Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DECLASSIFIED / By The Sword Skateboards

Just in case you weren't already privy, Mike Vallely and I recently announced the creation of our own skateboard company, By The Sword. This project has been underdevelopment for many, MANY months, and I have even hinted at right here a few times. It has been a huge relief being able to finally put this project into my 'Declassified' file and share it with everyone.

Below is the official press release that we issued to the public one week ago, July 13, 2010.

Mike Vallely Announces the Creation of By The Sword Skateboards

Los Angeles, CA--July 13, 2010--Legendary professional skateboarder, Mike Vallely has created a new, independent skateboard company, By The Sword Skateboards. Vallely has partnered with artist and long-time skateboarder, Jason Filipow, who will serve as Creative Director for this start-up brand. The two have worked together on a number of projects in the past, but this is the first time Vallely and Filipow have combined their collective talents and passions for skateboarding.

As a co-sponsor of Vallely's upcoming 'Glory Bound Tour', By The Sword Skateboards is debuting their first product offering, a deck entitled "DIY or DIE". The graphic, designed by Filipow, speaks to the inspiring and empowering abilities of authentic, do-it-yourself initiative. The boards feature a bold, three-color graphic, which have been manufactured and screenprinted in the USA. The "DIY or DIE" board will be ridden by Vallely during the tour and will be available for purchase at each of the tour stops.

The 'Glory Bound Tour', which is also sponsored by Good Fight Entertainment, Landshark Wheels, Fuel TV and ShredorDie.com, features Vallely skateboarding alongside Duane Peters, Bill Danforth, Kristian Svitak and Cyril Jackson. It is scheduled to make more than 25 stops at skateparks across the United States from July 18, 2010 through August 18, 2010.

Mike Vallely, also known as Mike V, has been an active and relevant professional skateboarder since 1987. He has played a defining role in the evolution of street skating, skateboard tricks, shapes and graphics. He has traveled the world as an ambassador for skateboarding, asserting the authenticity of skateboarding as a creative pursuit and a form of self expression. He sees this new brand as an extension of his work as a professional skater.

Vallely states, "The DIY spirit that has driven me as a skateboarder and as a professional skater hasn't always lined up through the years with the reality of who my sponsors happen to be. It's always been something that has weighed heavily on my mind. My own independence in skateboarding has been crippled at times by the demands and whims of my sponsors. I'm just not interested in that game anymore. It's simply time for me to put my money where my mouth is and to truly do my own thing."

"Once I decided I had to do this brand, and that I had to do it independently, it was important for me to find the right artist and designer to help shape this vision. I had to look no further than Jason Filipow."

"Through my years of knowing and working with Jason, he and I have really connected. In many ways, By The Sword is just an actualization of the conversations Jason and I have had about skateboarding and how much we love and value it. To us, skateboarding is still a sacred, ritual act. We want our products to speak of and represent these ideals."

Jason Filipow, also known as JRF, has been an underground creative force within the art and design world for many years. With a long history of involvement in creative pursuits, Filipow began designing and making his own stickers, t-shirts, stencils and 'zines as early as 1985. A passionate and dedicated skateboarder himself, Filipow has followed Vallely's career from the moment Vallely burst onto the scene by appearing on the August 1986 cover of Thrasher Magazine.

Filipow recalls, "When Mike appeared on the cover of Thrasher, I identified with him immediately. Here was a fellow East Coast kid, who was boldly pioneering his own type of skating; one that didn't rely upon the inaccessible, and sometimes nonexistent, terrain of backyard ramps and pools. His skating thrived within the sprawling, suburban wasteland of shopping mall parking lots, curbs and walls so familiar to the skateboarders outside of California."

As Creative Director, Filipow employs a variety of aesthetics and techniques to help bring the brand to life visually. The "DIY or DIE" deck is his first completely independent, and widely-distributed, skateboard design. He states, "Skateboard graphics are such a crucial ingredient to the act of skateboarding. They must possess that unique visual and visceral punch that gets you stoked and begs to be sessioned."

