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 + Art of Skateboarding Articles

MD= Matt DeAngelis    VCJ= Vernon Courtlandt Johnson  (  1  2  3  4  5  6 )
MD: Are there any artists that inspire you?
VCJ: If my work inspires skateboarders then thatís fine, but Iím not a skateboarder. I just know that thereís a lot of artists out there that really enjoy black and white drawing. The binary system of black and white. To all those out there that are involved with the true value of black and the true value of white I say "I wish you all the highest fulfillment and a pleasant midnight groove" cuz itís a big reason why electric lighting was inventedÖ It was for people to stay up late at night and let something blossom before their eyes.
MD: So does colour then detract from the final image for you? Do you prefer things be black and white?
VCJ: You still have a burger without the special sauce. The bun and the burger are the essential parts. The special sauce doesnít really matter. Things get re-printed over and over with different special sauces but the black and white work is something that is seen by other artists as worthy of study.
MD: With Mike Vallely he had the elephant graphic, but before that was the intention to use the cockroach graphic. Were you disappointed at all that he rejected it?
VCJ: Not at all. Not at all. I was near the end of a phase of expression at that point in my life and the company allowed me to work with scratch board for his idea. I really liked the effects I got out of that design.
MD: The insect or the elephant?
VCJ: Both of them. I was so glad to have access to scratch board. The ability to work on a white surface adding AND subtracting ink from that white surface.
MD: Is that still your preferred medium?
VCJ: Even if I do an ink drawing Iíll still work on scratch board because you donít have to use white out then. White-out over time will yellow.
MD: What are you working on right now?
VCJ: Itís on the board [behind us]. Itís a company logo dragon. We were joking the other day in design group when I said "Weíre a dragon factory arenít we?" Next year is the year of the dragon or something? And what is a dragon? It is a symbol of something that cannot be conquered.
  Dragons donít exist in such a way that a human can engage them directly. A hurricane is something that you are powerless to deal with. An earthquake; we are powerless to deal with. Lightning and tornadoesÖ weíre absolutely powerless to deal with them. So they represent immutable power in a way that fascinates humans.
  But also the dragon symbolizes the individual soul and the way it blazes itís way absolutely through every life and how every soul has to live a COMPLETE series of lives and no soul gets out of the process of the complete series of lives towards graduation. It eventually graduates. The soul never dies. So the dragon is a beautiful symbol of a soul that dies a thousand times before it graduates.
MD: So thatís a good reflection of what the appeal of that kind of imagery would have for you to be working on. When you talk about the inner person, do you think that itís a concrete way of saying that thatís where the skeleton and skull imagery comes fromÖ that itís a reflection of whatís on the inside?
VCJ: Without bones weíd all be bags of jelly and there are life forms that donít have bones and itís a good life for them butÖ humans and cetaceans, or dolphins and whales, have large skulls and large brains and individual souls appointed to them. Cetaceans use reason. We use reason. They have culture like we have culture they have language like ours but they donít have hands.
  The planet was all set up as a campus so that 2 large brained individually ensouled beings could learn a series of lessons. The skull of the cetacean or the human skull both represent large brained ensouled creatures who are at this point in history are about to start talking to each other. Thereíll be an electronic interface invented so that the dolphins can talk with us within our hearing range. Weíll invent it and they will begin to be understood for the first time.
MD: Whether they chose to speak to us though is another issue...
VCJ: Oh they will. They know that weíve ceased hunting whales. 60 years in Santa Barbara and only in the last 10 years have I even seen them. Thereís a large incidence of whale and cetacean sightings right off our beaches. My wife swims with them everyday here in Santa Barbara and Iíve grown up not seeing them AT ALL!
  So the humans and the cetaceans are on the cusp of a meeting and communicationÖ and itís absolutely fascinating.
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