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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

VCJ Back with Powell

VCJ, Vernon Courtlandt Johnson Back with Powell and the Bones Brigade
Dear George and VCJ (Vernon Courtlandt Johnson) back together.
Picture from Powell Web Site.
Do you remember that scene from the Animal Chin video where Stacy is watching TV and the news reporter is interviewing the corporate schmuck who really doesn't get what skateboarding culture is about? Well the new designs make us think that for the past 20 years, they used that guy as a consultant on the new products. Actually, for the past 20 years, we were all waiting for Stacy to bust open his TV and pull out a REAL Powell Peralta skateboard with VCJ art!!! I know that Powell Peralta & VCJ parted ways on bad terms, but man do we needed him back. There is a reason that over 20 years later, the old Powell Peralta boards are still considered classics... that reason is VCJ. His designs were ICONIC, yet playful without being cheesy. Let’s just face it... without VCJ, the Powell Peralta brand would have never been as strong. Stacy was kinda nonplussed after he left Poweel too but came back in December. Now, after Stacy, after Mike V, that’s Vernon Courtlandt Johnson, aka VCJ, who is back in the mix with Powell-Peralta. After numerous years away, the artist that inspired the Rip the Ripper Art Show and created many of Powell-Peralta's timeless images, is busy working on new graphics as the brand marches forward. Welcome back VCJ and the Bones Brigade

VCJ, Vernon Courtlandt Johnson Back with Powell and the Bones Brigade, The Ripper
The Ripper
The Ripper is arguably the most iconic skateboard graphic in history. Vernon Courtlandt Johnson developed it in 1978 for Ray Rodriguez, Powell-Peralta's first pro skateboarder.
(The Ripper) was developed over a period of about six months, during which the basic concept of a skull breaking through a barrier evolved through a number of evolutions, each of which simplified and strengthened the basic image. It was purposely undertaken as a follow up to the tremendous success of Court’s first graphic, the Skull and Sword, which had been drawn for our first pro skater, Ray Rodriguez, the year before.

When Court undertook the development of the Skull and Sword, he started with only a scribble on the back of a matchbook we received from Ray. It didn’t really look like a skull and sword, but that’s what Ray said it was, so we believed him, and Court set out to make it look a little more like one.

Skull and Sword was to be Court’s first graphic and would require a conscious departure from his original fine line “0000 Rapidigraph crosshatch” style so we could silkscreen it. Since he was learning to use MC Escher’s unique shading style and had to apply it to a skull, he asked if we could buy a skeleton to draw from, and so we did. Rosie, our medical supply skeleton, still resides in the Skate One Art Department thirty years later, but she is a little ‘worn’...

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Wednesday, March 09, 2011 


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