In a sport filled with vibrant styles and personalities, arguably no one has been more influential and instantly recognizable on the culture of skateboarding than Mark Gonzales. A prodigy since his early days, Gonz is revered by many as the ‘Father of Street Skating’ and has become just as globally admired for his imprint in art as his inimitable tricks on the board.
In conjunction with Shopify, Gonz has released a new film that takes the viewer on a journey through his far-reaching imagination. Directed by Bailey Hunter and Daniel Yaro, “Mark’s Brain” features Gonz curiously floating through the deep compartments of his own memory. From vibrant tunnels filled with Schmoo birds to archival skate footage from the past 30 years.
Gonz’s playful aesthetic is interesting to note when contrasted to his earliest inspirations which came from looking at the somewhat disturbing artwork of Hieronymus Bosch and Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s 1973 album, Brain Salad Surgery, created by the iconic Swiss artist, H.R. Giger. “It left a pretty big impression on me,” Gonz told HYPEBEAST.
“Sometimes I have an idea and I can’t wait to get back to the studio and sometimes it has to be done on whatever’s available at the moment.”
When asked to describe Gonz in a song, Hiroshi Fujiwara once equated the skater to John Coltrane’s “Traening In” — a track that follows on a smooth percussive rhythm that winds and turns to the saxophonist’s visceral and unpredictable horn. “Sometimes I have an idea and I can’t wait to get back to the studio and sometimes it has to be done on whatever’s available at the moment,” said Gonz, adding, “The best part is when you have something in your mind, you go to make it happen and you create something that wasn’t in your mind.” This improvisational approach has resulted in countless paintings, tricks and films that have influenced generations of artists and skaters alike.
As Gonz ventures in-and-out of his memory, he stumbles upon on a number of long-forgotten objects, such as the fencing suit he wore in the “West Coast” music video by Jason Schwartzman’s Coconut Records, along with an old deck he skated on from the 1991 Video Days film shot by his close friend and filmmaker, Spike Jonze.
Each of the items shown in the video will be available for auction on Mark’s new website, unofficialgonz.com. The first auction goes live today at 10am PST and will feature the Video Days board Mark skated on. A portion of all the proceeds from the auction will be donated to Salad Days of Skateboarding, a nonprofit providing skateboarding equipment and mentorship to underserved skateboarding communities around the world.