Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Gonz and the issue of "cool"

"The Gonz moves through his environment like a painter. The Gonz moves through his paintings like a skater. Always appearing on the verge of calamity, but then making it all look like it was part of the plan, the Gonz’s style is one of the loosest, most free and exciting styles in skateboarding today, even as the man himself settles into his 40’s.

"Often sited as the one who brought street skating to where it is today and changed the whole style of the New York skate scene along the way, Mark Gonzales stands as the figurehead of a more obscure culture, one which is beginning to find prominence and mainstream acceptance. With the release of films like Beautiful Losers, skateboarding and art may become more fused in the collective consciousness, but others would argue that they always have been. Watching Gonzales skate, it becomes difficult to tell the difference between the two".

"All the different changes in skateboarding are what has kept me here. Having to adapt and change and fit my style around things is the true challenge… I always seem to be doing the opposite of what’s popular. As street skating ledges and stuff becomes more popular, then I’ll be into skating pool. If ramps get more popular, then I like doing the opposite. It’s just my nature.”

"These polarities have been what’s defined the Gonz throughout his career, keeping him relevant and exciting to each new generation of skaters. If the Gonz exists outside of what is currently popular, he more than likely is leading the curve. In the 24 years since he first graced the Thrasher cover, he has sold millions of magazines, launched thousands of tricks, ridden for and started his own companies, and now stands in a space that increasingly defines him – Mark Gonzales the artist."

Occasionally, very occasionally you come across individuals who have an immense capability to be the inspiration to a generation, that guy who is so influential and unique. Doing everything wrong which is "uncool" and therefore very cool to the in-tune few, give that a few years for it to become mainstream popular and our guy will be doing something else, swinging to the polar opposite with the trend following suit, wagging their tails. Its crazy how much people emulate those who appear to be on to the next big thing. I don't exclude myself, its as natural as humans get, some are just quicker on the uptake than others. I am quite a secure person, I know myself and i know that what i do or wear wont change drastically, I don't feel the need to follow trends or take it too seriously, although i find them hilarious to watch. Some people, weather Its their charisma or lack of, just emit cool and people are going to follow that weather it was their intention or not. Like Andrew Warhola in the 60's, Mark Gonzalez was a pretty shy, retiring type. Unlike him though, the Gonz never had the drastic image change which transformed him overnight into the almost brand identity of Warhol. I think with Warhol the whole image of the factory days was a much more conscious and calculated decision which has ultimately worked very successfully for him. In stark contrast The Gonz remains a rather more unwilling and unsung hero, he is just happy doing his thing and if people like it he'll just have to find something else to do.

"According to his wikipedia page, both Donald Trump and rapper P Diddy own dedicated collections of Mark’s work"

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