From the Brainfloss in our March 2013 issue, here is our interview with the legendary Jim Phillips. At the bottom of the page, find out how you can submit your own rendition of the Screaming Hand and win a signed Screaming Hand print and more from Santa Cruz.
Pulling inspiration from the surf and drag racing culture in Santa Cruz, Jim Phillips has created some of the most iconic skate graphics of all time. From the explosive evolution of Roskopp’s Target series to a large collection of timeless logos and graphics for some of skateboarding’s most influential, the Phillips legacy is legendary.—Keegan Callahan
As a skateboard artist, were you sad to see rails go out of style, knowing your work was destined to be left smeared over a curb somewhere?
Even with rail protectors they were smeared, and screwing those things on top of the art didn’t help either.
How much research would you do on any given pro before starting on a graphic?
I love sitting down with them and sketching around. Jimbo [Phillips’ son] and I just collaborated with Claus Grabke on his new Santa Cruz deck. I always aim to please, but at the same time, to satisfy my own sensibilities, I need to talk them into stuff.
Jeff Kendall’s boards seemed to have a recurring anti-war theme. How involved was he in the development of those graphics?
Jeff Kendall had a bug up his ass about technology destroying the world. Looks like he was right though—compare the Pumpkin deck with 9/11.
The Independent logo often gets mistaken for the Iron Cross. What led you to that design?
The Iron Cross. Hitler was a jerk, but in the ’60s it was the Surfer’s Cross and the Biker’s Cross, so to me it related to the surfers and bikers who started Independent trucks.
What lessons from the pre-digital era would you pass along to the up-and-coming artists and designers?
Learn to draw.
Graphically speaking, what sells skateboards?
A mystery of the universe.
What is the most gratifying part of your process?
Finishing the friggin’ thing. Actually, I’m hooked from the start and cannot bring myself to stop until it is over.
Who are your influences now?
I stopped being influenced about 40 years ago. I just keep doing what I like over and over.
With such a recognizable style, do you find it hard to experiment with expectations of your fans and clients?
No kidding, everybody expects their design to be the next Screaming Hand.
Land yourself a piece of the Phillips legacy with your own rendition of the iconic Screaming Hand graphic. Whatever medium/genre you want—but it better be good to catch Jim’s eye! Jim will pick one submission to receive a signed Screaming Hand print and a box of product from Santa Cruz.
Mail in your entry to:
Jim Phillips Screaming Hand Giveaway c/o TransWorld SKATEboarding
2052 Corte Del Nogal, Suite 100
Carlsbad, CA 92011
Deadline is April 19, 2013. Jim will pick a winner shortly thereafter.