What Tour?

The Girl and Chocolate posses join the Art Dump in an Australian springtime art assault.

Doing it and doing it well. That’s what you’ve come to expect from the Girl and Chocolate posse over the years. It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of polish-and a three-week tour is no joke, even for the most seasoned vets. This tour around Australia in the springtime was full steam ahead to the very last day. Kids in Australia really love skateboarding, and they turned out in swarms to watch their heroes give 110 percent at each demo. On top of that, these guys always have some kind of video project in the works, so any free minute was taken up trying to get some quality street skating done at a few of the better spots Australia has to offer. What you see on the following pages is a taste of some of the heavy skating that went down between demos. What you won’t see is the magic atmosphere that kids felt when Eric Koston, Mike Carroll, Rick Howard, Jeron Wilson, Brian Anderson, Marc Johnson, and Devine Calloway killed a demo-for that you really do have to be there.

So how is this one different from all the other tours that happen every day of every year? Combined with the skate demos were two art shows titled “What Logo?” and along for the ride were some of the guys who make all the clever graphics that Girl and Chocolate are renowned for. To read all about these talented chaps turn to page (??), and when you’re done with that, get out there and get some yourself!

“All day, every day, Calloway!” was the chant coming from a group of older skaters at the final demo in Perth on Australia’s west coast. Devine was a crowd favorite in Australia, especially in Perth where they don’t get too many pro tours. At most of the demos, Devine was mobbed by young fans asking him the usual questions, like “Can I have your hat?” or “Can I have your board?” But another question he was asked more than a few times was “Why do you smile so much?” His positive energy was clearly infectious, and despite the usual hecklers you get at every demo, Devine lit the crowd up and they would erupt when he finessed a trick.

The first night of the tour saw the posse head to bar in Melbourne’s renowned St. Kilda district. If you’ve ever seen the movie Chopper, you could’ve found half the cast hanging out there. St. Kilda is known for its seedy characters, and this bar held a collection of its finest. Clearly it was a perfect place for Devine to celebrate his birthday, and when the young lady who was up on the table in her own birthday suit found out, she grabbed his hat and wedged it in between two sliced hams. As Devine coiled away in shock, Rick got the hat back, grabbed some pepper and sprinkled it on the brim. When his hat was finally returned, it looked as though it had a little deposit on the tip, and everyone but Devine burst into fits of belly laughter-a great start to the trip.

On the Gold Coast a few days later, looking at a double-set at a university, Koston, Jeron, and MJ stepped straight up to the plate when some spoiled college jocks tried to act hard. The jocks wouldn’t come down from their little balcony, and they were told to “Go do your homework” and “Tell your mum to send you some more money.” It was great to see these world-famous skaters ready to go against some meatheads at the drop of a hat, but it was equally as pleasing to hear these fools catch mental beat downs instead of getting wiped.

About half an hour after the showdown, Rick was placing five- and ten-dollar bets on how soon Devine would get this backside flip. After ollieing into a sketchy wooden door laid on a set of stairs, young Calloway aced it in a matter of ten minutes.

Mike Carroll has extremely high standards, and nothing he passes escapes his microscopic scrutiny, whether it means picking out a certain food from a salad or calling himself out on tricks he may have already done-Mike could easily work for the FBI or NASA with his dedication the details. Everything is run through with a fine-toothed comb and then deemed satisfactory or unsatisfactory. For instance, this frontside five-0 big spin out was done flawlessly in everyone else’s eyes, but Mike insisted on doing it again to perfection.

At the demos, kids marveled at his pink SF hat, and many tried to buy it from him, but it wasn’t gonna happen. Throughout the trip his dedication to his new palm pilot and its game of marbles was bordering on obsession. For someone who imposes such high standards on himself, it was great to see Mike sitting for hours with the kids, answering their questions patiently, and signing all kinds of bizarre objects with the same curiosity for them as the kids had for him.

