While most skateboard companies tend to just put a logo on their boards and hope to sell it. Others want to do things better with a graphic that represents the identity of their company or skateboarder’s name on it. These so-called “graphic designers” or “illustrators”, are the most important folk in the industry, because it’s their art that will make a sale or not. You can buy a blank board, skate the shit of it, travel around the world, meet people with it. But at the end of its journey, it’s cooler to put it on the wall with a killer graphic, rather than a blank.
Hey Ed, how did skateboarding come into the picture for you?
I got a shitty skateboard for Christmas in 1987 and then a Brand-X Sean Goff with Trackers and Kryptonics wheels the following year. The kids that lived near me were all getting them after getting bored with their BMX’s. For the next 5 years that’s all I would do. I’d go and skateboard outside my house then into the town. I’d spend every summer at the local park skating all of the ramps and surviving on about £1.00 of sweets and chocolate each day. I quit skating for about two years in the mid 1990’s then got back into it and here I am today.
“I used to wear my work trousers skating because I thought it made me look like Ed Templeton.”
Who were your first skate heroes in the earlier years?
Whoever was in R.A.D. magazine really. I had a Lucian Hendricks deck for a while, I thought he was pretty cool. I really liked the Bones Brigade because of the videos. Natas Kaupas skating out of his front door down to Venice Beach was just a dream. I used to wear my work trousers skating because I thought it made me look like Ed Templeton.
Have you studied in design?
I did a Fine Art painting degree in Liverpool but spent the whole time taking photos and making videos.
When you did start to mix skateboarding into your design?
I drew the Bones Ripper for one of my school projects when I was maybe 13. So ever since then.
How did the idea come up to do this book?
I was going to just do it on my own but decided to ask some friends to help me out. It ended up better than I could have imagined. Turns out that I quite enjoy putting a book together. Who knew?
Natas and Gonz were friends, and used to skate together, so it was an obvious duet for a book. But Hosoi and Hawk were rivals in hard competition, why did you choose this duo for a book?
I thought that the last book in the series should be about the two most recognizable people from skateboarding in the 1980’s. They make for really interesting stories.
The Natas & Gonz book is neat, why did you do a second edition ot it?
Because I wasn’t happy with parts of it. And because all the copies have been sold.
What other designers in the skate industry influence you most?
Andy Jenkins, Thomas Campbell, Marc McKee, Andy Howell, and everyone else.
Have you met any of the pros you’ve drawn?
I haven’t met any of them. Unless you count seeing Tony Hawk at a demo in 1990. He was really supportive of this latest book. Sent me a signed deck to give away (which I didn’t) and even bought some copies of the book.
More book or design for 2018?
Yeah, but I’ll keep all of that a secret for now.
Where can we order it?
Interview by Babas Levrai / Illustration by Ed Syder