THE DRAWING BOARD: ALPHONZO RAWLS
WORDS: Eric McHenry
The skateboard as a canvas has always been somewhat tough to work with. Some things will never work; some have been done to death. Sometimes you go landscape… which is cool, but only from one angle (it's gotta be hung above the doorway and not in the lineup with the rest of your collection above the couch). And some designs work perfectly, like this graphic here. How has this not been done before?!?
Y’all know Instagram? Well, I was on instagram and saw smiley Chris Joslin holding up his new pro graphic for Plan B, and I just sat there… zoomed in looking at this graphic, admiring the vector work and the smooth, hot highlights. And when I saw the Plan B heart logo, I was completely sold. It’s like a secret Joslin Bubblicious flavor meets “Stimpy Vision." It’s like the clear bodies from biology class, where you’d have to put the innards back in correct order… only the skateboard’s awkward 9" by 32" frame is that body.
Stimpy Vision meets those plastic, clear bodies from biology.
I commented “nice graphic!” but I remembered that I work at the Berrics and that I can take this a step further. Our editor has his number and set me up.
How’d you think of it?
I was thinking of the things that exemplified Chris Joslin and his skating and came to the conclusion that "Balls" probably wouldn’t convey as well of a skateboard graphic as "Guts" would, haha! The idea came from me imagining the skateboard as a living thing and envisioning what its internal organs would look like. From there I wanted to marry that idea with the brand and Chris, by incorporating the "B" icon as the heart and "JOSLIN" in the small intestine.
What were some of your references?
For this graphic I referenced a lot of anatomy images.
The hardest part of this graphic was trying to figure out how to incorporate "JOSLIN" into the intestines. Fortunately, his last name has six letters which allowed me to stack them and maintain some balance.
This is the first draft of the Joslin guts deck. Alf says, "I do not have the original hand sketch for this one, I threw it away... But this image has the original idea before I incorporated 'JOSLIN' into the small intestine."
What are some of your favorite board graphics of all time?
My favorite graphics of all time would have to be the stuff that Powell Peralta artist "VCJ" [Van Courtland Johnson] created back in the eighties and nineties, as well as all of Mark Mckee and Sean Cliver’s work from the nineties that they created for World Industries. If I can point to a series it would be the Bones Brigade parody series that Blind released in the nineties because it took the art style of VCJ and was reinterpreted with a humorous eye by Marc McKee.
Best graphics out right now?
My favorite skateboard graphics currently are a limited series by artist YESNIK EVAD. He does abstract paintings that incorporate realistic shading and gradients. His unique style and palette selection really stand out to me. I am also a big fan of The Friend Ship Skateboards—they nail it every time! One of my favorite graphics from them is a board they did with a mirror on the bottom created with a silver foil process and it reads "Have you seen him?" on the top of the mirror.
(editors note: EVAD YESNIK, is a pseudonym of artist Dave Kinsey… falling deep into a little Yves Tanguy-sized hole.)
Whats the future hold for you?
The future for me will be more focus on my brand, #EVERYBODYSKATES, which started off as my artistic expression through photoshopped edits of popular culture icons on skateboards, and as of late has evolved into me hand-drawing my ideas. I will also continue building upon my large format hand-woven embroidery art and am working towards a solo art show towards the end of 2018.
Favorite art related youtube video?
I don't have a favorite, but I enjoy watching documentaries on established fine artists, current and from the past. My latest one was on Basquiat.
Bravo Alf, bravo. Get Chris Joslin's "Guts" deck in The Canteen.