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Ricky Oyola: “Robert Indiana is the guy who did that statue but I didn’t give two shits who this guy was”

All photos by Frankie. Thanks, Frankie!

East Coast powerhouse, Philadelphia’s mayor, whatever cliché you want to call him, Ricky Oyola is still around, conducting his Traffic venture the very same way Zoo York did in its humble beginnings. And unsurprisingly, he still promotes a form of skateboarding that does not involve parachuting oneself down rails in bondage pants, nor ledges combos that require a PhD in mathematics. Just raw street skating that’s actually happening on the streets. From Zoo to Traffic, via a little Aleister Crowley-infused phase with Illuminati and Siver Star -same thing, as Dr Crowley used to refer to the illuminati as “the order of the Silver Star”- his five own favorite board graphics exude just the same thing: meaningful rawness.

Zoo York Love (1993)
Art by Eli Morgan Gesner

This was well before anybody used this Love Park image, we were still sitting on a gold mine, it was really original at the time. It was just like EMB was, but it was over here in Philly, and it was ours.

Robert Indiana is the guy who did that statue but I didn’t give two shits who this guy was. We were Love Park, it was our second home. Which is funny, cause in Eastern Exposure I barely had any footage there. Remember, Zoo York was really small then, so the board wasn’t being sold all over the world a lot, but the people on the East Coast who bought it, they got it. Some little kid probably had no idea about it, but by this time Love Park had became known enough that a skater’s skater knew what it was.

Zoo York Hydrant (1995)
Art by Eli Morgan Gesner

They sold that Hydrant board for ever. By the time Matt Reason came in from Adrenalin, he had had maybe twenty graphics while this one was still out. I liked the fade, I liked the way my name was written.  I am not sure why and how he got that photo, but it just fell in place perfectly.
(For more precisons about this very graphic, check Eli Morgan Gesner’s explanation at the end of this post…)

Illuminati Mass Control (1996)
Art by Eli Morgan Gesner

Illuminati came about because me, Matt Reason and Serge Trudnowski were doing a lot for Zoo York and I was like, “Look man, give me an offshoot. We’re doing a lot for this brand but you’re not showing us the love.” And they did. I wasn’t into the illuminati at the time. Eli was. He created all this. The company only lasted eight months, but for the first six months, it was nothing more than a sticker. We had nothing else out. Illuminati is some of Eli’s best work. I really think he’s one of the best graphic designer that skateboarding has ever had.

We started buying books, and get involved because we knew that as the company grew, we’d be asked about it. It opened our eyes to possibilities of what happened in the past, currently, and what could possibly happen in the future. The text itself is about the controlling of the masses. It just comes from ancient pharaohs: before the drought season came, the workers were harvesting food. Then when there was no water, there was no work to do, so people would get a bit restless. To control that restlessnes, the pharaoh was basically saying, “When there’s no water, your ass is gonna go build a pyramid.” It was made in a way where they were constantly working.

I also kept this particular board for the Tony Hawk autograph. I was in Australia selling boards, it was basically a way to survive and we went there to check Tony Hawk and Mike Frazier doing a demo. And a buddy of mine took a bunch of my boards to try and sell them, there were kids all over the place, so what happened is that Tony Hawk is signing like crazy, he just grabbed the board and signed it. My buddy came back, he was kinda chuckling. But I said, “I’m not selling this board. I just won’t eat for a couple days.”

Silver Star Faces Of The Globe (1998)
Art by JB

There was this really old Masonic certificate framed in an antique store on South Street in Philly. Matt Reason saw it and wanted to get it. He didn’t make much money then, I was making some money, basically I went to the store and bought it for fifty bucks for him to have it as a graphic. But he and I started having our differences I suppose, he kinda started being distant from all of us, this is when he was getting sick and stuff. Really, again, originally I bought for him to have a graphic for it. But we were growing apart, and this was just the beginning of it.

Originally it said, “to all free and accepted Masons,” we changed it to “skaters”, and on the side it said, “faces of the globe.” That thing was as big as a window, we only used the very top of it. I saved that print for as long as I could but when my daughter was two years old, she destroyed it. I was very stunned when she did it, but it was really thin paper, it’d just flake off if you touched it. I never got it authenticated but I’m almost 100% sure that that thing was fucking old, old, old.

