Madrid Skateboards has some new and some not-so new limited release reissues out. According to the distributing arm of Madrid, these 40th anniversary edition decks will only be produced this year, yet the Explosion model and Beau Brown model have already been available for some time. Not mentioned in the release is their most infamous model, the X-Team Rider, which has also been available for a while. Although simple, I’ve always liked the explosion model, even before I knew it was Bernie Tostenson behind the squeegee and Rubylith. Some of these aren’t up on either website yet, so check them out after the jump.
Brand-X skateboards are being re-issued! These are hand screened (not heat transfers) made by Watson Laminates, the same company that produced Brand-X boards before they shut down. However, it gets a little tricky here. Bernie Tostenson owned and screened and supervised the original Brand-X, but he sold the company in 1986, but stuck around to supervise until some time in 1989. The company rereleasing these is the one that bought it from Bernie. It’s unclear whether or not these early Brand-X designs were ever produced by Watson, and they do mention having to recreate the separations, a task that I know to be a time consuming one. The decks have an old school truck pattern but will be distinguishable as re-releases by varied color ways on the top graphic as well as being laser etched in editions of 111 each. The first three models are the Knucklehead and two variations of the Weirdo, one on a natural wood that has not actually been released before.
Three Sims boards in different colorways? No, the middle one is a Speedent, copied from the Sims ‘New Wave’ team deck from 1981 by Bernie Tostenson. The legit Sims images are from (left) eBay Watch March 2010, and (right) February, 2011.
The Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei turned up some history of Speedent:
‘Charles Yeh, CEO of Speedent Corp, has been exporting Taiwan-made sporting goods world-wide since 1975. The first line that Yeh introduced to the international market was skateboards …’
Considering the original date of this early graphic (1981-1982) and Speedent’s origins in 1975, I’d say that Charles Yeh was a pioneer of crappy bootlegs!
In June there were (at least) 2 fake Brand-X decks for sale. The left one is a copy of a 1986 Sean Goff model that was designed by Steve Krajewski, it even says ‘Sean Goff model’ on the top right. The right one was based on the 1987 XEX-model by Bernie Tostenson. It’s actually the same like the one from last month, only in another colourway and I think it could have been made from another company too, because the design looks slightly different.
In this edition of counterfeits we have a fake Brand-X deck. The original team deck from 1987 was designed by silkscreen-artist Bernie Tostenson. In the late seventies and early eighties Bernie was working for Sims where he created the famous ‘Winged logo’ and Brad Bowman’s ‘Superman logo’. In 1984 he and Bud (a photographer and salesman) started Brand-X. They ran the underground company for about 5 years illegally from Bernie’s garage, where Bernie did all those crazy silkscreens. He said these were the happiest years of his life and they had fun, while the big companies destroyed the soul of skateboarding. In 1988 Brand-X made a partnership with one of their distributors and did well for about one year, but the story goes that the new partner stole the Brand-X name, fired the whole crew and amateur team, hired cheap artists and screeners and let the company die in only a few months. Bernie still designed for Flip in the nineties. He died in 2009. For sale at 2dehands.be.
[Sources: Disposable 1 and 2 by Sean Cliver]
Tom Sims died last week from a heart attack. My first snowboard was a Sims, because it was in the 80’s and quite frankly, there weren’t a lot of other choices out there. Sims put out some of my favorite skateboard graphics courtesy of Bernie Tostenson, so why would any self-respecting skater choose another brand? The Sims name was trusted and it legitimized the sport to a certain extent, at least through my eyes in that time period. As his clout in the skateboard industry waned, he picked up more steam in snowboarding, and that seems to be how the mainstream media is focusing on. The images above were poached from a gallery on ESPN. They’ve got a story and a video up too, mostly focusing on Tom’s influence in snowboarding. Interesting fact, Sims was instrumental in bringing the halfpipe to snowboarding competition, otherwise it would have been endless slalom races.
A few weekends ago I got a bee in my bonnet that resulted in wasting a lot of my time trying to duplicate the artwork on this Brand X Weirdo board. I’m pretty sure Bernie Tostenson is my favorite skateboard artist. I loved those mid 80’s Weirdo boards, as well as the late 70’s and early 80’s Sims boards he did. I decided to try and replicate the Weirdo.
Hey everyone, quit reading this blog and head on over to Disposable: random essays on skateboard art. Take this extra on the passing of Bernie Tostenson. Bernie did some great graphics for Sims before starting Brand X. Brand X had a crappy wood shop, but the the screen printing was second to none. For instance, I have a Brand X Weirdo hanging on my wall in my living room. I’ve looked at it thousand times, and tried to dissect the print work that went into it. I figured it was 6-8 colors with a few blends in it, because when I contemplated the larger possibilities, it gave me a headache. I couldn’t handle the truth. Twelve colors? Holy cow. I learned that on Cliver’s Disposable blog. Add him to your bookmarks. The Disposable blog makes a great companion to the book that is a great companion to the first book.