Jeremy Wray could have been a graphic artist. Seriously. He drew all of his own graphics on Blockhead, Color, and Plan B, and even executed more-than-decent designs for, say, teammate Laban Pheidias -remember that Bugs Bunny one slaughtering a bunch of other cartoon characters with a chainsaw?
Instead he chose to become the blueprint of the mid-90s pro, skating to classic rock yet draped in the freshest mesh Droors Clothing had to offer, while persuading skateboarding that the word ‘big’ didn’t exclusively have to be associated with ‘pants’. And it worked: Jeremy was so good at it that he got to become one a member of the extremely elusive Daniel Harold Sturt’s Photo-Worthy club…
A few years later, all these achievments are methodically summed up via piles of iconic decks piled up on the floor in Jeremy Wray’s living room, under the scrutinity of his mustachioed brother Jonas. Here are his picks.
“Dr Seuss was my one of my favorite artists. I found out when he died right when my first board was about to come out and I had to make a graphic for it. I did the artwork for this one in my art class in high school. At the time I didn’t even know it was gonna be a board graphic, I just drew it as a tribute.
There was no cease-and-desist letter from him, and even better, the really cool thing is that we sent one of these boards, or a copy of the drawing, to Dr Seuss’ wife through a friend of my mom’s who knew her, and she sent me a letter saying, ‘thank you for doing the tribute’. She understood that it wasn’t just trying to rip-off his characters. Her letter wished me luck with my artwork and with my skateboarding, I still have it. And I ended up showing the board to my teacher at school when it came out, too.”
“This one was especially done with a board graphic in mind. It was just, you know, the angry young kid, but he’s still a good kid, he’s got the halo. He’s got problems, he’s falling out of the sky, it’s all the stuff he goes through as a teenager, it was all in there. I was getting through my share of stuff, as a kid growing up skateboarding who doesn’t have much. I did a follow up that was similar, of a guy standing there from a different angle, but out of the two I like this one the best.
Once in 1997, we were at a World tour accross the US, and that guy came up and showed me the graphic tattooed on his leg, from the knee down, in full color and everything. The only thing he changed was that he put red hair on him instead of a shaved head, cause he had red hair. He made him look like himself a little bit. That was the first time I saw one of my graphics tattoed on somebody.”
“I got this wood carving kit from the craft store, and you have to paint this block of wood black, and then you gotta carve it out. It was different, you have to think in a different way cause you have to remove what you want to be light. It’s the opposite of drawing. No idea why I chose a bear but I remember I had a photo of a bear sculpture that I started with.
After it was done, and I needed a board graphic, I was looking around the house and tried the carving on a board and I liked it. The weird part is that that I did this wood carving and that was it. I never did another one. That’s why it said “Wood Carving # 1″, cause I was going to do follow ups, but I ended up doing other stuff for graphics. This board is unique cause it was a one-of-a-kind for me.”
“This one was all about relationships when you’re a teenager or when you’re growing up, you’re just a dude hanging out by yourself, and then you meet someone, and then they break your heart, you end up alone again. Met a girl, thought it was going well, didn’t work out, alone again. And then so many people came up to me afterwards, like, ‘Man, I went through the same thing.’
AGB was a group of friends from our neighborhood, they all say AGB and it stands for All Girls are Bitches, but I don’t know, people have moved on and started other stuff with it, like 242, which is even more code for AGB, cause it’s where the letters are on your phone, now people say 242. It was a crew of all our friends from high school, not even a skate crew, just a crew of all our friends. It’s still around today.”
“Element started doing more original artwork for one series, and they let me do my own artwork. I did about five or six boards for them where I got to do complete artwork from start to finish. This was the first of those, and it was a lot of fun to do my graphics again. It represents life without skateboarding, how boring it is. It’s really weird. That’s what you’d do, hang out on your couch. Right when it came out, I took a bronze sculpture class, and I made this whole setup out of bronze: the guy on the couch, the coffee table and the TV set. I have it in my bathroom.”