Unless you’ve been living a life of fancy-free solitude off the Facebook and Instagram grid, it’s been a lot of hot-shit debates, big-time controversy, and divisive* comment-bickering from triggered** minds around the skateboard world. So it continues to boil out in the real world, as well, where the baseball bat*** is even now swinging for the high humorless bleachers with deliberations over politically correct emoji-usage.
At this point, if anything, the Grammar Nazis should be knocking down my—no, wait… can that even be said anymore? Shit pickle.
Anyway, I'd like to take it all down a notch or fifty-eight to talk about something of absolutely no societal consequence whatsoever, because it was one thing to be biding my time in purgatory, but it's another to now have one foot out the door while the other is stuck in the bear trap of production. Normally I would span this time spinning donuts in the free-range monkey cage of my mind, but, lo and behold, I now have a solid wall to sit and fling poo against! So, in the spirit of time-mismanagement, I may as well dwell on tilting a windmill near and dear to my distanced heart: the concept of the "limited edition" skateboard.
There's much I could say on the topic in general, but there's another project in the works probably better suited to such world-shattering tirades. With regard to any future StrangeLove releases, though, I would like to clear the air so there's no misconceptions going forward… because if I absolutely have to look backward there was at least one unfortunate hashtag incident, e.g., a certain #cliverfullofshit storm that unfolded on the ever-loving Instagrant.
I guess it all started when I became frustrated by an increasing perception that any graphic stepping outside of the norm was being termed a "wall hanger" and, consequently, stigmatized as such. In the pre-collector period, this was never the divisive (ha!) case. I mean, so many ridiculous graphics came out in the early-to-mid-’90s, and skaters simply enjoyed, bought, and skated them as a board was meant to be from its preordained creation. Cue Elton John's "Circle of Life."
Then it all changed. [pause for dramatic effect]
It's not like collectors haven't always existed in skateboarding, because they have. They were, however, closet enthusiasts during what could now be considered more pastoral times, or at least up until the dawn of eBay and the ridiculous yet serious values being attributed to the boards. "Six-thousand dollars for Tony Hawk's first pro board? Get the fuck outta here!" Thus, a rectum was ripped in the space-time continuum, and a green-eyed, speculative monster emerged in the skateboard marketplace.
I suspect I'm partly to blame with the two Disposable books. I do recognize that surmised fact. (I also acknowledge the fact that I've completely ignored what I'd originally stated about not going off on a demented diatribe, but fuck me! No sense stopping now, I guess.) And it certainly didn't help when companies started marketing to this divergence—nostalgia and/or otherwise—with an increasing amount of abusive, cash-grab "LIMITED EDITION!!!" products. This label often tends to be ironic, because: 1) Most "non-limited edition" boards are produced in relatively smaller numbers than the purported "limited edition" projects; and 2) Six months later, "Guess what! There's a new color!" Whatever the case, the contrived collectible market thrived and boards were now being produced without the primary purpose of actually being skated.****
So, presently, the customer base for a skateboard can be broken down as such:
a) The person who buys one board to skate.
b) The person who buys one board to collect.
c) The person who buys one board to skate and one board to collect.
d) The person who buys one board to collect and one or more boards to flip like hotcakes on any "aftermarket" frenzy.
Naturally, Customer A despises Customers B–D—maybe not so much C, but they really hate D, because damned if they don't have the loudest and most shrill presence. Hence the villifaction of any perceived "collector" board, where Customer A will now even question the validity of a hand-screened deck, because "that's collector shit." The fuck?
(All right, Sean, let's bring the egregious Bible-thumping back home now…)
When I set out on this "art collective" mission a few years back to give some rights and power back to the artists in skateboarding, I never intended the graphics to be a one-and-done deal. Some will hit, some will miss, some you have to hit 'n' run because that's what we as skaters do, but a lot of time and effort often goes into their creation. So if people genuinely appreciate them and aren't just hoping for an appreciation payday down the line then why not—heaven forbid!—keep them in production? I mean, I'd rather see a board like that live on and on, as opposed to say committing countless crimes of commodification every quarter with 18 "new" variations-on-a-logo-board-sales-quota-catalog-filler lining the shop racks, making it look like a damn ski display in Sport Chalet. Damn it! There I go… I just can't seem to stop beating up this Bible.
What's the point of all this pointless proselytizing? I have no idea. I just know that our intent with StrangeLove isn't to play patty-cake. The graphics are done in fun, the boards are made to skate, and they're hand-screened because we grew up skating and liking them that way. If a board happens to be hand-signed on top it's because I genuinely know some like that added personal touch; however, if you're not one of those people, great! Slap that grip on because who gives a shit! What the boards won't ever be, though, is "numbered," because they're not going to be produced in the name of playing the "limited edition" game. So, if someone does happen to get butt-hurt along the way, well, that's on speculative them, because the moose out front definitely told ’em otherwise. —Sean Cliver
Oh, I should add that while the boards aren't limited, the paper editions will be, if and when a "LE/S&N" print is produced. Those are indeed a one-run-and-done deal. —The Moose
* But it’s safe to say we can all be unified in nominating this as Time Magazine’s Word of the Year!
** Half of my half-ass mind would typically place this in quotation marks, because it’s not a word that normally drifts through my transom. So, in effect, you could say I’m “triggered” by its usage, silly “snowflake” that I am.
*** But is it a wooden bat or aluminum bat? Please clarify, asshole, before making such crass generalizations.
**** This latter point can certainly be argued—anything can be skated, no matter how devolutionary it may be—but examine the facts on a case-by-case basis and let Jiminy Cricket be your guide.
Disclaimer: I honestly don't have any problems with the idea of collecting. After all, I'm a collector myself. I did, however, witness the great comic book boom 'n' bust of the ’90s, where it leveled an industry that had created, fed, and come to rely on the rabid, foaming maw of speculative collectors. So, if there's one attributable reason why both collectors and the companies that cater to them get a bad rap, it's the deadly sin of Greed—that I can't abide by, nor would The Dude.