Of all sports, I think I like the aesthetics of skateboarding best. I like the graceful gymnastics of top level boarders. I like the come-as-you-are aesthetics of their (un-)uniforms. I like the exhuberant thrashing and driving basslines of their music. And I like the synergies between skateboarding and graphic design that seems as old as the sport is. Skateboarding magazines, logos, and deck designs have been around for decades. Maybe it’s a SoCal thing, just like car customization, another grass roots aesthetic movement.
My boy, Jack, turned 11 last week. He has given himself a fine birthday present this year by painting the underside of his board with a group portrait of his favorite cartoon characters in various states of debauchery. Jack worked fairly long and hard on this piece, drawing the design, then transferring it onto the board by scribbling pencil on the back of his drawing, then carefully painting the whole thing in acrylics and then polyurethaning the whole thing to preserve it against New York puddles. Our pal, Tom Kane, provided technical advice and encouragement.
When we went to the skateboard store to get trucks and wheels, the staff was incredulous that this little kid had created such a great board. Now Jack is busy scratching and scraping his masterpiece on the rough asphalt of Washington Square Park.