Pushead and Zorlac

When I was in the seventh or eighth grade I used to draw this graphic over and over and over.  It must have appeared in every binder I had and also some of my friends lockers.  I was always interested in drawing and art from a young age, and I think the way it got started in this particular instance was by one of those friends asking me if I could draw it for them precisely so they could stick it up on the inside of their locker door. Just like me, he was into Metallica, trick BMX and skateboarding, and it was around this time when the Metallica Damage Inc. tour was taking place, which had a somewhat similar graphic.

This iconic graphic in question was, of course, drawn by Pushead -- whose real name is Brian Schroeder. Pushead was an artist with close ties to and involvement in both the skateboarding and music industries -- a natural pairing as anyone familiar with skate culture will know -- doing designs for Metallica, The Misfits, Aerosmith and Thrasher Magazine (for which he also wrote the Puszone column). If you're wondering about the name "Pushead," it's pronounced "puss head" and Schroeder talked about his work being a "pimple" on the face of society. You can figure out the rest I'm sure.

Brian "Pushead" Schroeder (Source)
This particular Pushead graphic is simply referred to as the "pirate" or "damaged pirate' -- which needs no explanation -- and is completely indicative of his now iconic style. Pushead's work became the face of much of the artwork of the band Metallica as well as the Texas based skateboard company, Zorlac, which was founded by Jeff Newton.  Pushead's first 'published' work for each were the Metallica Damage Inc. tour art -- which has some strong similarities to the damaged pirate -- and Zorlac's John Gibson pro model.

Pushead's Damage Inc. art for Metallica
Pushead's work for Zorlac has made them amongst some of the most collectible boards today and certainly amongst some of the most recognizable. The most famous and desirable is arguably the Metallica damaged pirate. This particular deck came in a wide array of colorways (some of which were a little jarring which may have been due to the fact that Zorlac founder's suffered from color blindness). Here are just three of the brighter one's which really appeal to me:


Of course if you wanted something a bit more 'metal' and subdued, they had those as well, usually in stains, but I'll take these bright one's all day long.

There were plenty of other designs done by Pushead for Zorlac but it is especially the Metallica decks that get the most interest to my mind. The explicit connection between Metaliica and skateboarding was actually because of Pushead as it was he who suggested the idea of a model to them; in fact, it was also he who suggested that skateboarding could be something they do to kill time while on tour.

While the damaged pirate is my own personal favorite, I do feel the need to give an honorable mention to one other particular favorite of mine, the "Shrunken Mask" team deck:

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