before we get into yet another slice of World/Cliver/Mc Kee nostalgia, make sure you order the Mc Kee/Bobshirt shirt collab right here. Thank you very much)

“I did feel like an odd ball,” Kris Markovich laughs when he reminisces about the early 90s. Being the dude with the long hair and the rabid speed in these wonderfully slow, non-popped über-tech days must have felt strange indeed. “The thing is,” Kris justifies himself, “a pressure flip is just an inward heel flip where you scoop your tail. I had already learned inward heels, popping them, so why would I have to do them super low now? But as fast as it came in it went out, and everything I was doing was cool again.”
As the Damon Byrd School of Foot Knitting was slowly losing all its nerdish students, Kris was back in the game and hasn’t stopped pushing yet, 16 years later. Usually, that means enough boards to fill this page. But Kris’s case has a twist: the man has had pro-models on no less than eleven board companies since 1991. Plus, riding for 101 meant a new deck every three weeks at one point. “Another one of my other favorite boards was the one with smiling faces on it”, Kris continues. “We were sitting at Natas’ house and we told him, ‘Allright you got 10 minutes to do a graphic.’ That’s how shit was going down.”
Later on, Kris got “Hard Life” tattooed on his knuckles. Just a premonition for the day some dude with a broken-ass French accent was to come and ask him to pick five boards out of a stack estimated by some scientist to 2.36 times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

P1000117101 Instant Martians (1991)
Art by Marc Mc Kee

“The cool thing with these Loney Tunes boards is that all the Rocco companies had them out [before a cease and desist from Warner Bros]. Blind had some, World had some, 101 had some…

They had been talking about these graphics for a while, I remember picking this one dude specifically, they had a bunch to choose from. Dune had the big, fuzzy red guy, and then I wanna say Jordan Richter ended up with [Marvin the Martian] from the same cartoon, but he was a little bummed that mine was already taken. This one is also special to me because it was the first board where I really worked on the shape with Rodney Mullen, to the point where I was going to the wood shop and everythin

dukes101 Dukes of Hazard (1992)
Art by “maybe Spike Jonze who shot the photo and/or Natas”

“I’m pretty sure this one was before the Metallica one time-wise, but it’s hard to say cause I think they did a first run on a wood board, then a second run way later with a slick bottom.

Anyway, the whole idea behind this one is that Sal Barbier rode for Plan B, and he had the board with the photo of a lowrider car with a cholo chick and the dudes squatting like gangsters. Natas and I were messing around with ideas and he had a friend who had a Dodge Super Bee, so we went down to this weird creek river bed up in Malibu and shot the photo.

It was cool ‘cause it came out right after Sal’s board, when it was actually still out. Sal was super cool about it. It wasn’t making fun of him at all, it was more our version of it.”

markovica101 Metallica (1993)
Art by Marc Mc… err… Sean Cliver (sorry, Sean !)

“That one was pretty funny. There used to be two YMCAs in Pensacola, Florida that had skateparks, one was a street park and one had a vert ramp. All the Zorlac guys would go to that vert ramp and would always give you shit for skating street.

As I got a little older and turned pro for 101, I got into the idea of having a graphic that’d poke fun back at those dudes. At the time Scott Stanton had this clown graphic on Zorlac so I wanted to redo that. Natas [Kaupas, 101’s owner] was like, “yeah we’re probably gonna sell the whole two of them.” He was totally against it. Then McKee [who happened to be Cliver, in fact -Seb’s note] started sketching the skull with the beanie on and the toothbrush through it, and he did the Markovich/Metallica lettering.

When it came out, Zorlac was already dying, so I never got a reaction from these guys. At the time Scott Stanton was pretty heavily into music, so he was out of pro skating pretty much. It would probably have been better if it had been one of my first boards, but nobody knew who I was and nobody would have got the joke.”

P1000120Foundation Dad tribute (2000)
Art by Dave Lively

“So in between the one before and this one there’s been quite a while and a bunch of companies: Prime, Color, Element. Of course there’s been some graphics I liked on Prime and Color, like the one with the Circle K or the one that Ron Cameron did, it was a face with buildings on top of its head. But not to the extent that they are super-special to me.

This one is, and it has nothing to do with the shape or anything. I just like it cause it’s a graphic I did for my dad after he passed away. This is based on a photo of him when he was 23, and he passed away when I was 23. As soon as I got on Foundation we got this graphics going.

The initials are his initials, Robert Boris Markovich. I don’t even know if it sold well, but it’s one of my favorites for obvious reasons.”

P1000122Given Day of the Dead (2009)
Art by Kris Markovich

“We started Given less than a year ago, and I’ve been doing a lot of Day of the dead art lately. This board came out really good. Even on Crimson I did a lot of the graphics but I never liked my artwork. This one though, I’m really happy with the way it came out, it’s the first time that has happeend in years.

I’ve always kind of like the Dia De Los Muertos, I had a few Day of The Dead graphics on Crimson. My thing with it is that it’s cool, cause you look at Day of the dead art, it’s always kinda sloppy. It’s never perfect, and that blends well with the kind of art I do. I never have a plan with I do when I start my art anyway. I’ve always drawn and had a say in graphics, but it wasn’t until I bought my house and I had actually a studio in it that I started being able to paint big.

Now it’s almost like a second job for me, I skate and then I do artwork on the side. Most of my art on Crimson, and now Given, were painting of pictures that I’d done. I rarely do art especially for board graphics purposes.”

Special thanks : Al Boglio & Marc McKee


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Le boardnographe du phonographe

This is an archive for my eponymous monthly page in Skateboarder mag. Plus a few extras few and far between, whenever I get a chance...
Absolutely shameless, unrated boardnography, exposed! -minus the Ebay guilt. Enjoy the visite...

_Seb Carayol
Memory Screened Inc. and subsidiaries' CEO



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