Colin Web Grover
In 1983, my Mom got me my first real skateboard. A pink Lance Mountain with Rat Bones wheels, Schmitt Stix rails and Independent trucks. Skateboarding has been my life ever since.
I remember going to the skate shop to watch videos and look at the decks on the wall. Back then, it was all about the graphics. The artwork in skateboarding has always inspired me. In the late 90s, I got really into painting. I would paint on whatever I could find and eventually skateboard decks became my canvas.
It wasn’t until 2012, that I realized I wanted to start my own skate company. The freedom to express yourself and be creative is what I’ve always loved about skateboarding. Now, I want to celebrate the art of skateboard graphics by featuring different artists on different custom shapes. By starting my own brand I am able to continue to be creative and hopefully skate forever.
Chris Parks the digital illustrator and fine artist known as Palehorse. Growing up on a steady diet of straight edge hardcore, Tampa metal bands, skateboarding and tattoo art, Chris later became formally trained as a graphic designer and typographer at the Ringling College of Art & Design. After spending his early years learning the ropes at a design agency by day and taking on freelance illustration projects by night, Chris took the leap to open his first studio and gallery space in 2006.
With well over a decade now of experience as a professional artist, Chris continues to draw influence from his roots, combined with an ongoing fascination for ancient Asian and Latin cultures, cultivated by travel and research into sacred art. A curiosity to better understand the esoteric meanings behind the images, deities and mythologies of these cultures eventually lead Chris to view his creative process as part of a greater spiritual practice where he invokes Buddhist, Hindu and Toltec philosophies to guide his work and tune into to the universal, creative force that is flowing through everyone and everything in existence.
Venturing thru a Kris Markovich painting is like rolling on a skateboard at max speed. Images both blurred and in focus swirl past you, recognizable faces, layer upon layer of experience, visions and paints evoke a revolutionary primitive and elevated world. Kris is a true skateboarder.
Like the renegade street style of running to Home Depot for ramp building supplies, the same rings true with his painting techniques. Now working with different kinds of techniques - brushes, paints, and a variety of mixed medias - Kris indulges his love and passion onto much larger pieces wood with the same forward motion of building and attacking a skate spot. Integrity and dedication translates smoothly. The heavy pressure applied by Markovich’s brush indicates his precise intentions of his creation. The thought process and intensity applied to his work creates a unique and beautiful finish. Much like Markovich’s skating style, passionate with a smooth finish transcends into the experience of his artwork.
Going inside the mind of Markovich - pulling lines from his journal entries, certain song lyrics, quotes, phrases etc., he will communicate with a stranger, loved ones, friends, or foes with his own words written on his artwork. If he is painting while he has others around him he listens to the conversations while his mind drifts off and permanently will capture the exact words or that exact feeling from that moment onto his masterpiece. Letters, words, numbers, phrases, and many more inscriptions you can find in his paintings that have been lived thru Markovich. Relatable feelings can be felt while being unconsciously moved by these special features in his work. The common bond that Kris naturally combines the experience in skateboarding and experience of his artwork - by moving people. The whole experience is to be watched, admired, felt, and remembered.
It was the mid 80’s in College Park, MD and I vividly remember peddling around the block and being blown away. Older neighbor kid had the red original Powell Peralta Steve Caballero dragon deck, Independent Trucks and black Ratbones. This super wide piece of precision equipment rolled fast and turned so smooth. It just looked and sounded sturdy. It had a serious top graphic you couldnʼt ignore that immediately let you know it was not something from a toy store. He was alone, skating a tiny little wooden quarter pipe that he had built himself. It was made from scraps and was pushed up against the curb in the street in front of his parents house. He had a stickered up boom box on the curb next to the ramp blaring a cassette tape he had mixed himself. He was wearing long plaid shorts that he had cut off himself, made from thrift store pants, with high top Vans, black socks and a Bones tee with the VCJ skeleton doing the hand plant. (Nobody had plaid shorts or shirts with skeletons on them). I didnʼt know what any of this stuff was at the time. I just knew I wanted in.
Had the privilege of working at Intensity Skates soon after (my first access to a Xerox copy machine, which was a game changer for graphics). I was surrounded by a warehouse of product and learned retail, catalog phone sales, packing and shipping as a high school kid. Later, finagled my way into doing graphics at a daily newspaper, then monthly mag, ad agency, and finally an in-house art department. Never knew what I was doing at any of them when I first got there but took the DIY approach skateboarding taught me and always figured it out (got repeatedly busted at all of them for squeezing freelance work in).
Now, a husband and a dad, I get to do all freelance all the time out of a little addition on the back of the house and watch my kids grow up. I always loved seeing photos of Jim Phillipsʼ home studio and how he spent time with his son doing art. I try to get a few turns in daily on a little mini I built in the backyard (always with the boom box blaring only now itʼs got a rechargeable battery, bluetooth and plays mixes from a phone) and always, fondly remembering that first time I saw skateboarding. Thirty some years later Iʼm still nowhere near as cool as that teenaged neighbor kid but I do still get that exact same feeling just talking about skateboarding. Canʼt believe it when I walk through Home Depot, Lowes, or sporting goods stores and see a graphic I did on a product on the shelf. Even saw a famous pro quarterback wearing something with a logo I did on it during a NFL playoff game. Still, nothing compares to that little kid feeling I get over the skate related projects. Thank you skateboarding.
Paul Schmitt has been designing and producing skateboards for nearly 3 decades. A skateboarder himself since he was a young boy, today his products are known world-wide for their quality, performance and durability. In fact, Schmitt is so knowledgeable about skateboard construction and so respected in the skateboard community, he's earned the apropos nickname of Professor Schmitt. His dedication to building the highest quality and most durable skateboards that also offer the greatest level of performance can be traced to the influence of the 100s of professional skateboarders who use his products. The feedback from his friends and fellow skateboarders has always been essential to the design and manufacturing of his skateboard decks.