The Ripper skateboard art show

Lancemount Esaoskulll Faireeeey
The Ripper is arguably the most iconic skateboard graphic in history. Vernon Courtlandt Johnson developed it in 1978 for Ray Rodriguez, Powell-Peralta's first pro skateboarder. Last month, Powell-Peralta hosted the Rip the Ripper Art Show in San Diego with 58 artists creating pieces. The pieces are all viewable online. Seen here, left to right: "Doughboy Ripper" by Lance Mountain, "Untitled" by Esao Andrews, "Obey Ripper" by Shepard Fairey. From George A. Powell's story on the exhibition page:
 Images Features Rip-The-Ripper The-Ripper (The Ripper) was developed over a period of about six months, during which the basic concept of a skull breaking through a barrier evolved through a number of evolutions, each of which simplified and strengthened the basic image. It was purposely undertaken as a follow up to the tremendous success of Court’s first graphic, the Skull and Sword, which had been drawn for our first pro skater, Ray Rodriguez, the year before.

When Court undertook the development of the Skull and Sword, he started with only a scribble on the back of a matchbook we received from Ray. It didn’t really look like a skull and sword, but that’s what Ray said it was, so we believed him, and Court set out to make it look a little more like one.

Skull and Sword was to be Court’s first graphic and would require a conscious departure from his original fine line “0000 Rapidigraph crosshatch” style so we could silkscreen it. Since he was learning to use MC Escher’s unique shading style and had to apply it to a skull, he asked if we could buy a skeleton to draw from, and so we did. Rosie, our medical supply skeleton, still resides in the Skate One Art Department thirty years later, but she is a little ‘worn’...
RIP: The Ripper Art Show (Thanks, Dave Gill!)



  1. Not surprised that the first comment is about goddamned goatse. The rest of the internet has moved on, boing boing, why won’t you? It’s TEN YEARS OLD.

  2. Sorry. Since this is Boing Boing, where the goatse seems to pop up every so often… It’s the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the Ripper design…

  3. So… how many of my 40ish BB brethren actually busted a boneless or two on a PP R.I.P. deck?

    /1st R.I.P.
    //2nd Caballero
    ///3rd Guerrero
    ////Current rolling on a Real deck (Guerrero’s new company)

  4. Sadly, most of the pieces on offer at this exhibition are nowhere near as well-drawn as the original image; there’s a lot of pieces that seem to be “the crude squiggle I call my brand identity in the Ripper pose”.

  5. My older brother used to live with a Powell-Peralta graphic designer in Santa Barbara over 20 years ago. For the past year, I’ve re-discovered my own personal love of retro boards… and have been recently debating whether I can afford to get the ‘ripper’ re-issued board. This art-show just took my doubts away.

    Rip it!!

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