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Get Stoked on Skater Rodney Mullen's Feelings on Failure

The skateboard pioneer's words come to life in Spanish filmmaker and illustrator Antoni Sendra's third installment of 'Bulletproof Thoughts.'

by Anthony Pappalardo
23 May 2016, 11:55am

Video stills courtesy the artist

In an age where the word “disruptor” is thrown around ad nauseam, it’s easy to forget that the pioneers of shaking shit up existed before the word "buzzword" was even invented. Most of these true outliers were innovating in their respective fields, way before startup pitch decks begged for revenue, touting the next big idea via "the next Instagram" or "the new Elon Musk," "Mark Zuckerberg," or "Rodney Mullen." That’s correct, the Mutt, the freestyle skater who created an entire physical language of skateboarding, is a like mind to any tech pioneer, as his 2013 TED Talk resume bolsters.

Spanish filmmaker and illustrator Antoni Sendra has created a series titled Bulletproof Thoughts, that transforms the simple musings of Mullen, Ray Bradbury, and Joe Strummer into snackable content, delivered with a visual treatment that borrows as much from Schoolhouse Rock! as it does Monty Python.

Sendra describes his subjects to The Creators Project: “All of them are outsiders that have conquered the mainstream cultural space. They have defined the recent cultural history, by not losing their individuality, countercurrent—all of them are writing future history books." His love letters to these icons communicate salient bits of wisdom from the creative mentors that have inspired and informed his work. In just a few minutes of video that teeters on psychedelia, Sendra’s able to provide respite from the productivity-based malaise that can stifle creativity and problem solving.

“When I hear heroes of mine talking about life, love, or any deep subject, I instantly get inspired,” he said. “The idea was to communicate profound thoughts in tune with the modern way of content consumption: fast, fragmented, short. In this overstimulated world full of screens and social networks, it’s necessary to cultivate our minds with deeper things.”

For his most recent piece, Sendra’s illustrations transform Mullen’s dialog about failure and expectations, seen through the lens of skateboarding, into a playful and poignant allegory. “Get lost, throw away convention, and break out of the box others have put you in,” are just some of the mantras that informed Mullen’s path in life and skateboarding. “There’s nothing better than being a beginner,” Mullen orates, as Sendra’s drawings twist and morph along with his narrative.

“Rodney Mullen is an extremely creative human,” Sendra says. “He symbolises the power of individuality in the creative process. In a world that’s measured in metrics that only value the results, he gives importance to the process. It’s not about making a difficult skate trick, it’s about being unique and expressing yourself by making it.”

BULLETPROOF THOUGHTS #3. Rodney Mullen from Antoni Sendra // PODENCO on Vimeo.

There’s a synergy between Sendra’s visuals and Mullen’s words, almost as if he’s funneling the sparks flying from the matrix inside Mullen’s head, transforming it into a pillowy bedtime story. After all, genius always wants to tap back into childhood innocence, but via adult experience and learning. Mullen’s been that mix of wide-eyed innocent and savant his entire career. It’s why his “just fall, forget about expectation” voiceover sets a mind dreaming, rather than putting you to sleep.

To learn more about Antoni Sendra and the Valencia, Spain-based animation studio Podenco click here

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