You know how your idol might have spray painted himself and in person “Shake Junt” on the very sheet of griptape you’re skating? Well, the process is old news, as OG Venice head Eric Dressen’s second pro-models were silk-screened by Black Flag singer Ron Reyes, who operated a screen plant at home for Dogtown, in the mid-’80s. How boss is that?
Pretty much as boss as having your first sponsor named “Logan Earth and Ski”, which was the case for Eric despite the fact that his dad worked for Free Former, “but that was before they had a skateboard team,” the salad grind inventor turned tattoo artist reminisces, “they were just doing plastic boards. I’d test them out but I never rode them and stuff.”
What he rode hard though were all the models he got from 1986 on, from Dogtown to Santa Cruz through Haz Mat, 151, Deathbox, Old Star, Krooked. Here are Eric Dressen’s five favorite ones.
“This is I believe my second model with Dogtown. I don’t have my first pro-model anymore cause I sold it, at some point I was tattooing and I didn’t have a job for a couple years. I really regret it but I kept this one in particular cause Keith Harring drew on this board, on the top part. There was a little in-shop thing at Fread Segal’s in Santa Monica and my friend had a skateshop there, and so I got to meet Keith Harring and hang out. That’s extra, I would still have kept it because my good friend Kevin Ancell did the bottom graphic, he is an OG Dogtown guy.
Ancell was like, ‘come back in a week,’ and that’s what I got. I was so stoked. I love the hands, this is back before computers, they’re all half toned out. It was bad-ass. It’s supposed to say ‘Santa Monica’, the S and The M somewhere but I don’t see it. And then this is something about drunk driving in Chinese, I think, it says something ‘Watch out for drunk drivers,’ he was more bullshitting me.”
“This one was my third board on Dogtown, Wes Humpston did the graphic. With this particular board I won the finals of the NSA championships in 1987. I got the Shut sticker on it, they’re my homies, and for some reason I got this Lamar Snowboards sticker too on it, it must have been when Bert was just starting his snowboard company and sponsored all the Dogtown guys. I think I had another board with them, and then in 1989 I went to Santa Cruz, but I got back on Dogtown a couple different times and got other boards.
This board is special to me cause… I mean, Wes had been my hero since I was a little kid and a major inspiration for me to draw, I was drawing Dogtown crosses on the tables in 4th grade and getting in trouble at school. He just draws stuff all the time and I just picked this one, like, ‘Oh I like that one.’
Wes always has stuff that you’ve never seen before. Later on I was at one of his art shows and there were like thirty Dressen graphics on the wall. The guy never even probably showed me any of them. I must have been special or something.”
“This one means a lot to me. I was a couple months sober, trying to get my life back together, trying to get my shit together back in skateboarding and after a couple years feeling like a failure I was skating really hard and Gonz hit me for a Gest board. That was one of the biggest honors, ever. It really meant a lot to me. What happened is that Mic-E Reyes and Jim Thiebaud hit me up at a Trade Show. I was always skating but I was getting loaded and hanging out with the wrong people, and not really being an active pro, I didn’t have my shit together, pretty much.
I was totally dying to see what Mark would come up with for the graphic, I was down with whatever he’d do. He came up with that bold graffiti thing which was pretty funny. I think they did 450 boards of this one. It was really nice of them to do cause for a while I had felt left out. But it was my own fault.”
“Mike Giant is one of my favorite artists and I really wanted him to do a graphic for me. I got to meet him at Del mar in 1986 in the parking lot and… I don’t remember, but he told me that.
Then I hit him up to do a graphic and he was down, he’s that super-good tattoo artist and graphic designer, he’s up in SF and I just emailed him. It ended up that he did a board for me, Tom Knox, Keith Meeks and Jason Jesse. So I just let him do whatever he wanted, I just told him ‘make some gangster shit’, you know?
I’m super stoked especially since he’s now that huge artist, so I really appreciate that he took so much time for doing that.”
Santa Cruz Malicious series (2008)
Art by Robert Williams
“This is actually one of my favorite boards that I’ve ever had in my life. Super rad. This board skates so good and I love the graphic. It’s Santa Cruz that approached Robert Williams, I think he’s done a couple Thrasher tapes covers before but not really skateboard graphics prior to these.
The whole series is just sections from art that he did in 1990-91, when they asked me which one I wanted I just said I wanted some chick. They all came from some of his paintings and the funny thing is, the one Tom Knox used on his board, my dad is a silk-screener and he actually printed that for a limited silk-screen print back then.
Another dude I’d like to have invited to do graphics would be that Japanese tattoo artist guy, Usugrow. But our Santa Cruz artist, Lucas Musgrave, he’s pretty much my favorite guy to work with right now.”