Traffic Rocky (2005)
Art by Mike Stein and Julius Reeves

We went to shoot the photo and when we put together the graphic, we wanted to base it off the Zoo York Hydrant board, with the fade. Mike is a big Rocky fan, he had a Rocky poster in his room, that’s basically the idea. And Ricky/Rocky is the same, plus the Zoo guys used to call me Balboa cause I was from Philly and, you know, I had an attitude. This board has a lot of meaning cause Rocky might be a made up character, he’s very history, very blue collar, very Philadelphia. So that’s why this board keeps going. It’s just there, it has so much meaning and makes so much sense for it to be my board.

Extra ball: the Eli Morgan Gesner email showdown

Whoever has ever spoken to designer/jack of every single trade Eli Morgan Gesner knows that passion oozes out of him in the form or long, intricate, amazingly on point, emails. Below is the exact transcription of what he had to say when I asked him “a precision or two” about the boards above. I’d suggest you take some time off, and enjoy, as much as I did!

1. The ‘LOVE’ board
This is one of our very first boards. At ‘Zoo York’ we had a phrase for a graphic like this. ‘A Lay Up’. As in it’s just too obvious and too easy not to do it. Any ‘Zoo York’ graphic that was like the Yankees, or the NYPD, or a Taxi, or the Subway signage stuff. Those helped us make a name for ‘Zoo’ but they were all no-brainer Lay Ups. Especially just the straight graphic rip offs. Duh!

Obviously, he’s fucking Ricky Oyola. How were we NOT gonna make the Love Park ‘LOVE’ board? I drew it by eye in Illustrator from photos of the sculpture. I guess I could have found the original art by Robert Indiana, but this was a LONG time ago and that would have required me to go hunting around Book Shops and Reference Libraries. The internet was not helpful for things like that back then. Drawing it myself was way easier. Also, we were literally making all the graphics by hand. I had to go to a ‘service bureau’ (which was a computer / film laboratory that would do all your CMYK / spot color film separations back in the day. Before you could do everything in your bed room!) They made the films, we burned the screens, and had to silk screen everything. Ricky Oyola (My old team mate by the way. We both used to skate for Z-Boyz) is a LEGEND of the highest caliber, and although this board is conceptually obvious to me, it’s a classic representative of a classic.

2) The ‘Fire Hydrant’ board
Fuck! I wish I still had this whole series. This was my first real conceptual graphic pro-series for ‘Zoo York’. I did these around 1995, maybe a little earlier. Up until then, we were just sort of setting up Zoo York. So most of the graphics we’re hit-em-over-the-head we’re Zoo York from New York City graphics. Lay ups! But once people got the idea I felt I could start branching out and being more creative and conceptual. One thing about me, I have a massive collection of rare and out-of-print photo book of New York City. One that I cherish is a book called ‘The Block’ by Herb Goro. It’s sort of a year long photo journalistic report on one single block in the poverty stricken South Bronx in the 1970’s. We follow all sorts of characters on the block and their good times and bad. It’s really, really important to me as an artist. On so many levels. Especially because it reminds me of my own childhood in way-less-horrible Manhattan.

One of the main things that struck me were all the photos that Goro took of these kids living in abject poverty but still finding things to play on and have fun with. Honestly, these images are the embodiment of the triumph of the human spirit. The greatness of man. This massive, hard, dangerous, inhuman world crushing down from all directions and these kids shine through, having fun, being free and creative, unaffected. Really, everything that pre-21st century skatepark-utopia street skating was about. I HAD to jack these images. I had to share them with the world. So, we did this ‘city kid’ series. The kid jumping between buildings for Frank Natiello, Gangemi got the kids hanging on the back of the elevated train, and Ricky got this Black kid spraying water out of a Fire Plug. I love these boards and they are some of my favorite work, in any discipline.

