On a chilly morning in late September, we follow Sid Enck Jr, a team rider of Society Skate Shop in San Carlos, CA under a freeway overpass to a slab of cold cement. The night hangs on, wrapping it’s blanket of fog tightly around itself in defiance of the sun, which has just begun to peak out over the nearby hills on the outskirts of Silicon Valley. Nearby residents slowly begin to rouse, vaguely aware of the presence of the new stranger and his wooden transport. To the untrained eye, the scene looks like nothing more than an empty parking lot, inhabited only by the homeless and a few bits of wind-blown trash stuck against the chain link fence; the kind of place not many people would have any business or any desire going. Pulling focus on the Sony A7s, we see the makings of construction; wood and cement arranged throughout the lot, evidence of intelligent design. As the few remaining vagrants silently gather their belongings and prepare to leave, Sid prepares to ride, and we continue to set up our gear for the day ahead.
A product of the 1980’s, Sid Enck Jr. is well versed in the history of “Old School” skateboarding. His movements are aggressive, raw, and fast but with a unique style and a consistency that speaks to his experience and familiarity on a skateboard.
From early on, skateboarding had been seen as synonymous with the DIY and punk scenes; a counterculture championing individuality, style and creativity through self-expression. Although skateboarding and skate culture made a considerable splash into the mainstream during the 1990’s and 2000’s, many people still view skateboarding as a destructive, reprehensible pastime, making it difficult for skaters to legally engage in and publically practice their craft. Like many others who engage in skateboarding as a creative and physical outlet, Sid is an artist with a desire to be original and a need for self expression; a manifestation of the DIY ethic among the community.
As the sun climbs higher in the sapphire blue sky seemingly taking every ounce of moisture with it, we switch gears and head back to Sid’s art studio to cool off. His company, Black Arrow Printing, specializes in custom silk screening, button pressing, sticker design, t-shirt printing and the like. While on a tour of Sid’s van, we see skateboards as art decorating the walls, documenting his time on the road traveling cross country doing art shows. Taking the time to snap a few photos, Sid talks to us about art, travel, and the state of the skateboarding industry. Sid makes the argument that the skateboarding industry has been on a self-destructive path in recent years, but for him the devolution of skateboarding is seen as a positive. As the activity begins to shy away from commercialism and pop culture, it is able to regain some of it’s repute with a subculture that is centered around artistic independence and self-expression.
RED EPIC – X
Artist: Radical Face
Album: The Family Tree: The Branches
Song: The Mute