Sunday, August 24, 2008


I have been busy finishing up a small set of new Drip Paintings for an upcoming exhibition in Berlin, Germany. The show, "Diverse Chorus", was organized by Kevin Taylor and features 27 American artists. It will open at the Neurotitan Gallery on September 19th. Many thanks to Kevin and the crew at Neurotitan for the invitation.

The Drip Paintings are an on-going series of small (10" x 10" x 3") works on canvas that I have been doing for about 16 months. They are all created with aerosol paints and each utilize different color combinations but the same drip 'pattern'...

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I love music, just like many of you. I have my fair share of recorded music (and it shames me to say this), but about 80% of it is digital. I don't own a CD player anymore, I don't own a turntable and I think the only cassette player I own resides in the dashboard my car...BUT, this doesn't mean I don't understand or respect that part of the population who are FANATIC about collecting the always-controversial medium of vinyl... 

Sean Dunne has directed an amazing short about the 'World's Largest Record Collection' and it's passionate proprietor, Paul Mawhinney. (You can learn more about Mawhinney's collection on his website). Thanks to Dunne for making that film and sharing an incredible story.

(And thanks to Aaron/DDC for originally posting this link.)


The Deathbowl to Downtown companion zine has been officially printed (800 copies) and shipped out for distribution. It's forty pages of black and white photocopied chaos, assembled with little-to-no 'digital ductape' (which just means that I created a 1:1 scale mechanical paste up with old fashioned scissors and tape). Again, many thanks to the Six Stair boys (Goldie, Bud, and Charno) for all the creative freedom and I hope that the NYC skate scene is stoked with the final product. Look for the zine at skateshops and film screenings throughout the US in September.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Obviously I have been on a bit of a nostalgic skateboarding tangent the past few days. Part of that is due to all of the skateboarding-related projects I have been working on this summer, but more of it has to do with the activity of skateboarding itself. For me, skateboarding was a limitless possibility when I picked it up in the mid-80's. It was not only the lack of rules and structure that was so appealing, but also it's (unintentional) effect of helping me discover and define my own identity. It was something I could pursue on my own, I could interpret and engage in the suburban 'landscape' of strip malls and parking lots, curbs and sidewalks. The skateboarding culture was also a perfect, companion fit with my all of my other creative interests-photography, drawing, painting, stencils, stickers, customized t shirts, carpentry, etc-all of which I still do to this day.

Above is a recent 'test' silkscreen print that was a by-product of reissuing 'Streetscribe', a zine I did with Kevin Taylor about our local scene of Charleston, SC. It ran from 1987-1989 and partially reflects a lot of the friendship and fulfillment that skateboarding provided us. Kevin recently organized an evolving documentary on one of our most important skate spots during those years, The George Street (Burgess) Pool. This fifteen minute video has great stills of some of our good friends and locals- Chris Bortz, Hank Beiring, Blaize Blouin, Shepard Fairey, John Donehue, Chris McMurray, Keith Durden, Jeff Richards and many more. (There's even some local news footage of me in Charleston County Jail when I got arrested for 'trespassing' in the pool). Hearing Bad Brains do 'I Luv I Jah' while viewing some of those photos COMPLETELY takes me back to that time...

It was rough and bumpy and gnarly; the Wallos ditch in Hawaii is the only other thing I have ever seen to compare it to. Riding the George Street Pool required speed, aggression and some wreckless courage. In it's heyday, jump ramps, quarter pipes, curbs and railroad ties were scattered around it's immense flat bottom. And on Saturday afternoons, it wasn't unusual to see 30-40 different skateboarders from around the region converge to ride. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

200 YEARS...

...the personification of street skating as commanded by Tommy Guerrero; Future Primitive by Powell Peralta, 1985 (text by Stecyk). 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Jim Phillips' classic Corey O'Brien graphic for Santa Cruz skateboards. One of my favorite Phillips' graphics, right in the thick of his epic 80's output. If you're a illustrator and/or a designer and don't own this book, I highly suggest getting it. The majority of the work that came out of the Phillips' Studios was good ol' pen and ink on illustration board....some of which can still be purchased at his site.

I bought one of these right when they came out (summer 1988) with some new OJ Team Rider wheels. I learned frontside grind reverts and frontside ollie reverts at the Junkyard with this board. I would love to purchase one of these (not the recent reissue), so if anyone out there has one, please get in touch....


Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, "Johnny Appleseed". I think this is an amazing song and in terms of lyrical content, is consistent with his work in The Clash. (And the line, "...after you get the honey, don't go killing all the bees" really feels like an allusion to the US occupation of the Middle East). Now, I am not completely well-versed in entire The Mescaleros catalog, but it's definitely a hybrid of "world music" influences and sounds...check it out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Snapshot of one of my earliest surviving stencils; 'Skull Skates', hand-cut manila file folder, spray paint, 9" x 11", 1985. I used to charge the posers in my neighborhood fifty cents to get this applied to their decks. (I also used this same snapshot as an opening page portfolio presentation at some corporate skateboarding company earlier this year. I guess I was trying to establish some sort of artistic/cultural 'legitimacy'...hahhahah)

Monday, August 18, 2008


Yet another Bob-Gruen-photo/The Clash-inspired t-shirt graphic. There is a great set of photos that Gruen shot during the epic 18-show Bonds run by The Clash in 1981; sidewalks full of fans, camping out in the que; graffiti and show flyers on the street, etc. One image really jumped out at me; this great collage of news headlines, stickers and graffiti ("Clash Power") on an alley door. The effect for me visually, was something like a Borroughs-esque pile of recontextualized wordplay and type; or a Rauschenberg combine of silkscreened newspaper headlines.

When I was invited to do a t-shirt graphic for the LA-based Clash tribute band, 'Clash City Rockers', I knew this would be the perfect inspiration. I started by digging up tons of sensational headlines and pull quotes, most with associations of Clash songs and themes. I clipped,  scanned, photocopied and physically collaged them together to make my own interpretation of that 1981 NYC alley door...the band produced a small run of these T's with their logo on printed top of the collage, but one day I am gonna print it as a straight collage.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Continuing the theme of all time rock and roll-oriented lists, I would put John Lydon's Public Image Limited mark near the top of my 'Logo List'. It's black, simple...classic. Wait, I mean, it's round, simple...classic. (It even makes an appearance in Chronicle's recent book, Band ID). I even feel the whole concept of PiL seemed to be a bit (ironcially) of an extension of the whole McLaren/Westwood/Seditionaries philosophy. And this interview is classic, difficult/stand-off-ish John Lydon...(yes, another late-night tobacco Tom Snyder clip). Some of the early PiL album packaging was really brilliant as well.

Anyway, above is yet another one-off bootleg T in progress, circa 2003. I had been wanting a PiL shirt since the first time I saw the logo in a 1986 high school hallway. An X-acto knife and a can of fluorescent pink spray paint later, I was happy, even IF fifteen years late. (Boy, I really miss that regulation-sized, 3/4" slate work table.)


I mentioned 'Bankrobber' a few days ago, and the fact it was in my top 10 all time favorite Clash songs. Now I want to talk about 'Magnificent Seven,' which I would definitely place in my top 5 all time favorite Clash numbers. And this is the greatest version I have ever heard, live on TV in 1981. Strummers' lyrics and the delivery are really fantastic and must be the impending influence of NYC hip hop (rap, graffiti, DJ's, etc) culture on the band.  A point of rock n' roll trivia: The 'Magnificent Seven' predates Blondie's rap verses in 'Rapture' (the video of which featured cameos by NYC hip hop scene-makers), by about a year, according to my 'research'.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I like the challenge of working in unfamiliar territory. Last year, I initiated an opportunity to create several customized denim jackets and vests for the members of Revolution Mother. The typography and skull are elements I had illustrated for the cover of their first LP, 'Glory Bound'. Making them into hand-cut back patches and sewing everything together was all a new experience for me. I was very happy with the results, and it was great to see the final product up on stage. They're back out on the Vans Warped Tour again, playing a few dates in California this week.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


(WARNING: I feel a multi-day, Clash-themed tangent coming. So here's the first of several to come...)

I first learned about Mikey Dread after seeing a casual portrait of Don Letts made by Bob Gruen. Letts was donning a great, partially obscured graphic on his t-shirt that really caught my eye. Then, I noticed Strummer wearing an identical shirt (that's him and Futura playing Ms. Pac Man above) in several other Gruen photos;  'Dread at the Controls,' it read. At first, I just figured it was the name of Letts' radio show or something. I asked a friend about it and proceed to do some research online. I also dug deeply into some of my other Clash periodicals/reference books. Mikey Dread was a Jamaican musician/producer who first worked with the Clash in 1980, assisting with production and backing vocals on 'Bankrobber.' (I definitely put 'Bankrobber' in my top 10 favorite Clash songs). As it turned out, 'Dread at the Controls' was not name of Letts' show, but of Dreads' Jamaican-based radio show. Letts was really at the forefront of sharing and importing Jamaican roots music into London in the late 70's...

