Grip Tape Art

Grip Tape Art

Grip Tape Art

Words by Ari Evan Gold

SKATEBOARD ART is usually associated with the bottom part of your board.  Wack, dirty grip can sketch many people out. Grip tape and your shoes are what you look down at when you get on your wooden sled. Their neat, fly, clean appearance has some ethereal power of transcending yourself as you skate, you in essence can become as neat, fly and clean as the top of your deck. One must not neglect the perfect canvas found on top of the board. The article takes an indepth look at Grip Tape Art.

Mark Gonzales, Sean Sheffey, Steve Cabellaro and many others have long used the paint pen as their medium of choice to make grip tape art. Peep, The Search for Animal Chin and try to find Cab’s deck that reads, “Style or stinkbug, you choose.” Or watch the Shut video and look for Sheffey’s big boy lettered, tag “Sheffey” across the whole board. Or peep any of Gonz’s crazy creatures lurking on many of his boards, seemingly crawling around his feet as he skates. The paint pen can be found in an assortment of shades and widths.
Grip Tape Art: Paint Pen

Stencils have been around since the advent of spray paint. Since the Dogtown days, the stencil has become a mainstay of the underground guerilla marketing movement. Look around Venice and you might still see some lurking Alva stencil from the Jeff Hartsell heydays. Anything you want to say can be outlined on your deck, right under your feet. This is a great example of using negative space by creating positive space. A stencil is, in essence, a positive example of space; while the image that comes forth is the shadow, or negative representation of the art. A solid piece of stencil paper can be bought at any art store and you can make any thing your little heart yearns for—blam, right under your feet, a nice warm fuzzy stares back at you with glee. You can also alter the appearance of your griptape by cutting up your tape.

Grip Tape Art: Stencil

The Classic cut-up grip tape art movement culminated in the 80’s classic, Thrashin’. The spider web design, the broken glass design, the leopard design and the tiger design are all well represented in that movie. Bill Danforth, Jeff Phillips and Neil Blender are just a few of the pioneers who have cut griptape into skate-able art. The image manifested is made by the color of your deck and the thickness of your tape. This dance of cutting and taping is a quasi zen-like meditation to some, while for others it’s just a nightmare to consider. It takes precision to cut an intricate design without making one line to thick, or one curve too round or jacking your whole deck of tape. Some put the tape on their boards and then take an Exacto knife to create the image. While others trace the design on the paper side of the tape and cut each part out like an art puzzle. Some even use different pieces or colors to use as a gripping graphic. Stickers can also be placed with the grip tape outlining them perfectly or complimented with any of the aforementioned mediums of application.

Grip Tape Art

Grip Tape Art: Stencil

Grip Tape Art: StencilGrip Tape Art: StencilGrip Tape Art: Cut Up
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