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Kill the Engine

Skate It or Hang It?

It's a tough question that was answered in Atlanta last weekend.
Κείμενο Michael Sieben

This past weekend I flew to Atlanta to attend the opening of the "Skate It Or Hang It!?" art show at the Museum of Design Atlanta. I was able to poke around the museum the day before the show opened and take some photos before the space was filled with people. Please bear in mind that the installation was still in progress, so the lighting in these photos isn't how the work appeared the day of the opening.


I thought I'd run through these images chronologically to give you a virtual tour of the exhibition. This is inside the lobby of the museum just past the gift shop and front desk. The title wall for the exhibit was a series of series.

Just past the lobby was an enclave with a cool description/depiction of skateboard colorways.

Mike Vallely's first pro model by VCJ. Many a late 80s kid's favorite.

Opposite the Vallely Colorway wall was a small narrative describing what happened with Bueno Skateboards (R.I.P.) and how Roger Skateboards was ultimately formed from its ashes. For the ten kids who care.

Just past that was a cool little story about a run of boards (each uniquely tie-dyed) produced by SCUMCO & Sons skateboards in Pittsburgh, PA celebrating Doc Ellis. If you're not familiar with Doc Ellis' legendary no hitter game that he pitched on LSD, then watch this animation by James Blagden. Crazy times.

Then you enter a hallway.

On the left side of the hallway was a huge mural created by Charlie Owens.

And on the right side of the hallway was a huge mural created by Alex Brewer (HENSE.)

To the right of the hallway was the main board exhibition room.

148 boards dating from the early 1980s up to present day.

The 80s wall was my favorite. Probably because I'm old.

Always loved this pre-shmoo Gonz board.

This one sure caused some controversy at the time. Flip to page 198 of your accompanying text: Disposable A History Of Skateboard Art by Sean Cliver for more information. (Graphic by Marc McKee)


Speaking of Sean Cliver, this one was a huge hit with me and my buddies when it came out. And by "my buddies" I mean the one other dude in my town who still skated in 1992.

And I'd probably be kicked out of Texas if I didn't include this one. R.I.P. Phillips.

At the end of the hallway was a second exhibition room that housed personal work from a select group of skateboard artists and designers.

It also had these really handsome floating walls with interviews with VCJ, Jim Phillips, and Sean Cliver on them.

With their respective work on the backs of the walls.

The artists exhibited in the back room included: Wes Humpston.

You know who he is, right? He kind of invented skateboard graphic illustration.

Jim Phillips. Original hand drawn color separations (and illustration) for a Speed Wheels ad.

And did you know that the original Rip Grip illustration was about five times larger than the printed sticker? I did not know that. But I think it's awesome.

This was my section of the show. I was exhibiting some recent screen prints,

some original line art for Thrasher, Bueno, Toy Machine, and Roger,

a couple of boards and some new paintings,

and my rejection letter for an in-house illustration position at Powell Skateboards circa 1999. In their defense (not that they need one), my submission was a confusing mess of work.

Andy Howell's wall space.

In the early 90s, hip-hop replaced punk rock as skateboarding's soundtrack and Andy Howell either saw it coming, or helped it happen. He co-founded New Deal skateboards, 411 Video Magazine, and (Underworld) Element skateboards. What did you do? I'm just kidding, I know what you did. I've seen your Tumblr blog. Nice work.


Here's Sean Cliver's space. If you're a fan of skateboarding graphics and you're not familiar with Sean Cliver, then… well… I guess you're probably not really a fan of skateboarding graphics. Go buy Disposable: A History of Skateboard Art and The Disposable Skateboard Bible and then let's talk.

Lance Mountain's work. I think Michael Burnett once described Lance as, "An accessible Neil Blender." I like that.

Shivers of nostalgia. Good shivers.

Real quick side story: I brought this t-shirt with me hoping that I could muster up the courage to ask Lance Mountain to sign it (he drew this graphic back in 1983). Not only did I not ask him to sign it, but I never even introduced myself or formally said hello. I guess I felt like he was already being accosted by enough total strangers, so why add one more awkward handshake to the mix? The only interaction I had with him was during a lunch we were both attending. I had to go pee and I opened up the bathroom door and it crashed into him and I apologized. It's good to know I'll always be a nerd.

OK, back to the art show. This is Steve Olson's work. Steve and his son Alex are the first father and son to both achieve the title of professional skateboarder. (In case you care about stuff like that. I'm guessing Tony Hawk's kid might be up next.)

The next day (the day of the opening) the entire block was closed off from vehicular traffic and 5BORO skateboards put on a demonstration in front of the museum.


Without a doubt this is the most people I've ever seen at an art event I participated in. Usually there's just about 30 college kids snooping around hoping to sniff out a keg.

Here's my list of thank yous: Thanks go out to Todd Vaught who curated the show, MODA and the MODA staff who were awesome to work with, all of the other artists in the show, 5BORO skateboards, and everybody who attended the event. The work is on display until September 16, so if you're into this type of stuff I highly recommend checking out this show. I'm obviously heavily biased though.

I didn't have time to watch a movie to review this week, but I did reread one of my favorite books on the plane ride back from Atlanta. So this week I thought we could switch things up and do a book review instead of a movie review, which is fitting since VICE recently released their annual fiction issue. So here we go.

Book Review: The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

An old man catches a really big fish but then some sharks eat it. He probably dies later. Bummer.

Previously - Respect Mom Butts