Skateboard Art

Posted by Scott

I spent a good chunk of my youth destroying my knees in the name of skateboarding; first during the 80’s as a kid and later in college. The contrast between these two distinct stylistic periods was stark to say the least. Decks went from the curvy whale-tail style with garish neon graphics to the simplified, unidirectional kind you see more often today. The graphics changed a lot with the shape, but each era had a huge influence on my visual tastes. The stickers, the shirts, the decks; I was obsessed with the imagery. I guess it was one of the few instances where a suburban kid could be exposed to non-traditional art and design created by outsiders.

While digging around for some interesting graphics I came across this article at Unodos covering a few books that feature some classic skateboarding designs. There are some old favorites in there (the Powell branding is still about as good as it gets), but I missed Hook-Ups (which you’ll catch a brief glimpse of on the Skateboard Stickers cover) and Alien Workshop (two of my 90’s era favorites). Most of the images are from The Disposable Skateboard Bible which definitely looks worth picking up. The publishers have an online gallery featuring decks from various designers and artists featured in the book.

I also came across this Buddy Carr Pintail designed by Antonio Carusone (thanks for the heads up Derek. A great example of a contemporary design.

15 Comments Leave A Comment


Blake Barton says:

November 9, 2010 at 6:49 am

Skateboarding is highly responsible for why I became a designer. When I was younger, Brands like Alien Workshop, Chocolate, and Girl really got me interested in pursuing a design career.

Oh, how I miss risking my health in the name of landing a trick.


Seth says:

November 9, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Great post. I can’t get over how much this stuff appeals to me. I swear I watched this 80s skateboarding show every time it was on local TV when I was growing up. The name of it was “SK8 TV.” Horrible jokes, worse fashion, but beautiful old school decks and tricks.

Use the link below to watch some footage from the show:


Chris Freitag says:

November 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I’m in the same boat. Was totally into the Powell Peralta team in the mid to late eighties. Got my fifth grade school picture taken in the Mike McGill skull/snake shirt. The art and iconography of that period still feels larger than life to this day.

Another company producing great skate artwork in that period was Santa Cruz. This book likes another great resource to get stoked on.

Have You Seen Him? -Chris


Jon C. says:

December 6, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Nice post. Still skating and collecting them as art now to hang in the kid’s rooms. Jim Phillips and V.C. Johnson were a huge part of the history. They still do work separately and collaborate for Pocket Pistol Skateboards. Creature made a board recently called the Impaleya. You have to see it in person to appreciate the paint job, a metal flake graphic with palpable layers.


Magicpantz says:

January 26, 2011 at 9:29 am

I think the Powell Peralta decks were so effective because they had such great brand identity. I of course didn’t notice at the time because I was busy doing ‘Acid Drops’ off of the church steps. But you can see how well that font and design holds up to this day…


SMF says:

March 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Pretty cool to see the Dog Town Skates board. Very cool.

Check out for some surf/skate/other inspired art.