John Cardiel is one of the most respected skateboarders in history. He is unable to skate anymore due to an accident that left him with severe back trauma but what he put out before that is inspiring.
Interview by Adrian Day
A few years ago, Rudi Jeggle was telling me about a friend of his in Northern California who was this amazing artist. He put us in touch and before I knew it he had done three graphics for Familia. Fast forward a few months and I was hanging out with Tahiti and his friends in Grass Valley and Nevada City, skating burly pools and hitting karaoke jams. More than anything I was highly inspired by Tahiti and his like-minded people. Ultimately it was this broad interaction of art, on every level, that I found to be a motivator. A sort of carpe diem approach to music, skating, painting, whatever… I came back to SA and started making music. Pretty much because of the trip. Years ago we started talking about getting him down to SA to have an exhibition, and in 2014, Tahiti is having a solo show at Salon 91. Accompanying him is David Nicholson, a filmmaker who is documenting the trip which will be screened later in the year at the Nevada City Film Festival.
Tahiti is about the funniest and mellowest dude out, and his artistic virtuosity blows my mind every time I see it. The art in itself is a testament to his drive, dedication and artistic genius. Tahiti Pehrson’s show, Connectivity, has it’s opening at Salon 91 Wednesday 26th Feb at 18.30, and will be up until 22 March. Check the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/500683666715131. Do yourself a favour…
You’ve been here for a little over a week. Is Cape Town what you thought it would be?
I didn’t really know what to expect so I was pretty blown away. It can’t really be captured in photos. The clouds coming over Table Mountain – I can say I’ve really never seen anything like it.
Give us a brief skate history of yourself, beginnings, crews etc.
I grew up in Grass Valley in Northern California. I met Chris Senn in my second year of high school. I heard from a friend of mine that there was a dude who could do 360’s off a jump ramp every time. I had to see it myself. We started skating together a lot. Soon after he got hooked up on Powell so we would tag along on his Powell trips. My other close bro’s were on this company Trust Skateboards. Jason Clark, Genaro Vegoglini and Justin Smith. We lived in a car and just skated all the time. John Cardiel and Toad lived lived a couple minutes south of us so those guys would come blow our minds. John hooked me and another guy up on flow for Dogtown for like a year before it went under.
What would you say influenced the style you have become known for? Ie was it a natural evolution from stencil graffiti, or were there visual instances that triggered it all?
I was going to art school and it was just killing my inspiration, so I started painting in the streets. It was way more live and like skating. Plus I had a lot of experience ditching cops so it was it was pretty natural. That mentality got old after a while but the stencil idea kept evolving.
What is the process for one of your works?
It changes but in the last five years I have been into this really geometrical style. Those are made on a computer and more and more I have been drawing over the top of those… and even more now really organic stuff with no computers.
You told me your first board was a Blender, who had a large effect on skateboarders being artists etc. Did those early skate artists like Blender, Gonz, Miller etc play a role or sew seeds in your mind, or were you more interested broader artists?
Yeah man, super into those guys. I was into Salvador Dali and stuff like that too, but Blender, Gonz and Miller had this natural delivery and they lived their art. It wasn’t just a thing you produce it was a way of seeing and adapting so I took that with me.
How much does your mental state affect the designs of your work, if at all?
I’m kind of always positive. I used to be bummed or let myself fall into it but when my daughter was born I really started to stay on a positive mental path. It really works. It sounds trite but once I got into that headspace everything fell into place and the momentum started. So now it’s pretty easy to be stoked. I mean I’m in South Africa pursuing my first loves; skateboarding and art, so I can’t complain.
5 best things about Cape Town:
Skate community rules, natural beauty, supernatural beauty, the accent, wildlife, nightlife, Adrian Day, Instagramming.
5 best things about Nevada City:
Community, skate scene, good music, lazy vibe and you can get by on very little effort. The river there is banging in the summer. Good times.
Check out Tahiti’s work online at www.tahitipehrson.com
Thrasher Magazine put up these images from Skater of the Year winners from 1990 – today. Enjoy.
Kind of a combination of Wipeout Wednesdays and Throwback Thursdays, this clip of Mark Gonzales eating it comes from the 1998 Antihero video. John Cardiel makes it, The Gonz tries it, and…
These ‘Get Out and Do Something’ videos are so rad. They make you just want to go out and do something active. They’re from the Get Out and Do Something tour happening from next week in America, with legendary pro’s Ray Barbee and John Cardiel.
Get out and do something!
Check out this rad interview with John Cardiel. His raw energy and full-speed hardcore skating emerged when most skaters slowed down to a crawl with tiny wheels and technical tricks.