You can get a good idea of the presence of Brian Anderson by the look on this kid’s face-he’s completely awestruck. And with good reason, Brian broke a bone in his foot four days into the trip but was skating hard again after only two days’ rest. When asked how he was able to soldier on, Brian replied modestly, “I dunno. I guess I just have a really high tolerance for pain,” and that was about as much as he spoke of it. No whining, no sitting out of demos-it actually seemed as though he turned up the heat after he was hurt.

On any given day, you could catch him expressing intelligent views on the current political situation in the U.S. or discussing the finer details of a particular food or type of jacket. While he’s known far and wide as the Street Pirate, Brian is also a sophisticated gent with his ear to the ground. After a few others’ boards had already gone in the scummy water at the drains in Melbourne, BA popped out of this nosegrind and accelerated down the bank like a freight train.

Take a look at all the smiling faces here-what you see is one afternoon on a boat in Sydney Harbor, complete with an old salty, toothless Scottish sea captain. While everyone danced and had a good time on this rainy day off, it was definitely Marc Johnson who was leading the charge. He whizzed around the boat telling hilarious stories and leaning back loosely on the guard rail, not caring if he went in or not. As the boat made a four-hour circuit through the harbor, relics from the 80s were blasted over the stereo-everyone rocked out to Dexy’s Midnight Runners, The Proclaimers, and even Zorba the Greek. It was an electric afternoon and definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

What you may not know is that this tight tranny where MJ is backside noseblunting is also a relic from the 80s. It’s inside a housing commission estate, which is right next to the notorious Long Bay Jail, and during the 80s and early 90s you’d surely catch some beef for skating there. Nowadays it’s not as bad, but make sure you bring a broom and some buddies.

Roommates for the entire trip, Jeron and Devine were definitely two of the chirpier skaters you might come across. You could always catch loud hip-hop beats blasting from their room and smiles on their faces. The kept each other hyped and laughing, and despite a badly twisted ankle, Jeron snapped this beast of a switch ollie at a school in Perth.

Young man Devine is definitely one to watch, and this alley-oop backside flip over a steep hip on the Gold Coast left a few mouths gaping. If you ever make it to this spot, you’ll see how tough it is to skate.

What Logo?

As much as they have a great team of skaters, the Girl and Chocolate boards are also known for their unique and imaginative graphics. This could be the first time an art team toured with the skaters they design for. Along for the ride in Australia were Andy Jenkins, Tony Larson, Andy Mueller, and Jeremy Carnahan who, along with Rob Abeyta, Eric Anthony, and a few others, make up the Art Dump. They are the team of savvy gents who are the brains and fingers behind all those cool designs and ad concepts. There were two galleries in Australia showcasing the hand-painted wooden dolls by the Art Dump, as well as dolls by Evan Hecox (Chocolate artist) and guest artists such as Lori D. and many others. Both nights drew good crowds, and most of the hand-painted dolls sold out very quickly. We got the guys together to find out what makes them tick so creatively.

What makes a logo good to work with?

Jenkins: I don’t think there’s anything you’d consider right off the bat is a good logo, but it’s what we were forced to work with, which is good in a way. It’s giving yourself a limited palette.

Larson: Elements I think that are important in a logo are sincerity and simplicity. And then it has to convey who you are-your brand.

Jenkins: The Girl logo is known as a bathroom-door logo internationally, but in skateboarding, it’s become our company.

Can you guys compare the Girl logo to any other well- known logos in skateboarding, e.g., the Indy logo? Compared to those, what do you think the Girl logo represents?

Larson: I think when people see the Girl logo, they expect certain things-something artistically different from everyone else.

Jenkins: Especially when it’s combined with the team. When the team shows up somewhere, they bring this whole feeling. The logo’s there with them, so the logo attaches it to that family feeling-fun.

Larson: That’s what was good about this Australia trip-you got to see the inspiration behind the art. We’re trying to make art that lives up to their standards as skaters.

Did it help you guys being on tour and seeing the way they, the team, are?

Larson: We know them pretty well, but hanging out with them for a couple weeks is different. We were with them every day.

Jenkins: I think it makes a big difference. Seeing the guys when they come into Girl is one thing, but seeing them in the context of their work was amazing.

Larson: They really are professionals. They’re confident pros. Those guys didn’t miss anything-they were on a really tight schedule. All they kept talking about was, “We’re gonna go skate, we’re gonna go skate.” That was cool to see.

