Before There Were Skaters
This shot comes courtesy of Retronaut, as a visual record of what skate culture looked like before the era of Vans and oversized tees. Not too shabby.
Board to Death
While we weren’t looking, the painted skateboard seems to have become an artistic rite of passage.
Take, for example, these three boards commissioned by Supreme from Takashi Murakami, showing this weekend at New York’s Surf/Skate alongside Damien Hirst in the prime of his spray-paint period and Jeff Koons in full blow-up monkey face mode. And, most importantly, it’s all plastered on the bottoms of otherwise rideable boards.
Of course, they’re too valuable and too easily scratchable for anyone to actually ride them, and the countercultural cred involved isn’t what it was 20 years ago…but we’re still impressed Supreme managed to pull it off. We believe this qualifies as outside the box.
As popular as skate culture has been in the past 20 years, for one reason or another its influence has yet to reach the interior design world. But the nesting skater is finally getting his due, thanks to this clock, now available through its very own Paypal-fueled webshop.
It’s a ragtag outfit, make no mistake, but we’re actually a little charmed by this one. It might be the hub-and-spoke design, or the junk-shop vibe of the skate wheels, but we’d actually be pretty pleased to have this on our wall. Especially now that we’re open and have to be places on time…
With 90s culture poised to leap back into the mainstream, it’s probably time we gave skateboarding another look.
We ran across Mumble’s retrospective of skate photographer Grant Brittain and it inspired us to do just that. From a pipe-bound photo of a young Tony Hawk to surprisingly quiet contemplations of Del Mar’s concrete underbelly, there’s a lot more here than just tattoos and knee shorts.
As a subculture, skateboarding has already been coopted so many times over the past 15 years that it’s been very hard to take seriously, but we’re reaching a moment when we can see it with all the hype and glamour stripped away, as a genuine reimagining of the urban landscape. Of course, it helps if you grew up in a suburb full of smooth concrete and gentle curves. And if you take a few photographers along for the ride.
See a few of the shots»
Two Left Shoes
The Times has an unusually thoughtful piece by Justin Porter today about skateboarding shoes. Because the skateboarders tear up shoes so quickly, Porter says they tend for flashier, more disposable pairs, even if they aren’t much cheaper. That caught our eye as the opposite of workwear, where the need for durability means more rugged materials like denim, canvas and metal come into play.
Another point is that this makes skateboarders ripe for sponsorship—Porter refers to some skaters being “on flow,” meaning they get a steady stream of free shoes from a particular company—but we aren’t sure this makes their shoes more important. If anything, they’re so disposable that the kids don’t mind making them billboards.
And what good is a sponsorship if your shoes are being ripped to shreds?