Back In The Day: Matt Hensley Speaks On His Classic Stained-Glass H-Street Graphic

I was in a hotel room in Colorado with Steve Ortega and this random artist gave me a rough sketch of me in the sitting-on-the-stairs pose. Jeff Klindt redid it and is credited with the final version, as he’s the one who added the stained-glass backdrop, but the first sketch came from a skater in Colorado.

The idea behind it came a bit from an old Minor Threat cover. I didn’t want to rip it off, but I wanted it to slightly look like that. When it came out, it did exactly what we wanted it to do. It was reminiscent of Minor Threat, and it also had a melancholy feeling surrounding it, which is kind of the way I was feeling at the time. But that wasn’t on purpose, it just happened to coincide. I was a little confused about what I was doing and where I was going-I was going through weird times as almost everybody does.

I don’t know how well the board did, but I was getting checks for nine grand a month in ’89. I blew it. I was eighteen and did what people who are eighteen and make too much money do sometimes. I helped my friends out-I got one friend an apartment for a year, one friend a scooter, and bought my ex-girlfriend a car. I went through a bunch of different cars.

This graphic and my first graphic are the ones people always talk to me about, but the stained glass is always the one I see tattooed. I ran into one guy who had this as a full piece down his back, and my mother-in-law was even walking around in Switzerland and spotted a guy with this tattooed on his leg. She asked, “What’s that tattoo on your leg? That’s my son-in-law.” Of course he was like, “Sure, lady.”

For its time, this shape was good-I still love the shape. It was right before the double-for its day it had a shitload of nose. I have three of these boards and managed to keep at least two or three of all my early boards. It came out in different stained wood color ways and it also came out in paint, but the wood stains will always be my favorite.-as told to Skin Phillips