While the term “like father like son” is used stereotypically to roast someone for their inherited semi-likeable misgivings, there is nothing typical about this second generation skateboard artist. Jimbo, son of Jim Phillips (recipient of this years Eric Stricker Memorial Award to recognize his monumental contributions to skateboarding), grew up surrounded by top shelf graphics at every stage of their production. With a life long apprenticeship under one of skateboarding’s most iconic artists, there’s no denying that the future is bright, and most likely slimier, with Jimbo at the helm.—KEEGAN CALLAHAN
When did you start spending time with your dad in the studio, drawing and getting pointers?
I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember and I would draw with my dad pretty often. He would give me pointers even when I was a kid. We would do an activity where we would take turns working on the same drawing but you didn’t know what the other person had drawn. The end result was always really fun.
Can you remember any specific tips he gave you that really changed the way you approached drawing?
The treatment of the black line with thick and thin would give the drawing depth without much shading or any color. If a drawing can stand alone in black and white and look good, you know its working and it will only look better with color. Also the black line would capture the colors with the old silkscreen process for printing boards.
At what point did you graduate beyond assisting and begin creating your own original works from concept to manufacture?
I started working seriously with him when I was 18. It took me about the first year of working seriously to hone my technique to a polished pro-looking, graphic style. When I was a teenager my dad would sometimes get my input to see what the reaction was from his target demographic. Needless to say I was always stoked! One time I had a blank prototype board and I drew this angry face real big on the bottom and showed it to my dad. He liked it, so the next day I come home from school and he said “check this out” and it was the pencil drawing for the Rob Roskopp “face” board.
Was there ever a point when you thought you might rebel and become a lawyer or something else?
My dad started out as the classic starving artist and when I was a kid there were some very lean times. He would spend a week on a job that paid $50 bucks, but he always put one hundred and ten percent into his art. He would often tell me not to become an artist and do something else, go to college and get a well paying career. Then in the ‘80s things started really picking up with the skateboard graphics. When he started the studio, I was a teenager, and we were butting heads a lot so I almost passed on the job. I realized this was the oppurtunity of a lifetime, so I quit the gig I had in a print shop and started working at Phillips Studios.
What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
I have a new pro series of boards coming out with Santa Cruz. I have a piece of original art going into an art show for Steve Caballero’s Half-Cab shoe anniversary. I’m working on a vinyl toy design and trying to get my book done for release next year!
Get a Jimbo Phillips-designed Push Freak Raglan, a result of our Brainfloss collaboration. Two colors, limited run—get one while they last!