Jenkins: For me, it makes you understand why you do the process you do, because it’s ultimately for them, for skaters, and that’s what they are. They’re the ones who really make it what it is.

Carnahan: It’s good to get out and see what’s really going on.

Larson: They have good ideas, too. At the end when Marc and Brian showed up with their dolls, they just busted them out, and they were spontaneous but really good. You see another side of them you don’t normally see.

This could be the first ever tour for a skate-art team. Did you guys get as much recognition as the skaters?

Larson: I got a few autographs. Definitely have a huge fan base out there!

Carnahan: We’re gonna be getting our own signature shoe!

Jenkins: There was a really young fan-fourteen-brought one of his OGs to get it signed.

What were some of the things you noticed most about being out there? Anything else you found from meeting people at the shows?

Mueller: Different things people are wearing. You just take all that in. When you travel, just getting out of the office, you see what vibes are going around, what other cultures are like, and trends. Just get visuals.

Carnahan: Going anywhere away from where you work is great, especially going to other countries, because you see things through other people’s eyes. It’s a way to refresh yourself and rejuvenate.

How important is it for you guys to be working around other talented artists? Do you share ideas?

Larson: For me it’s like air, I have to have it. It’s so much around me that it’s half of what I do.

Carnahan: I’d be totally lazy if I wasn’t around other people. It pushes you to excel.

Abeyta: It’s interesting how we all work individually in our own offices, and we all come together and really collaborate and communicate with each other, and it elevates the entire level of the work we do.

Anthony: The things everyone’s doing on their own help inspire th by the Art Dump, as well as dolls by Evan Hecox (Chocolate artist) and guest artists such as Lori D. and many others. Both nights drew good crowds, and most of the hand-painted dolls sold out very quickly. We got the guys together to find out what makes them tick so creatively.

What makes a logo good to work with?

Jenkins: I don’t think there’s anything you’d consider right off the bat is a good logo, but it’s what we were forced to work with, which is good in a way. It’s giving yourself a limited palette.

Larson: Elements I think that are important in a logo are sincerity and simplicity. And then it has to convey who you are-your brand.

Jenkins: The Girl logo is known as a bathroom-door logo internationally, but in skateboarding, it’s become our company.

Can you guys compare the Girl logo to any other well- known logos in skateboarding, e.g., the Indy logo? Compared to those, what do you think the Girl logo represents?

Larson: I think when people see the Girl logo, they expect certain things-something artistically different from everyone else.

Jenkins: Especially when it’s combined with the team. When the team shows up somewhere, they bring this whole feeling. The logo’s there with them, so the logo attaches it to that family feeling-fun.

Larson: That’s what was good about this Australia trip-you got to see the inspiration behind the art. We’re trying to make art that lives up to their standards as skaters.

Did it help you guys being on tour and seeing the way they, the team, are?

Larson: We know them pretty well, but hanging out with them for a couple weeks is different. We were with them every day.

Jenkins: I think it makes a big difference. Seeing the guys when they come into Girl is one thing, but seeing them in the context of their work was amazing.

Larson: They really are professionals. They’re confident pros. Those guys didn’t miss anything-they were on a really tight schedule. All they kept talking about was, “We’re gonna go skate, we’re gonna go skate.” That was cool to see.

Jenkins: For me, it makes you understand why you do the process you do, because it’s ultimately for them, for skaters, and that’s what they are. They’re the ones who really make it what it is.

Carnahan: It’s good to get out and see what’s really going on.

Larson: They have good ideas, too. At the end when Marc and Brian showed up with their dolls, they just busted them out, and they were spontaneous but really good. You see another side of them you don’t normally see.

This could be the first ever tour for a skate-art team. Did you guys get as much recognition as the skaters?

Larson: I got a few autographs. Definitely have a huge fan base out there!

Carnahan: We’re gonna be getting our own signature shoe!

Jenkins: There was a really young fan-fourteen-brought one of his OGs to get it signed.

What were some of the things you noticed most about being out there? Anything else you found from meeting people at the shows?

