I’m adding a few new smaller pieces to my online gallery store. Here’s one of my favorites created with mixed media on a vintage book cover. For more info: www.jameswalkerstudios.com
For me, skateboarding has always been about individual expression, that’s one of the reasons I fell in love with this art form. From an early age skateboarding taught me about being myself, setting my own goals, and following my passions.
Although I see skateboarders as a family, it is still a very individualistic activity. While hanging out with some friends at a recent skate park session, I noticed that everyone was pushing themselves to learn something completely different but we were all totally stoked for each other and cheering on everyone’s unique accomplishments. Whether someone is going for the most difficult trick or just learning to drop in, seeing the excitement on a skater’s face when they learn something new and watching the way they go about challenging themselves is forever one of my favorite parts of skating.
Here is a recent snapshot of one of my favorite skaters, Anna Walker (@nominramen). She is a great example of someone who follows her own unique creative aspirations!
I wanted to share anther new piece in my recent series of smaller works on paper. This piece is 9″x12″ and is composed of aerosol, acrylic, water colors, colored pencil, and a monotype transfer of an original photograph. I tried to create a serendipitous background that would create a sense of movement to go along with the bird image.
Here’s a photo I wanted to share from last weekend. Every aspect of Anna’s work ethic is inspiring! Here she is applying it her skating. The frontside grind is a trick that has been haunting her for years and last weekend she decided it was time to lock them down. She definitely put in maximum effort and unwaveringly employed the “fall down, get up, repeat” attitude that has made her both an awesome skater and a successful human being.
Two new pages from my latest sketchbook that I wanted to share. I recently gave a short lecture to a class of very talented art students and I was stoked to see that their professor was adamant about them keeping up with their sketchbooks. I believe this is a vital part of experimenting and growing as an artist, and it’s super fun! For these pages I used a combination of acrylic, aerosol, colored pencils, and toner based mono print transfers using a found diagram and an original photo.
About thirty years ago I opened the greatest Christmas gift of my life, a set of blueprints for building skateboard ramps. As a ten year old you wouldn’t think that receiving a stack of papers stapled together would be something to get excited about, but there was no internet, you couldn’t download this stuff, you had to physically purchase it, so this gift was huge. Growing up on the East Coast there were very few skate parks, if I could find someone with a steep driveway that I could pretend was a bank, that was amazing. I mostly just skated flatground, doing street plants and jumping off curbs trying to imitate my heroes like Mark Gonzales, Tommy Guerrero, and Mike Vallely.
A few days after receiving this epic gift my father and I proceeded to gather supplies and construct my first ramp. This was the late 80’s and according to our diagrams apparently everything still needed to have vert, even a five-foot quarter pipe. My father, being an expert engineer, followed the blueprints with exactness and precision and our 5-foot-tall ramp ended up with about 6 inches of vert on what was probably a 6-foot radius transition. It was gnarly. Upon completion, we both realized that this construction was not the most practically skateable obstacle for a ten-year-old beginning skateboarder and we cut the ramp down to about 4.5 feet. The transition was still super fun and challenging. This was the ramp that I learned a lot of my first maneuvers on, front side slashers and rock and rolls to name a few. But more importantly it was the moment that I realized that my parents supported my love of skateboarding during a time when this particular art-form was somewhat marginalized, misunderstood, and definitely not mainstream, especially on the East Coast. I loved this ramp, with it’s crazy transition and PVC coping and I skated it every day until we moved, which we did a lot back then, and sadly I couldn’t find a way to take it with me. So many glorious suburban driveway sessions were had on this well-loved ramp at a time when all that mattered was having fun.
Thank you skateboarding, I love you.