There’s a saying that goes ‘I was too young and stupid to know any better’. Frequently, this is when a lot of great work get’s done. This holds true to these boards, and Ricky’s in particular. The most disappointing thing about these boards is that, frankly, we didn’t really know how to screen skateboards back then. The images Goro took are sublime and nuanced black and white photos.

And I tried to do the images justice, and even though the films I produced were close to the original photos, the actual burned silk screens and subsequent screening of the boards didn’t work so good. Gangemmi’s board came out pretty good, as did Natiello’s, but Ricky’s, I think because the image had to be screened onto the tail, didn’t translate to my satisfaction. Plus, the foggy water spray is just tough to begin with. The technique of being able to silk screen over the kick nose and tail were a closely guarded secret in California. Rodney Smith and I, at one point, tried to trick the guys at World Industry into showing us their board screening room, but they saw right through us and took us out for drinks instead. Haha!

All we had was us over here in New York. Greg Chapman ran our wood mill that he and Rodney Smith had started up. So Greg was off in Long Island trying to figure out how to make skateboards. It was very grass-roots and very trial and error. BUT! As you might remember, all of us at Zoo York we’re very into Eastern Philosophy and Military Strategy. And one of the principles of Guerilla Warfare is that your weakness is also your greatest advantage. And you’re advantage, you’re greatest weakness. Napoleon took over the world with one of the biggest Armies in history, but he had to stop simply because he couldn’t feed all those soldiers. Inversely, 2 snipers can take out an entire battalion simply because they can move faster and quieter and are harder to find. So, we realized that we we’re smaller than the West Coast skateboard factories and that we were producing fewer boards. But! That meant that we could spend more time on each board. So, Chappy got into hand air-brushing each board. So, out of nowhere, Zoo York suddenly had the only boards with these unique, hand done, color fades. We were the only ones. And then the West Coast companies were asking us ‘How do you do that!’ Haha! That’s our secret! On occasion, Chappy would go a little out-of-control with his painting, suddenly switching up colors and fade-schemes without telling us, but for the most part, the spray fades we’re tasteful (the mauve and baby blue example you have for Ricky Oyola’s board is not only gorgeous, I have never seen that color way until now! Haha!) In the end, differentiation is key to succeeding in any field. The ability to stand out from the herd and be unique is always key. And the spray fades did that for us.

Believe it or not, ‘The Block’ was such an important book to all of us at Zoo that we actually tried to reach out and ask permission for the usage of the images, like we did with Horst Hamann and his book ‘New York Vertical’, but for the life of us, we could not find Mr. Goro or the Publisher. They had all vanished. To this day I would love to tell Mr. Goro what an effect he had on all of us, and in turn, many skaters across the world. But he is no where to be found. Regardless, I strongly urge everyone to find a used copy of ‘The Block’ and give it a read it’s deeply inspiring and deadly tragic. (One of my favorite images is of a father, crying on his knees, over the body of his dead son. His son had fallen off the back of the elevated Subway, as in Gangemi’s board, all the way down to the street. Powerful stuff.)

We were very fortunate in a lot of ways over at the old, original Zoo York.  We had good graphic ideas, our own home-made wood mill, and the greatest city in the world to take from. But honestly, perhaps our greatest advantage was that we had Ricky Oyola riding for us and supporting what we were trying to do from the start. I can’t say enough nice things about him. He’s a true legend.

4. Illuminati “Mass Control” (& Silver Star in general -Seb’s note)
)To be as forthcoming as possible, I had always had an interest in the idea of the ‘Illuminati’ – Not per say specifically Freemasonry or what one might read in Dan Brown’s novel ‘Angels & Demons’ (or the Tom Hanks / Ron Howard movie of the same name) but more so in the ghostly idea of ‘control over the masses’ and how this has been achieved over the eons, from the ancient Egyptians all the way through to modern day entities like the Builderberg Group. Anyway, I know about this sort of thing.