I had also heard the phrase, 'Dread at the Controls' as in lyric in 'Radio One.' It's is an obscure Clash recording, actually written by and led by Mikey Dread on vocals (and maybe Simonon on bass); released as a B-Side in 1981. I clearly concluded that I had to "bootleg" this graphic. 

I have made about 3 or 4 of these, and given most of them away to friends. I kept the execution pretty simple, just hand-cut, Bristol board stencils and some high quality aerosol. What's a little bit of work to make a 'legit' bootleg that I love to wear? (To date, nobody has 'recognized' the origin/reference of the graphic. Either my fellow Clash aren't as fanatic as I thought or I need to get out of the house more often. Maybe both.)

Unfortunately, Mikey Dread passed away earlier this year, so RIP and thanks for the inspiration; Dread at the Controls!


A few months ago, I offered my creative services to a friend (and fellow skateboarder) who has been putting together a few interesting and humble documentary projects. I felt inspired by his working title, 'Wasted Days', especially since he's straight-edge (and it would give me the perfect opportunity to incorporate the classic 'X' lock up). It made me think about time and how to best use it, to be productive, etc, but also to make the time to enjoy some of life's more arcane and absurd pleasures. Above are excerpts of my favorite graphic solutions...

Keep up the good work, Larry.


Yes, more 'Deathbowl to Downtown', dammit! 

I proofed the production D2D 'zine at the printer today...I originally wanted to have the 1:1 scale, mechanical, master paste up just laid down directly onto the photocopier, just like the pre-digital days. Simple, right? (Plus you end up with that great, degenerated visual syntax.) Unfortunately, that's just too much work for people these days, so the master paste up got scanned and the outputted from digital files. Or maybe I should have spent 8 more hours of my own time inhaling toner at the local 'FedSux/Stinkos', and making copies....anyway, everything looked good, so I signed off on the proof.

800 (!!??) copies will be ready next week; hopefully I will have a few extra to flow to other skateboarders around the world. 

Monday, August 11, 2008


I like putting my own 'tongue in cheek' as much as possible. I find it therapeutic; it replaces some of the stress and confusion in life with a little humor. Last year, some ' group/movement/antithesis/anti-artist' was getting a whole lot of press for waging a public war (primarily in NYC) on 'established' street artists. I found the entire episode rather amusing, especially the reaction of the 'established' street artist, many of whom ironically fell victim to 'vandalism'. In true post modern fashion, some of the 'targeted' street artists fantasized about plotting their own brand of revenge, a la mass marketing/commodification of said 'anti-artists'. I think it would of worked, to a degree, and this prototype was going to be my contribution from the sidelines,  a 'limited edition' commemorative 'Homage de Splasher' tote. 

Friday, August 8, 2008


Yes, another blurb about 'Deathbowl to Downtown'. 

In addition to getting to design this graphic/poster/print to help promote the latest Nichols/Charnoski doc, I got hooked up with Steve Rodriguez, above, at 5BORO in NYC. (I see that 5BORO is sponsoring a contest at the famous Brooklyn Banks next week!) Steve helped me push my '2 deck set' concept all the way through the approval process and to the production line. About 50 of these were made, and they're individually numbered on the topside. (I am still waiting to receive my pair! BOOHOO!). The 'Deathbowl' deck uses more of an early 80's shape, while the 'Downtown' uses a contemporary shape; that was Charno's idea, I think. Anyway, this is the first time I have ever done a 'mass produced' skateboard graphic for a skate company. Thanks, guys.

I jacked this photo from somebody else's blog, but that's Jeff Pang and Jocko Weyland with the D2D decks at the NYC premiere in May. Jocko wrote the story/narrative/script and does a few cool 'zines of his own, too.


"What We Do is Secret", the long-awaited new film that chronicles the LA band, The Germs, opens this week. (Now I know why Roger was wearing his Germs shirt today!) You'll see a few scenes recreated from 'The Masque', the heart of the underground scene of LA in the late 70's. Of course, bringing this up is just some crass way to plug a recent project I did. Thanks to Roger Gastman and Brendan Mullen giving me a chance to take a stab at this print, for Live at the Masque. (I can't take any credit for the great typography on the poster, though; it's all sampled from Brendan's own hand-drawn flyers.)


