big mouth

now playing: T.N.T. by AC/DC

recently i started skateboarding. i’m not sure why. i’m too old for this shit.

actually i do know why. i am turning into a teenager, and not for the first time. not my actual teenaged self, but its platonic ideal. everything i wish i’d been at sixteen. someone who can write. someone who can draw. someone who can curate, at short notice, a solid eight hours of uncommonly high quality mood-appropriate music for almost any occasion. someone who has a collection of interesting rocks. someone who has a favourite drug, and drug combination, a favourite lighter, a favourite dildo.

someone who can skateboard.

i do genuinely wonder whether i’m regressing. it’s not exactly arrested development, because i actually did grow up once. i was, in effect, an adult. what am i now?

not much.

so i dug out my old skateboard from a shed.

i never properly learned how to skateboard. i spent my adolescence as a beardless hermit alone on a semi-remote hillside. nothing flat for half a mile in any direction.

about a year ago, for no reason that i can clearly remember, i started heading out to the nearest flat patch of road and learning how to skate. this is the kind of weird shit that happens to you when you begin to emerge, hunchbacked and translucent, from years of heavy depression. you start to do stuff, unsure of the reasons why, like a pre-programmed caterpillar, a parasite host.

it takes me about fifteen minutes to walk across the moors to my spot. sometimes i smoke a joint, or half a joint, on the way. i listen to music. i skate up and down. i practice pushing, turning, stopping – the absolute basics. i can forget most things when i’m skateboarding. partly it’s the singular focus required when learning something new, particularly something physical, and partly it’s just fucking fun. to finish, i ride down the long hill. i feel like i’m bombing down the steepest street in la.

there’s a scene in bryan lee o’malley’s (brilliant) scott pilgrim (volume 2) where scott takes on evil ex-boyfriend/moviestar/skateboarder lucas lee, which i think about when i’m going down that hill. cumulative speed: too fast to live.

see, it really does say that.

did i mention that i love that series? so much.

the adrenaline rush leaves me with a wild body high, which sustains me all the way back. for someone of my relative skateboarding greenness, i have overdeveloped board-carrying abilities. i know all sorts of ways to hold a board. left, right, in front of me, behind me, on my shoulders, on my head. one to use when my arms are tired. one to use when smoking. one to use when contemplating. one to use when bored.

my board is a bit shit. it was shit when i got it, twenty years ago, and it’s still shit. the design is three bighead giacometti aliens, backlit, black on green. it’s got a distinctly nineties cyberpunk cool meets generic sporting goods retailer vibe. now, i wouldn’t do this with a new board, the pressure to not fuck up would be too much. also, if i got a new board, i’d get one with a fucking dope design. but this board is nearing its end. i decided to finally show it some love. i decided to have some fun.

i decided to give it a makeover.

when i want to come up with specific idea, for a specific project, i go back and look through my notes. i’m not one of those people who can just come up with a bunch of good, interesting, relevant ideas on the spot. or at least, that’s not the way i do things. i like to generate ideas freely, with no clear application. a few options are then available. i can develop and refine anything that seems interesting. i can take a new idea and try to figure out if it fits in with any other current or proposed projects. or i can file them away, for future reference, to be used whenever the right project comes along. that’s what i did this time, just flicked through my sketchbook and picked out some designs i thought might look cool on a skateboard.

in the end i went with the big mouth. i like it. it’s dark. it’s acidic. it’s a mouth, and mouths are such weird things. i use mine to eat, to talk, to breathe, to smoke, to kiss, to give head, to store my pen lid in while i’m writing. plus, it seemed like the easiest to paint.

altogether it took two days. i used whatever paints and finishes i had available. with the right paints i could’ve done it in a day, and the final result would’ve been cleaner, but i actually completely dig the way it turned out. it looks gritty.

day one:

first i removed the trucks, sanded the base, and sprayed on a coat of white primer. i taped up the sections i wanted to stay white, then sprayed the rest with matt black automotive paint. once that was dry, i peeled off the tape and went over the white sections with some random white household paint.

day two:

the next day, i used a small brush to outline the teeth (and uvula) with black acrylic. i sprayed on a clear lacquer as a finish. this shit reacted somehow with the white, making it bubble and crack in strange and disturbing ways. i assumed that i would have to start again but the end result was actually better than i expected. also, i didn’t plan to spend a week on this shit, so i just kept going. finally, i brushed on three coats of unnamed clear acrylic which i found in a big tub, hence the finished texture.