"Working together with Mike to forge the foundation of By The Sword has been an amazing experience. Starting it completely on our own has been challenging, but the reward of retaining complete creative control makes it all worthwhile. We have the freedom to guide our brand and our products in any direction we wish. It's that kind of freedom that really speaks to the spirit of skateboarding."

Since 2004, Filipow has lived and worked in Los Angeles, balancing a workload of commercial design and fine art. As former Creative at Studio Number One, Filipow's client list included Honda, Adidas, Nike/Air Jordan, Fox Pictures, Swindle Magazine, Obey Clothing, Independent Film Channel, Dangerbird Records and Fender Guitars Custom Shop.

Currently working as a freelance designer, Filipow has most recently worked with House Industries, Six Stair Productions, Royal Elastics, Obey Giant Art, Poster Child Prints, Hurley International, and RRock Enterprises.

About By The Sword Skateboards

By The Sword Skateboards, formed in 2010 by Mike Vallely and Jason Filipow, is an independently owned and operated company. Their mission is to directly inspire and empower young people through the profound and positive influence of skateboarding. By The Sword features decks, apparel and related products that are designed and created exclusively in the USA. The company is based out of Los Angeles, California and distributed by Regulator Distribution in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

For more information on By The Sword, visit them online at www.ByTheSwordSkateboards.com.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sound Advice JRF @ TWBE

Music is a HUGE part of my daily life. I tend to spend almost all of my waking hours working on creative art/design projects. This practice is typically done in alone and inside my humble studio. One luxury of this type of self-inflicted exile is being able to listen to music all day long, whatever I might feel like at any given point and any volume. Music often feeds inspiration to my adventurous imagination and can serve as a catalyst for developing new ideas.

For some unknown reason (??!!), somebody at The Worlds Best Ever thought it would be a good idea to have me submit my own playlist. So I pondered the invite for about 0.0009 seconds and started slamming my brain....

What to choose?
Which version?
Too obscure?
Do I even have that in digital form?
Only 15 songs? (DAMMIT)
You get the idea.

I am not a DJ of any sort, just a music fanatic. Instead of fretting to create an overconceptualized and coherent playlist, I just decided to pull tunes that have in my daily rotation the past few months.

Now go download it and enjoy. Below is what was strung together...

Sound Advice 61: JRF

01. Wasted by Black Flag
02. Question Authority by Drunk Injuns
03. Attitude by Bad Brains
04. Bloodstains by Agent Orange
05. The Ceiling by SNFU
06. Fix Me by Iggy Pop
07. Johnny Appleseed by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
08. To Hell With Poverty by Gang of Four
09. Bad Life by PIL
10. Alternative Ulster by Still Little Fingers
11. Paranoid Chant by Minutemen
12. What Gets Heard by Firehose
13. Shoot You In The Back by Motorhead
14. Police & Thieves by Junior Mervin
15. Know Your Rights by The Clash

Monday, July 5, 2010


During my 'field' trip to Screamin' Inc last week, owner/operator Chicken blew my mind by casually yanking this plank of skateboard history out from behind a cabinet....one of Hosoi's early Hammerhead prototypes from 1985. Chicken said it's a deck that Holmes used to defeat Bony Squawk during one of those infamous NSA Finals battles at Del Mar.

The other thing that was so shocking (besides laying the deck down next to a vintage issue of Thrasher featuring a McTwist sequence of Holmes on the very same board), was how completely flat the board was. Almost NO concave at all...combined with the fact if was the most thrashed out pro stick I have ever seen; check the razor tail and grip job.

Too sick.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Screamin' Inc

Looking forward to this afternoon....heading down with the crew to visit Chicken at Screamin' Inc (dig on the Jim Phillips-illustrated logo above!). He's one of the last remaining American companies out there that still does 'old fashioned' screenprinting on skateboards. Can't wait to see thisstuff in action.

Just the harbinger....more info coming soon!