I have been on some sort of unprecedented silkscreen-printing bender for the past few months; printing on wood, metal, cardboard, cotton, newsprint, etc. I suppose part of the reason is that I have figured out how to rip my own films and expose my own screens using pretty simple methods, which makes the whole technique more accessible. Another reason may be that my last 'professional' experience with the medium dates back to 1992, when I worked briefly as a screenprinter, printing all kinds of banal and retarded commercial crap. Because of that experience, I was curious to know/learn what I could do with more creative/aesthetic freedom...
Above are greyscale details of a pretty labor-and research-intensive commercial/editorial illustration I recently completed; 48" x 96" on wood panel. (The assigned subject matter was Evel Knievel, Elvis, Bruce Lee and John Wayne. There are about 40 different films/screens used with about 25 different colors in the final piece). 

(oh yeah, the title 'Tennis Elbow' refers the sensation that lingers after making a few hundred one-armed squeegee pulls with a 22" blade.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Speaking of Stecyk, I again appropriated his typography for this article on the Bones Brigade and 25 year Anniversary of 'Animal Chin' for Swindle Magazine. This type was created with good ole' brush and ink and about half a pad of my favorite marker bond paper...I also did some digital collage using a lot of other classic Powell/Peralta graphics by Stecyk and VCJ. (BTW, if you don't know much about Stecyk or VCJ's graphic legacy, I highly suggest Sean Cliver's amazing book, Disposable, now in a revised/updated edition).


Straight-up bootleg of the classic Craig Stecyk 'Skate and Destroy' graphic from the early 80's, of which there have been a million knock-offs. It's a one-off T that I screenprinted a few months ago...(I have a piles of other primitive, one-off/bootleg-inspired tees that I will be sharing in the future). It's intended to speak to the ambivalent nature of art and life. I was going to use it as a URL for a portfolio website, but alas, some less-than-interesting designer already owns/uses it. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Speaking of zines, another project that I busted out this summer was a 20 year anniversary reissue of 'Streetscribe'. This was a zine that I used to create and publish with my close friend and fellow artist, Kevin Earl Taylor, in Charleston, SC. We managed to make four separate issues over the course of 3 years, I think. At the time, I just happened to have darkroom access at my high school which allowed us a lot of freedom in terms of printing our own photos. I also adopted my parents' old typewriter and my dad's office had a photocopier, so we were pretty much in business. Kevin and I really had a blast doing this thing and I am proud to say that I have been (unknowingly) involved in the DIY culture before it became a marketing buzz word...
'Where do I get a copy?' you ask. 
Well, I only made a few copies (after all, each zine featured a limited edition, silkscreened cover). Some went to s skatepark-fundraiser in Philly earlier this summer and a few more were sent out to a similar event in Atlanta. Unfortunately, the organizers of the events haven't been keeping me too updated on the progress/status of their respective causes. So, to answer your question, "I don't know."

(Dig the quasi-psychedelic-Fillmore-wanna-be-made-without-a-reference-hand-drawn-at-age-16 Streetscribe logotype).


Old fashioned, black and white, mechanically pasted-up and photocopied zines have been on my mind and on my table again this summer. Above is the 'Soul Artists' (Ali, Dondi White, Haze, Futura, etc) spread, from a new zine that I am just completing for 'Deathbowl to Downtown', a documentary film on the history of NYC skateboarding. The film will be starting a national screening tour very soon with an LA debut slated for September 8th. The zine is part of a promo package that will be issued to various skate shops and the like later this year...thanks to Charno and Buddy for including me in their project.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008



Since I haven't been disciplined enough to start a REAL website this summer, (although I have been collecting reference material and lists of possible URL's, most already all taken of course) I figured it might be wise (and maybe fun) to get something going in the meantime...

I am continuously inspired by reading/seeing other people's blog (I especially seem to focus on the ones that turn me on to new visuals/reference material/ideas I will probably plunder in the future/etc). I am gonna carry that hodge-podge theme, as well as works in progress, bits of news and buzz in the art/design world, and most importantly, editorial rants like this one that recently resonated with me. Oh, did I forget mention plenty of pop culture notations? 

"I am really influenced by Mozart and Bach. It's sort of in between those, really, it's like a Mach piece really."