Mueller: Different things people are wearing. You just take all that in. When you travel, just getting out of the office, you see what vibes are going around, what other cultures are like, and trends. Just get visuals.

Carnahan: Going anywhere away from where you work is great, especially going to other countries, because you see things through other people’s eyes. It’s a way to refresh yourself and rejuvenate.

How important is it for you guys to be working around other talented artists? Do you share ideas?

Larson: For me it’s like air, I have to have it. It’s so much around me that it’s half of what I do.

Carnahan: I’d be totally lazy if I wasn’t around other people. It pushes you to excel.

Abeyta: It’s interesting how we all work individually in our own offices, and we all come together and really collaborate and communicate with each other, and it elevates the entire level of the work we do.

Anthony: The things everyone’s doing on their own help inspire the other guys.

Larson: I’m noticing now, what we do on the outside doesn’t come in with us here and be Girl, but it’s interesting to see our personal artwork starting to come in. It fits within the Girl framework-if you want to use that word. And it works. That’s the best thing to see, all those outside elements coming in here.

Jenkins: These shows have helped us out-where it’s not a stiff commercial product. Not that Girl ever was, but just working for a company art department, it’s become a looser feeling where you can bring in your own work.

Larson: Right, and not have to be nervous about it.

Jenkins: And we’re not fooling ourselves here, either. We know it’s commercial art. We’re selling something, and we work within that. It works out.

What do you guys think about the limited-edition fad versus something like the OG dolls, which are handmade/one-off-originals?

Abeyta: I think original is better.

What do you think about the limited-edition shoe craze?

Abeyta: It’s cool, but it’s kind of frustrating as well. With shoes, it just doesn’t have the same feel of something that was hand-touched.

Larson: At the end of the day, it’s still just a shoe.

Abeyta: Limited edition is a term that’s used in the art community, but a limited-edition shoe doesn’t meet those standards. It doesn’t mean what “limited edition” really means.

Larson: It should just say limited edition of ten-million.

Abeyta: That’s not the reason we do the OGs, though-to try to be “original.” It’s more of a handmade kind of thing. Despite all the technology out there, here’s a wooden doll, and we’re painting on it like we’re in the 1920s or something.

Larson: Another thing about all these guys here is that as much as we use computers, we’re all still pretty much bound to the handmade thing on some level. We all kind of like that.

Abeyta: With the dolls, nothing ever gets brought up about whether it’s marketable or not, where a shoe or another limited-edition item might be. You always have that in the back of your mind, but with the doll, you do whatever you want.

Larson: It works for Girl because it’s the logo. You see that immediately, and then you have to look deeper into it to see where we come into it. So it works for both people.

Jenkins: It’s a weird marriage between the fine art and the commercial (art)-very strange.

Do you guys feel that where you grew up has a big influence on your style and the art you do at Girl? Do you think that’s an important aspect?

Larson: For my personal work, it does a lot, but for what I do at Girl, where I grew up doesn’t affect it. It’s more about what I’ve seen since I left where I grew up, in San Diego. Art School helped with a lot of that. But personal work for sure, it’s always there.

Mueller: I totally agree. In my paintings and my work-I just had a show and it was all about growing up in Chicago and my childhood. The aesthetics are like that, and it reflects that, but you can’t put that on a skateboard. As far as a T-shirt graphic, I’m looking toward current trends for stuff here, whereas I’m not really worried about that in my own work.

Larson: All the stuff that comes from the art world doesn’t work well in design, anyway.

Abeyta: Because it’s so fast. The art world has a certain foundation that’s traditional, that’s going to stay.

Mueller: I don’t know if my work is influenced by my childhood, but maybe it’s more inspired by the way I was brought up. I had open-minded parents who let me think freely and create. That’s kind of why I think I’m doing the same thing I’ve always been doing.

So it’s not so location-specific?

Mueller: It might have some kind of rooted feelings in the location, but it’s not really messaging about childhood or the location-it’s just inherently there.

Larson: It’s a really interesting question, because in my personal work, it’s huge. But I have something where I edit my own self when I come to work. I don’t let that part of it come into