Skate deck style.
Ask any skater; one of the most influential aspects when it comes to buying a new skate deck is the artwork and brand. It’s an expression of your style, attitude and what you represent. It also increases your skating skills by 300% and enables you to do moves like a pro. Although it only lasts up until you try to ollie up a gutter and you scratch off half your artwork. Skateboarders are emotionally connected to brands. These brands are largely reflective of the behaviour and characteristic of the people who ride them. Whether you skate vert, pool or street, listen to heavy metal or hip hop there is a brand that will fit your style.
Skate culture is a movement like no other, this is evident in the sheer size of the design & style options on the market; you are what you ride. Santa Cruz (yellow monster deck) represents old school, pool skating, surf culture, punk music. The artwork is reflective of their culture, its very expressionistic & rebellious. It has a certain vibe that reaches out to its audience. On the other end of the scale you have a brand like Zoo York. The brand represents hip hop, street culture, street skating and graffiti. Their artwork is very much influenced by street art. These two brands are visually very different but their focus is the same; it’s all about their people. Their artwork & design style engages an emotional connection with it’s riders – each brand generates respect and a cult-like following.
What is refreshing is that skateboard artwork stands the test of time. Santa Cruz recently reissued board artwork that was created over 40 years ago by Jim Phillps in the 1970s. This is partly due to the older skate generation paying homage to their past, but if you look at the artwork it still looks as fresh today as it did back in the day. One thing that is noticeably common on every board is the shape, its a canvas that only comes in one shape and its up to the artist to make it fit. This is a key ingredient that I think makes skateboard artwork somewhat unique, every artist has the same canvas. Weather you decide to design your artwork portrait or landscape everyone is restricted to that long paddle pop shape.
With so many skate brands in the marketplace today, skate companies are known to critique their skate decks based on their visibility & credibility on ‘the wall’; the almighty rack in every skate shop that houses the boards for sale. For some inspiration, lets look at the true artists.