Skateboarding Reviews - Books

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Surf, Skate and Rock Art of Jim Phillips

Surf, Skate and Rock Art of Jim Phillips  Three Star Rating

Author: ???
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Released: November 2003
Rating: 3 Stars

Road Rider Wheels Logo by Jim Phillips

The first skateboard I had, in the mid 1970's, came with loose-bearing wheels. When I took a wheel off the axle, I wound up with a lapful of loose bearings. I remedied this situation with a new set of wheels that had just come to market - Road Riders. With a new set of Road Rider 4's, my crappy little skateboard took on a new life.

Those wheels changed the way I viewed skateboarding by changing the way I skated. Seeing the Road Rider ad reprinted in this book brought back a million memories, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves with nostalgic reminiscing about times when sponsorship didn't exist and everyone skated because it was fun.

The first curious thing about this book is the author... there isn't one. No one is listed as writing this thing. An obvious choice would be the man himself, but Schiffer Publishing elected to release this book without his involvement (near as one can tell).

Some of the selections of reproduced art are kinda odd. Full pages are devoted to music posters when other works are reduced to microscopic sizes and surrounded by on-going text that rambles about Jim Phillips' life in a pseudo biographical way. This book is to showcase his art, but the text speaks little to his artistic influences or anything to do with his art. If this is to be a "coffee table book" then give up larger images. If it was meant as a biography... then do that. This book is trying to be too many things and not really doing any of them particularly well.

screaming hand drawing by Jim Phillips

Now that I've panned this book, let me admit that I bought it the instant I saw it. Phillips' work is legendary and spanned many years and disciplines. From skate to surf and on to music, he created a Hell of a lot of iconic pieces. Just to have so much of his work collected in one volume is awesome. It just seems that the editor was a bit overwhelmed and stuffed as much as possible into the book without regard for the size and quality of the reproductions.

Was Jim Phillips involved with this book or did it come to be by raiding the personal collections of fans? Hard to say, but if you are a fan or lived through his skate-era, you should buy this book. Just be aware that it isn't comprehensive or revealing.

I hope that someone will come along and create a similar type of book, but do so over several volumes. This could easily be divided up into separate volumes for skate, for surf and his music-related art. Grab a copy if you're a fan and relive all the stickers you slapped on your board, but don't expect these reproductions to do justice to Jim Phillips' work.

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