Skateboarding is magical. From the simplicity of the Ollie, to the intricacy of a Laser flip. The sport (sorry purists...), and the culture is founded on a raw form of creativity. Skaters don't care if something hasn't been done before, they'll be sure to give it a damn good try anyways. I think there is something beautiful in this unfiltered form of creativity and experimentation.
Naturally, this focus on creativity forms a close relationship between skateboarding and art. My favourite memory of skateboarding was not going to the skatepark (partly because I was rubbish), or cruising the streets with friends. My favourite memory was going to local skateshops and just looking at the graphic of each and every skate deck on display. In fact, it was the extravagant (sometimes sexually explicit...) deck graphics from my local skateshop that first attracted me towards skateboarding.
I remember at one point, I began to favoured cheaper, blank decks over the more expensive, graphic decks. I thought to myself, if there's no difference in quality, why should I dish out the extra bucks? And this does not seem to be an uncommon opinion amongst skaters.
But allow me the chance to convince you otherwise:
Each deck graphic tells a different story, evokes a different emotion, and attracts a different type of person. There are no rules or regulations on what can or cannot be put on a deck graphic. A skate graphic can be devloped and produced in an industry leading factory, or a shabby garage, and everywhere in between. It's a truly democratic canvas. Your skatedeck choice reflects upon your own taste and character.
The deck graphic is not permanent. The graphic inevitably, fades, scratches, and wears away throughout the life cycle of the skateboard. So why should I pay extra for a graphic that won't even be preserved? Because the deck graphic becomes a one-of-one product, a bonafide reflection of you. The wear and tear depends on your skating genre, lifestyle and geographical location. It can never to replicated.
In a strange, truley unexpected sort of way, skateboarding becomes kind of zen (seems fitting, seeing as this is the invasian blog). "Mono no Aware" (物の哀れ) is a Japanese idiom for the awareness and appreciation for the impermanent. While the Japanese intellectuals of the Heian period most likely did not ideate the concept of "Mono no Aware" for skateboarders, I can't help but feel a link. Just like the cherry blossom that weathers after a beautiful yet hurried bloom, the deck graphic remains pristine for the first couple days, only to scratch and fade throughout its lifetime. I don't think a skate graphic should be protected against wear and tear. But rather, it is this very wear and tear that complements the graphic.
So go out, find a skate deck that looks the best, and put it to it's use!
Skateboarding, don't ever stop being yourself!
(although starting less fights may be nice)