Objectively Open For Interpretation
Is skateboarding art? Maybe. The conversation’s become tired but for SB, skateboarding’s rich visual history was a place to get inspired. By the 2000s the art world was sniffing around skateboarding and suddenly the underachievers were given gallery shows and were selling at prestigious festivals worldwide. That’s great but none of it captures the magic of skateboard graphics—the handmade images that give skateboarding its personality. Nike SB worked with artists central to skateboarding’s graphic identity to not only use shoes as a canvas but to recreate iconic ideas in completely new and unexpected ways.
Clichés exist for a reason, as do double entendres, and “often duplicated, never replicated” describes the intense line work, craft, and macabre vision Brian Schroeder brought to punk, hardcore, and skateboarding. Giving Pushead license to stain the Dunk forever meant the results had to deliver and the Pushead Dunk oozed all the blood, guts, and bones, any fan of the icon expected, in one of the most gloriously grotesque Dunks ever.
Lance Wear away Jordan
With the Air Jordan I no longer off-limits, Nike SB looked to Lance Mountain to cut his teeth on the classic low version. The Jordan Low SB QS went hard in the paint, offering tear-away materials, stitched over mismatched UNC and Royal colorways that could be revealed when skated but as the internet quickly discovered, were ripe for customization with a razor and penchant for destruction. Just like they did in the ‘80s, those lucky enough to grip the shoe ripped it all up and started again, adding their personal takes to a shoe that defines iconic.
McFetrige Paper Dunk MOMA
Comments restricted to single page. Through his work with Girl and Chocolate skateboards, artist Geoff McFetridge changed the nature of skateboard graphics through his explorations of typography, iconography, and much-needed irreverence. In 2011, MOCA in Los Angeles recognized and celebrated his contributions through a unique collaboration with Nike SB titled “Art In the Streets” with McFetridge contributing 24 paper artwork-based renditions of the Dunk High Pro SB. Packed with a signed cardand box, all 24 pairs were auctioned off for charity with a low starting price of $100 that obviously didn’t last.
During the advent of video in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the soundtrack to skateboarding became even more essential, often turning a video part into a watershed moment by stitching the right tricks with the right songs together.