Skateboarders growing up in the ’90s were obsessed with skateboard graphics. This was before the internet and a time where you could only see new board graphics in skate shops, magazines, skate videos or the latest CCS catalog. With fewer skateboard companies around then, the board you skated defined you. Many of those companies are no longer in existence, but skateboard collector Tim Anderson, A.K.A. Bobshirt, has been on the hunt not only for the boards but some of the original artwork as well. Viewing Tim’s collection in person for the first time at a Deckaid fundraiser in Nyack, NY was mind blowing. Some of his boards could possibly be the last unskated boards of their run in existence. In many cases, the pros whose boards they are don’t even have these boards! We met up with Bobshirt and chatted a bit – here’s what the ’90s skateboard collector had to say.
Q. Let’s start with an introduction: What’s your name and how long ago did you start Bobshirt?
Tim Anderson. In 2004, I launched the site under the name guymariano.com – at the time he was in seclusion and no one thought he was coming back, so I wanted to pay homage to one of the greatest skateboarders ever. I started it before YouTube was big and it was hard to find video parts on the internet. Then he made an unexpected comeback and it was a little awkward so I decided to change the name to Bobshirt.
Q. Some of the younger readers may not know about the Bob shirt reference, would you like to explain?
World, 101 and Blind all used a tee brand called “Bob” back in the early ’90s. Best graphics.
Q. Your site is a shrine to ’90s skateboarding. Of everything on the site, what would be some of your favorites?
The video page is probably my favorite. The old interviews I did weren’t all that great in my opinion, but now we’ve been doing video interviews talking about boards and video parts etc. with old pros. That’s been fun.
Q. Your collection of skateboards and original artwork is one of the best. When did you start considering it a collection?
I started collecting kind of by accident around 2004. It all started when I wanted to track down the first skateboard I ever rode, a Dune World deck from 1991. Then I started looking for all the old 101, Menace and Chocolate decks I used to ride. It all just snowballed to the point that it’s at now – a little crazy and over the top, full on skate nerd historical preservation shit.
I knew it was a collection when my closet was full.
Q. Of everything in the collection, what are some of your prized possessions?
Man, it’s hard to say. All the original art is crazy to me…The original planB Star Wars art, the Gonz Skull and Banana art, the James Kelch Kid In Field by Kevin Ancell. But then there are other decks that are my favorites that would seem totally random to most people, like this Jeff Pang Cream deck, a Jimmy Chung American dream deck, Pepe’s first deck, Stevie’s first deck on Profile…I really liked the smaller independent companies from the ’90s – it’s cool to see that some decks survived from those days.
Q. Any memorable situations trying to get boards for your collection?
Not really; some shady Craigslist meet ups I suppose. I got that Dill 101 Pooh Bear deck from a girl off Craigslist who was obsessed with Winnie The Pooh. You come across all types of weird people that don’t skate and they just bought the board because they liked it purely for the graphic. That’s how a lot of these old decks survived, [being owned] by people that don’t even skate.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your upcoming Deckaid art benefit.
It’s not doing anyone any good having all these boxes stored in the basement. We wanted to get the collection out into the world so people could enjoy it and simultaneously to put it to work for charity.
On June 27, the entire collection will be on display at Sideshow Gallery in Brooklyn to benefit Skateistan. We collaborated with Sean Cliver to produce an eight-color screened print of Keenan Milton’s first graphic on Blind, which will be for sale at the show. There will be a silent art auction of several pieces from the LB Project including work by Jeremy Fish, Todd Bratrud and Michael Seiben, as well as artwork available by collage artist Jay Riggio and Drop Art.
Q. Will this be the only Deckaid event, or are you planning to do more?
We would like to do more. We’ve got some people interested in hosting it on the West Coast and in Europe.
Q. Skateistan is an amazing non-profit organization trying to change the world through skateboarding. How did you and Sarah get connected with them?
Sarah thought Skateistan would be a perfect fit for our charity. She’s a teacher and she thought it would be a perfect fit for the event. She got connected with them through her contacts at the Tony Hawk Foundation. They truly are an amazing organization filled with wonderful people.
Q. Tell us a little about the Deckaid Portrait Series. How did you go about getting everyone to take the photos?
Sarah had the idea of photographing skateboarders with their boards from the collection. Between the two of us we were able to reach out and ask people if they’d take a photo for the show. People were totally receptive to the idea. I took the East Coast photos and the West Coasters were kind enough to send us portraits (Tony Ferguson, Chico Brenes, Rob Welsh, Rick Ibaseta, Mike York, Richard Mulder).
Q. You’ve done some interviews too. Who were you able to get in front of the camera?
Gino Iannucci, Jahmal Williams, Anthony Pappalardo, Bobby Puleo, Jimmy Chung…
We filmed the Gino interview at his old stomping grounds, the White Building in Westbury. We talked about his old video parts, graphics and Nautica jeans, among other things.
We talked to Jahmal about his classic Eastern Exposure 3 part, American Dream, INFMS. Before the interview Jahmal showed me his sticker box and T-shirt collection. Truly insane stuff in there, wish I had filmed that…
Anthony talks Photosynthesis and skateboard graphics. This was my favorite one, I hadn’t seen him in 10 years and I brought out our mutual friend Chris Corso with me. It was a perfect day, skating around his neighborhood with him and Chris, talking about the not-so-old days.
Bobby talks about The Banks, skateboard graphics, INFMS, riding his last free skateboard and more. This guy knows how to speak his mind, one of the best ever.
Q. You’ve been rereleasing the iconic Keenan Milton graphic by Sean Cliver. How did you work that out with Sean?
I first collaborated with Sean on the Keenan t-shirt, so when we wanted to do a print for Deckaid we thought the Keenan NYC graphic would be perfect. It’s one of my all time favorite graphics and fortunately for us, Sean was down to do the poster. It was a bit of a challenge since the graphic was not available digitally, so Sean had to recolor it and he added some of his own touches for the print.
Q. Are you a fan of any brands these days that embody the spirit of the ’90s?
I generally like the movement back to the small brand, similar to the independent vibe of the early/mid ’90s.
I also really like all the Independent videos that are coming out these days too. Videos such as Bleach by Paul Young, (which is supposed to be dropping soon-ish?). We used to make homie videos back in the day, and it’s cool to see that spirit is still alive and strong today. And unlike the videos we made, the filming and editing doesn’t totally suck!
Q. Any final words or shout outs?
Sarah Anderson for getting this whole Deckaid thing going, Bernard Tony Rosenthal, Chris Corso, Mike Regan, Steven J. Fletchsinger, all the old blvd. guys, Paul Young, Sean Cliver, Thomas Szypula, Larry Moore, Bill Murray for the ride to the airport, NYSkateboarding, Skateistan, Homage, Chase Doerflinger, Six Point Brewery and Union Beer Distributor for donating booze for the event.
Please come out and check the Bobshirt collection at the DeckAid fundraiser
this Saturday (6/27) from 7-10pm at the Sideshow Gallery (Brooklyn, NY)