We hit a critical mass at Zoo, where we wanted to expand and were not sure whether to just focus on growing Zoo into a clothing brand or ‘diversify’ and create more skate brands (like ‘World Industry’ or ‘Deluxe’). Oyola and all of us at Zoo decided it would be best to create our first ‘spin-off’ brand for Ricky. I had told him before about the ‘illuminati’ and ‘the Freemasons’ and specifically their involvement in helping to create The United States of America. If you understand Freemasonry, there are endless examples of their influence in America, from the usage of copper that ultimately lead to the creation of the ‘middle class’ (long story) all the way through to the famously iconic ‘eye of the pyramid’ on our U.S. one dollar bill. Ricky was always fascinated by this and felt a connection to it being from Philadelphia, the birthplace of our Nation. So we went with that.

I have to say, in retrospect I might have gone conceptually overboard with Illuminati. I’d like to hope not. It actually deeply saddens me that at one time, skaters would respond to such intelligent ideas as the things we used to do with Illuminati, and in the end ‘Jackass’ and ‘Rob and Big’s Fun Factory’ won out… True irony! ;)

I think at one point we were leaving mysterious instructions in advertisements for kids to do papers and reports about various things ‘illuminati’. To have the kids learn for themselves how the powers that be manipulate them and distract them from the truth. And we actually got some reports! I was surprised and impressed. If any of you kids (men now) who sent those reports in are reading this, I can never express how effected I was by that. I cherish them to this day. Any way… I digress.

The Illuminati ‘Akhenaten’ board was Ricky’s because Akhenaten (or Amenhotep IV) is arguably the first step in modern populace control. He was a very mysterious figure and some even claimed him to be an Alien because of the unique way his head was drawn. He is important because he was the first ruler to adopt a monotheistic religion, abandoning the traditional Egyptian Polytheistic Gods for ONE true God, the Sun. After Akhenaten’s death however, his successors returned Egypt back to their traditional polytheistic religion. Some believe, Sigmund Freud most notably,  that Moses was actually an Atenist priest forced to leave Egypt after Akhenaten’s death. Who knows…

Anyway, I can’t for the life of me read what I wrote in that chunk of text, but I’m sure it was something close to what one would find in WikiPedia now-a-days. That shit didn’t exist back then. It might have also included an explanation as to the relevance of the Egyptian Pyramids for the United States as well as the Egyptians. But you’re gonna have to look that up for yourselves from now on. I’ve already said too much.

In the end, we were hit with a ‘cease and desist’ order from the crappy, nerd-a-rific playing card game ‘Illuminati’. Turns out that ‘games and sporting goods’ exist in the same copyright and trademark sector in the United States. So Dungeons and Dragons is considered nearly the same as the NFL, according to our Government. Imagine that.

We had to close Illuminati and Oyola left us to go run with the same idea, now spun into the name ‘Silver Star’. Although in his defense, ‘Silver Star’ was pretty much all about Freemasonry. Hey! Do you guys know if Ricky became a Freemason? He’s a perfect candidate! That would be awesome! Anyway, It was kind of shitty that all that went down and to this day I still get ‘Why did you guys kill Illuminati? It was rad!’ Well, it wasn’t us, friend. We were forced out by the card game. Or were we?… I suspect that there was a deeper, darker conspiracy at work! We get all the kids to start asking questions and THEN ‘Jackass’ gets picked up by MTV? Coincidence? I think not!


Reese Forbes: “Just wanted to have something as random as it gets”

Reese Forbes is the king of apparent paradoxes, and has trodden some road with his fair share of unexpected people. It started early, way before some bizarre twist of life got him to jump the Brad Staba ship. Back on his native East Coast, Reese was once teammates with dudes like Matt Mofett, Peter Hewitt and Adam McNatt, on the probably aptly named Goodtimes board company. Eclectic assemblage. Not the last to happen. After a hefty dose of Eastern Exposure via Dan Wolfe’s lens, Maryland’s über-popper joined Element, before getting together with artist Micheal Leon to start Rasa Libre. And then, the clean-cut, polite Reese joined one of the most acclaimed, most offensive board companies in the new millenium, Skate Mental. And it’s not over… Unsurprisingly, the boards he chose to talk about for his five favorite pro-models reflect exactly how he would later describe his first ever board on Element: “As random as it gets.” And awesome, too.

