”Wes Humpston art” © Jim Goodrich
Since kids in the 60’s first drew on the bottom of a skateboard, the graphics have defined the rider and at the company that they were riding for. The late 70’s to mid 90’s was the golden era of skateboard graphics and were designed by some of the best artists in the world.
Wes “Bulldog” Humpston was the first to design production graphics for Dogtown Skateboards using a cross logo that was taken from the graffiti that he saw in his neighborhood. The early seventies brought designs from companies like Sims, G&S, Santa Cruz and Powell-Peralta.
Victor Courtland Johnson “VCJ” was and still is the main artist for Powell-Peralta skateboards and he changed skateboard graphics by his M.C. Escher influenced art usually of skulls or bones. To this day, the art he created is still being used and is as influential as the day it was released.
“VCJ Art” ©Vice magazine
My favorite skateboard artist, Jim Phillips, designed graphics and ads for Santa Cruz skateboards. His use of monsters, surfboards and skateboards in a style similar to Ed Roth’s hotrod imagery from the 60’s really set the company apart from the others. One of his most famous works was the series of skateboards he designed for Rob Roskopp. The original 5 deck series shows the progression of a monster ripping through a target then his face finally showing though the bottom of the deck for the finale. That is just one example of the amazing work that Phillips has produced. His son, Jimbo, is a current artist at Santa Cruz and picked up where his dad left off but still with a style of his own.
“Jim Phillips art” © complex.com
There were so many more great artists to design skateboard graphics and some of them were professional skateboarders that got to design their own boards. Skaters like Neal Blender, Lance Mountain, Chris Miller and Mark Gonzales are all artists who made a big impact on a board and with a pencil. In the 90’s the styles of art in skateboarding went to more minimalistic and computer oriented. As time goes by, there are still memorable designs being created but I think it’d be hard to re-create what happened in the 70’s and 80’s when art and skateboarding merged.
“Mark Gonzales art” © Pinterest