Contrary to what Forrest Gump famously postulated, life is not a box of fucking chocolates. What it is, though, is exactly what the esteemed philosopher Miller pointed out in Repo Man:
"A lot of people don't realize what's going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidents and things. They don't realize that there's this like, lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example. Show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly, somebody'll say like, plate, or shrimp, or plate of shrimp. Out of the blue. No explanation. No point looking for one either. It's all part of the cosmic unconsciousness."
I'll forgo the plate of shrimp for now to instead dish about Porous Walker, an artist you're more than likely familiar with via his daily postings on Instagram, pop-up comics on Adult Swim, or past collaborations with Anti-Hero, Lakai, HUF, Enjoi, and OJ Wheels. My first introduction to him—or at least what I presumed to be my first—came by the way of my friend and "bro for life" Dave England, who'd sent me a handmade card a couple years back that had been designed by Porous, and I instantly fell in love with his crude, lewd, ludicrous doodlings.
I was perfectly content for quite some time to sit back and quietly follow him on the Instagram like any good, upstanding, non-stalkery admirer—or at least up until that fateful day when he posted a drawing of The Devil seated amid a group of children with a speech bubble saying, "And that's when I invented Internet." For whatever reason this spoke to me—okay, I've got a real thing for devils in art and I've long felt this Interweb crap will be the eventual undoing of all mankind—so I broke my silly silent appreciation to ask if the original art was available for purchase. Unfortunately, this piece happened to be an older one of his and was, as such, long, long gone in the fast, fast way that his originals go, but we started a DM exchange, I bought a different original of his, and that's when Porous finally divulged that he'd once met me at the Powell-Peralta premiere of Ban This in St. Louis.
Great cosmic lattice salad, anyone?
I'd like to say I remember that premiere like it was yesterday, but the fact is "yesterday" was 30 years ago in 1989—the same year I'd relocated from the sticks of Wisconsin to start my professional career as a board artist at Powell in Santa Barbara, California. Prior to this fortuitous turn of life events, I was just a simple, nondescript skateboarder from the Midwest with absolutely no window to the wonderful world of skateboarding out West other than whatever fifth generation bootleg skate video passed through our town or the monthly salvation of Thrasher when and if it hit the local newsstand. The latter I squeezed like a blood orange for every ounce of information that could be gleaned from the pages, because it really was The Bible back then; and, like it or not, I've always had an inner gossip girl to appease, so the entirety of a month would be spent cross-referencing past back issues to codebreak the infamous "Trash" column—the enigmatic highlights of which, for me, always pertained to the Powell-Peralta Corp., but none more so intriguing than when it came to their video premieres.
So, naturally, once I was "on the job" at Powell I couldn't wait to attend one of these legendary events; however, just my Midwestern luck, the marketing heads at Powell came up with the brilliant idea to spread the wealth and host the premiere for the sixth video*, Ban This, in St. Louis, Missouri. The fuck?!? This was nothing less than soul-crushing to me, but since I'd had a relatively decent run of producing board graphics over the past months I decided to press my luck and muster up the audacity to ask George Powell if there was any possible way I could attend the premiere. Fortune favors the bold, I suppose, or at least in this isolated case, because my wish was surprisingly granted and I was over the damn moon to: a) be booked on a flight to St. Louis; and b) actually appear in the subsequent ad for said premiere.
The resulting "unforgettable" weekend in St. Louis is little more than a buttery smear of half-memories now: random snippets of being in the theater and seeing the "LA Boys" segment for the first time; a flush of pride when Ray Underhill debuted his new pro model onstage; signing my first autographs for a few kids** that recognized me from a Bones Brigade Intelligence Report; and dissociative flashes of going out to a night club*** with Tony Hawk and a few of the other PP pros that had been brought in for the premiere. Oddly enough, my most distinct memory from the trip was landing in the Midwest with my flying companion CR Stecyk III, who recklessly yet successfully navigated our rental car from the airport to the hotel with a few roadside swerves thrown up onto grassy berms for good measure.
Anyway, enough about me, me, me and back to the Porous matter at hand. I was still somewhat bummed in a lingering fashion about not being able to pick up that original drawing of his, so at the onset of StrangeLove I humbly asked if he'd be up for doing a more expansive rendering of the idea for use on a slick bottom board. He was, he did, and I'm happy as hell to tick off yet another name from my dream roster**** of artists to work with on board projects. Thank you, Porous!
* Technically Ban This was the fifth Powell video, but a few at the company thought it would be funny to skip the fifth and go straight to the sixth, prompting the obvious question, "But what happened to the fifth video, where did it go?!?" Some considered Axe Rated to be the answer to this puzzle, but don't die wondering.
** I don't know for certain if Porous was one of these kids, but he did claim to have a photo with me from the premiere (or maybe I was in the background… again, I don't know). When he went to search for it, though, all he could find was the photo shown above with him (far right), a friend, and Tony Hawk, taken by his friend Don "Donger Dodge Shadow Driving" Herrero. Nothing screams "1989!" more than a Powell mock-turtleneck long-sleeve shirt (all right… maybe ponytails, too, but I always feel that's more 1990).
*** Years later, I found out from Jeff Tremaine that a friend of his worked as a waitress in this club and was there that night. Trip out.
**** If I really wanted to talk "soul-crushing," I could rattle off a short list of names that have either ducked, dodged, or not even responded to my inquiries of interest, but what's the self-flagellating fun in kicking that hornets' nest of insecurities….