Skateboarders see the world as a living canvas to be painted with attempts at acrobatic gravity-seducing works of physical and mental artistic mastery. Similar to the designs on the bottom and top of skateboard decks, where artists and designers draw and paint their creations into life, communicating ideas, images, and thoughts, the stamp is also a canvas.
A press release by the United States Postal Service explains the intent behind the series, "The bold artwork emblazoned on a skateboard deck is often as eye-catching and individualistic as a skater's most breathtaking moves. These four stamps celebrate the Art of the Skateboard with vibrant designs that capture skateboarding's excitement and reflect the diversity and influence of the young artists whose work is featured. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp issuance using photographs of skateboards created by" four artists."
As reported by the Associated Press, "Di'Orr Greenwood, 27, an artist born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Arizona…, along with Crystal Worl, who is Tlingit Athabascan. William James Taylor Jr., an artist from Virginia, and Federico "MasPaz" Frum, a Colombian-born muralist in Washington, D.C., round out the quartet of featured artists."
Click here to learn more about all the artists, with links to their bios and creations.
"Skateboarding has become a staple across Indian Country. In Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs will reopen a refurbished skate park March 29 thanks to a partnership with pro skateboarder Tony Hawk's nonprofit, The Skatepark Project. Skateboarders on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona recently got funding from there, too. A skate park opened in August on the Hopi reservation. Youth-organized competitions take place on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota."
Dustinn Craig, a White Mountain Apache filmmaker and "lifer" skateboarder in Arizona, has made documentaries and short films on the sport. The 47-year-old remembers how skateboarding was seen as dorky and anti-establishment when he was a kid hiding "a useless wooden toy" in his locker. At the same time, Craig credits skateboarding culture as "my arts and humanities education."
For more on the politics of skateboarding, representation, and justice in Indian Country, check out the panel discussion with members of Apache Skateboards, "Your Skating on Native Land," from the Slow Impact event in Tempe, Arizona.