Element Pool (1995)
Art by Mike Baugh

When Element wanted to turn me pro, I wanted to be involved in my graphics, so I called my friend Mike Baugh. The idea behind it, well, I gotta get back into a 17-year-old mind for a second. I just wanted to have something as random as it gets. Mike worked for Discovery Channel, a couple big companies so he had some graphic skills.

I just jumped in that suit and he shot me with goggles and that swimming hat. I was supposed to be an action figure, that’s what it was. I’m not sure what I was supposed to be. The pool balls, it has no relevance whatsoever, it means nothing. It’s just random.

Element did not like it. I don’t think (Element owner) Johnny Schillereff saw that board as having that continuity with any of the other Element boards. But he just wanted me to have what I wanted, which was great. That was probably one of the last times I had what I wanted, basically.

Rasa Libre Zebra Stripes (2003)
Art by Michael Leon

After I lost Element, I was skating a lot with Matt Field, we were talking about starting a company. We had a lot to bring to the table with his creativity. Matt Field and Mic-E Reyes came up with the Rasa Libre name, we were playing around with the word “Rasa” just because of the way it rolls off your tongue, the way it sounds. Plus we wanted that notion of being free, just how you feel when you skate.

When it came to my board, it was as usual: anything that Michael Leon shows me I never have anything to change, it’s always perfect, he’s that good. For this one, he just went for zebra print I guess but he added his own spin to it. This graphic is really sick, and the pattern is amazing. I would say that’s probably my favorite skateboard, ever. I loved Rasa Libre, great company. It was ahead of its time and the beauty of it is that it came and went, and never had time to get stale.

Rasa Libre Wine and Roses (2004)
Art by Michael Leon

The wine bottle is a graphic that Michael always wanted to give me, he thought I would like it because he knew I was into drinking wine. There was also this idea of wine and roses, it was a ’60s thing and a saying, from some Sinatra album I think. It was a song, definitely. It was just really cool.

There was another one he did that was on a guitar stain board, that was mimicking that Gibson Starburst guitar, so Michael did that graphic on a board that looks like that exact same stain. This one’s not actually it, there’s a better one that has that graphic on but anyway, that’s the only one I have.

Skate Mental leap of luxury (2009)
Art by Brad Staba

The jet, the gold watch, all the cool stuff, you know, that’s Brad Staba’s signature humor. It’s done through Brad’s perception of who I am. I mean, he thinks I like all the finer things in life (laughs).

Brad could probably not be any more different than who I am but it worked. We skated in SF when I lived there and we were buddies, then he had the opportunity to do something out of Girl and I just wanted to jump at that chance.

On Skate Mental, there were a lot of good-fun, offensive graphics he did. There was one that said “Fuck your Face,” and it was on a t-shirt too. And then there’s one he did at me with just teeth coming out of this businessman guy, which is probably my least favorite graphic in history. But you just gotta look at it with humor. Brad does a very good job at it.

Stacks beetles series (2010)
Art by Michael Leon

Right when Brad pulled Skate Mental from Girl, I made a decision that I was not gonna do that, so I started talking with Michael Leon, he was thinking about turning his Commonwealth Stacks project into Stacks, the skateboard company.

I always enjoyed working with Michael so it was a natural fit. For now, the team is just yours truly. It always felt like there was some unfinished business since we stopped collaborating on Rasa Libre.

That beetle board is really cool because it came as a 3-board series, Small, Medium and Large, and the way he did the beetles is really amazing, with the colors on their backs, it just looks really cool on a board.

Inspiration information: Frankie Hill and the bulldog

” Me and Todd Hastings went to Amsterdam, and this wasn’t a tour, we just took a break and we went to the Bulldog Coffee Shop in Amsterdam, and I looked up and saw their logo and I was, like, ‘What do you think about that for the graphic, Todd?’
He thought it was a pretty good idea, so when we came back, I told Powell to do a bulldog. It’s a pretty close rendition of the one in Amsterdam! It was the best coffee shop around, man. They really don’t sell coffe there. At all.” -Frankie Hill

This is just the mandatory graphic nerd question from that totally  impromptu interview I did with Frankie Hill in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago, masterfully hooked up by the awesome Andrew Mercado from Gullwing. The rest is over here.


