Monday, March 10, 2008

Santa Cruz Skateboards

 While Jim Phillips is possibly the most well known artist in skateboard history respect is due to a few of the reference books he has in his studio.  As a kid interested in art and skateboarding I had noticed a few Illustrations in a book by Virgil Finlay (a Sci-Fi Illustrator from the 30's) that caught my eye. First was the classic Jeff Grosso Witch board graphic.
The original black and white stipple on the right is unmistakably the inspiration for the Santa Cruz board graphic in the same picture and i spotted it right away. I also remember seeing a few others like a portion of the first Tom Knox graphic as well as part of Corey Obrien's Reaper design.
 I was stoked to see the influence of these illustrations in the S.C. designs and it was almost like finding out someone's secret. As it turned out it would become a secret to me for many years because I had forgotten the artists name completely just days after discovering him. Every so often I would look through old Sci-Fi books trying to find out who that was but never could seem to find him again. Some time last year I met one of the Old School NHS artists Johnny Mojo and one of the first things out of my mouth was "who was that artist and why was he used so much in early board graphics"? I couldn't believe that after some 12yrs of trying to find out the artists name I was about to get my answer. It's like when you have got a name or a song you are trying to remember but just cant, and it drives you fucking nuts. "Virgil Finlay" Johnny said "he was in allot of old graphics, it's funny you saw that". Finally I had the name and couldn't wait to google it and find all of those images again. Johnny went on to tell me how most of the early riders would go over to Phillips Studios to give him an Idea of what they wanted on their board. Allot of the time they would have no Idea how to explain it so ended up looking through all of the Art & Design books in the studio. Something about the Finlay books stood out and would often end up being the ones the riders used to come up with designs. Virgil has books on Amazon although no complete volume of his work exists this site web has some great images if you can deal with the poor layout and you may even find some that are familliar. ARTCYCLOPEDIA

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