Over the last eight years or so I’ve managed to stumble upon galleries, websites, artist portfolios, magazine & newspaper articles about the design of skate decks.
The actual design of the deck has changed quite a bit in the last 40 or so years, from plank, to slab, to narrow beam, to wide spoon, tear-drop (especially in the long boards), and on to the band-aid shaped size of the last 20 years or so. I mean, long board deck design has been all over the board, so to speak, ever since their creation alongside regular street/ramp deck styles. But I think that the rounded-pill shape of current short board decks allows for a massive array of design possibilities (the band-aid design included!). There are even quite a few online shops that will help you design skateboard decks for any purpose. I’m sure those sites are easily discoverable if you just take a look around.
Skate deck artwork has been sold for any range of prices. Recently some decks have sold for thousands of dollars on the high end. I just entered a surf shop in Long Beach last week while out and about and they had these decks made of fiberglass with artwork inside it, without any wood, and it’s interesting to note that decks have been made out of quite a few materials such as plywood, maple wood, teak wood, plexiglass, varathane, carbon fiber and each material has its own look and feel, as well as riding effects. some stretch, bend, wobble, break and “pop” with varying degrees. They have been laser-engraved, painted, silkscreened, heat-transfered, dipped and woodburned in different ways over the years, too. So many options!
In school I must have spraypainted over the design on my own skate deck at least 20 times before throwing it out in favor of a new one. I used vinyl pinstriping, spraycan masking, paintbrush, model acrylic and enamel paints and last but not least an entire collage of stickers, over and under the schmitt stix and other hardware above and below the deck. …band stickers, brand stickers, hand cut stickers… well, you get the idea.
In 2003 a friend of mine handed me a blank skateboard deck and said “paint it”. Oh, what a directive! It still hangs in my garage with nothing on it. Yet.
I really wanted to make one for myself. Probably two, though. One to hang up, and one to ride and destroy.
Having admired the artwork over the years in the skate industry, I figured I’d add a little to it.
So, having endeavored to create the identity that is Butter Label over as many years has been a consuming and entertaining back-alley-of-the-brain experiment/project. So actually, the “prototype” Butter Label deck that I made in 2008 was spot on. It had the metaphorical kraft paper, packaging and cardboard icons/symbols, and even some token duct tape included in the design. It hangs in the garage now, too.
Late in 2009 I found a place that fabricates bamboo skateboard “blanks” and picked up a few. This week they’re at a graphics shop in Long Beach being toyed around with to see how well they can silkscreen on them. Bamboo is extremely durable, stiff and grows very fast and easily sustainable as a crop. These boards have water-based glue and have all the “pop” that you’d ever want out of a skate deck.
I expect to have a board I’m proud of enough to sell if you’d like to pick one up. They’ll have the Butter Label wordmark on them and maybe I’ll include a shirt and sticker for you if you’re interested. Just like the Butter Label Moleskine Sketchbooks, though, they won’t go on forever. If there’s enough interest, I’ll make a limited run of 52 just as before.
If you’re interested in them, leave a comment below about what kind of package you would like:
- a complete skate package with wheels, trucks, bearings, and hardware
- just the deck
- deck and griptape
- deck and sticker
- deck, sticker and shirt
I’d be willing to do complete packages on a request basis perhaps and hope to finish them up here in January of twenty-ten.