December 06, 2014

The Wonder Twins: Rare 1990's Skate Art

As skate art is concerned, I am admittedly primarily drawn to and focused upon decks from the 1980's as well as the original Dogtowns from the 1970's. This is in no small part due to the fact that I was born in the first half of the 1970's and so it was the 1980's when I was first drawn into the skate world and it is that era which I have the strongest connection to and familiarity with. (Though I don't want to understate the fact that, as skate artists go, people like Wes Humpston and Jim Phillips are legends and masters of the craft as well, making their work worthy of attention at any time and in any era.)

That said, I am not one who wants to mistake my personal familiarities (or nostalgia if you will) for some sort of objective, universal standard and I am perfectly open to admitting that there has been plenty of interesting stuff that has occurred since those decades. In particular, I have developed a very keen interest in the earlier half of the 1990's -- a time which saw legendary skate artists like Marc McKee and Sean Cliver putting out so much iconic and interesting work.

One of the things that I enjoy about skate art is that the volume of work out there seems so prodigious. It's rather like being an admirer of Picasso, no matter how much you look at his work, you're constantly amazed that new things frequently turn up which you've never seen before -- and with skate art, even if you've seen a particular piece of deck art before, you're always running into new colorways that can give a completely different spin to a graphic than you've seen a thousand times before.

Recently I came across a pair of decks from Santa Monica Airlines which were produced in 1993, the "Wonder Twins" decks of Tim Brauch and Jason Adams -- which, according to Art of Skateboarding, were done by artist Nate Carrico.


(Image credit: Memory Screened)

Memory Screened has a bit of the back-story around the graphic from Jason Adams:

"This wasn’t especially inspired by any existing superhero, it just came from me and Tim Brauch drinking together. We came up with the idea together, we were just always together. Lived together, skated every day, same sponsor, traveled, all that shit! It was the best time, salad days I tell ya…"

I really connect with these decks, particularly in these colorways. The graphics really pop and they represent a particular type of skate art from the 1990's that I particularly enjoy and connect with: those which, like American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, picked up on the classic illustrative tradition of comic book and comic strip art styles. When I think classic 1990's skate art, this is the kind of thing I think about.

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