Duane Peters: “I thought black and green was more German”

Besides sharing the same sense of rejection, why reggae and punk rock got along so well in late ’70s London was very simple : early punk-rockers respected how crazy and unconventional people like, say, Big Youth or Lee Perry dressed and behaved -unapologetically. An attitude that accompanied nicely a bunch of red-gold-green diamond encrusted teeth in Big Youth’s case…
Fast forward three decades and meet Duane Peters for the first time. You’ll understand why the dude is as at ease in the 21st century as he would have been in 1977. Never mind the plad, never mind the past, Duane will display the most candy-colored headphones and rock shoes that’d make TK bland. The difference being that he doesn’t look out of place doing so, while you would. It’s called style. No wonder why when it came to digging five boards out of the little collection he managed to save from his darker years, The Master of Disaster didn’t disappoint… Short extracts below of the most entertaining two-hours monologue I’ve ever been served.

Excalibur Corn Dog (1975)
Art by Duane Peters

I lost my stuff so many times, some stayed with the mom of my kids, plus all the homeless shit. I got lucky when I got to save this one from my junk pile, it was in storage for 15 years at least.

When the Dogtown movie came out I was laughing cause everybody was coming out of the wood work, “Yeah I was there,” guys who haven’t stepped on a board in years. So it was funny to me, I was thinking it’d be funny if there was a character called Corn Dog. I imagined a scenario, saying he had been in prison for fifteen years. We were bored, I was living in LA and we had a video camera.

So we started going around Hollywood and Corn Dog thinks that Tony Alva and Jay Adams stole his trick, which is the “toe break”. He’s looking for Tony Alva to get his check, claiming that he got ripped off. So I took my teeth out and had straw hair, thirty years later he’s an old hippie guy, and I put the tongs on his hands cause back in the days guys walked around in tongs and they take their tongs off and use them as gloves. I just thought it was funny. It’s all on youtube.

Santa Cruz (1979)
Art by Jim Philips

This is the template for the green and black Santa Cruz board, which there were only 300 of. I quit Dogtown cause they were all going into rollerskates, and Fausto had me call Santa Cruz. So Madrid made the green and black board but at the time they had a bad batch of wood or something, I broke three boards in one day, I almost quit Santa Cruz for that. They even had people sending in their green and black boards to exchange them for the red and black board.

So. Olson already had the checker board and I was riding his while they were making mine and I wanted stripes. It was just punk rock. X-Ray Spex comes to mind, Blondie had that black-and-white striped album, but black and white was Olson’s already. Plus I thought black and green was more German, I’m half German, I used to be proud of it. It’s the beauty of being American, you come from twenty different backgrounds so you can choose, ‘Oh, I’m not Irish anymore,’ everybody and their mother is Irish since the Dropkick Murphys. We’re mutts.

This particular deck sat on the warehouse wall until maybe seven years ago. One of the guys called me up, ‘Hey, do you want this template?’ I remember seeing it when I walked up there drunk and saying, ‘They’ll never give up that board’. But they did eventually. From what I’ve heard, they also did a “King Olson” deck and a “Prince (George) Orton” deck. It looks like “drama queen” or “queer queen” but from what I understand they did these in the order that people came on on the team.

Skull Skates (2000)
Art by Tara Miller

Jak’s are the Hell’s Angels of skateboarding, biker gang style. They’ve been around since the late ’70s, early ’80s. Tom Scott’s the president, John Marsch started it but he’s deceased, he got hit by a truck. A lot of the guys are the San Francisco original street skaters. Gnarly.

They made me a honorary Jak’s in like 1982 or 1984 when I moved out there. You have your Jak’s vest and you wear your colors like in a bike gang. They’re all over the world now, you have to be petitioned to be on, you gotta go through a bunch of shit.

I just did a movie called Hostility Hotel with the second and third Jak’s from the first generation, too. Back in my day, man, it was kinda embarrassing to be a skateboarder and a punk-rocker, you didn’t wanna have a skateboard at the punk show. But Jak’s, they skate to the clubs and shows, to the High Beam or the Night Break, there’s always a Jak’s guy at the door that takes your board and keeps all the boards together.

Black Label Red Cross (2003)
Art by John Lucero

Lucero graphics. They didn’t sell real good but I can understand it, a lot of people think it’s because of the Jesus. I don’t know when religion and skateboarding cross-bred but to me, they’re completely separate. But to each their own, I don’t wanna shit on nobody’s Buddha.

To me it’s just very Sex Pistols and punk as shit, I love this graphic. The text behind it is from one of my songs from Never Mind The Open Minds. The cool thing with Lucero is that you talk about what you want and you give him a basic thing of what you want, and most of the times it’s already almost there. He’s got an insane sense of colors. Such a great artist.

Pocket Pistols cruiser (2008)
Art by Chicken

This one is kind of an offshoot of the second board I had on Santa Cruz, which I did and then Jim Philips fixed. He had these 80s stripes in mind, same kind of colors, just real simple, real old-shool looking, like the old days but we did our own thing still. Plus, Chicken does really good art too, he’s like Lucero, he’s got really good taste and he’s a lot into board quality.

I don’t have any idea if these boards sell nowadays, I don’t keep up. It’s like with record sales, man. I just learned to stop reading my own press and checking my board sales. It will affect your self esteem cause even if it’s really good, you’ll live off this good energy and as soon as it gets down, you’re gonna start going down.

“You may have understimated the negative selling power of my name”

So apparently I can add “shipping slave” to my LinkedIn profile now, heh? This silk-screen print non-business worked beyond all my expectations, so stoked that people care. I honestly thought it would take years for them to sell out -there’s ONE Cliver left, and maybe 8 Francises, crazy.
But you know what the best thing was? Getting to be in touch with all these cool people all over the world who ordered prints. It ranged from legendary ’90s Supernaut skaters to skate dudes in South Africa, from Australian documentary makers to designers, and that was the best. Some even sent shit in the mail!
Here’s a mini sum up of some of the stuff I got to get/discover. Not a bad day at work!

1. Julien Stranger letter

This was after I sent him a letter myself cause I realized only after the fact that the Todd Francis print bared Julien’s name in huge on it. Which can be, I don’t know, uncomfortable having your name out there without you knowing it beforehand? After I awkwardly apologized, this is what I got in the mail. Pure act of class! Thanks man. This. Is .Good.

2. Keenan Milton “Forever” sticker

Sent by the notorious Titletownjeff out of the non-less notorious Skull and Bones forum. It was accompanied by an amazing hallmark-type card, and actual cash inside the envelope. Now that’s old-school.

3. Corey Hague’s documentary about wrestling

It’s all here.

4. Aye Jay unreleased artwork

Didn’t order the print but got in touch following the whole frenzy around them, so I guess that counts. From the dude who brought us the Larry david/Mötörhead non-collab, mind you! This is his site.

5. Trent Bonham’s sick deck collection

I suppose no caption is needed? Check it entirely here.

6. Eric Lehman’s soft good version

I guess the print is an okay consolation, but when you own the OG shirt (“Bob Shirt” tag and all!) like Eric does… score!

Something’s cooking…

“With Antihero, the stuff we did wasn’t about controversy. It was more like making people laugh, but sort of a sick laugh. Sort of a thoughtful, bummer of a laugh, you know? Like the K9 dog biting off the cop’s face. The dog is sick of being told what to do by the cop, so he rebels. There’s a little story to it.
It wasn’t a firecracker up a cat’s butt. That’s just sick. It was confrontational but there was a smart story to it. I like to tell a deeper story. I like to think that the stuff we did with Antihero wasn’t easy. Maybe it was one step too far, but it’s never the easy step too far. It gotta push the envelope but in a way that’s intelligent, I guess?”
-Todd Francis

Why this quote, you may ask? And why is it illustrated by a studious Sean Cliver doing his homework, right above? The answer shall reveal sometime next week…  Any guesses, perhaps?

Choose your weapon

Oh, just stumbled upon the sickest, sorta skate graphics-related photo ever…

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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