Back to site

Natas Kaupas "1991" skateboard deck


6 colour transfer screen print on dark stained Canadian maple
9 inches x 32.5 inches
14.75 inch wheelbase
Manufactured by NHS
Limited to 300

In 2011, legendary 80's pro skateboarder Natas Kaupas came to Berlin to skate my concrete sculpture "Papa und Ich". After skating together, he asked me if I would like to make a graphic for his "Designarium" project. The obvious answer was "YES!"

This board finally hit the streets in May 2015, and NHS are already sold out!

About this graphic:

My first idea for a graphic was to reference the classic Natas graphics from the 80's, with the panther, triangle, leaves/wings, etc. I decided to try and pull in reference from those first nine boards.
First thing to do was make the triangle into a pyramid, as pyramids are symbols of power, with unusual abilities (meat stored under a pyramid shaped box stays fresh for longer than meat stored under any other shape!)
I really liked the idea of the crystal ball, first used by Wes Humpston in 1987, as we don't know what the future will hold. I never imagined, as a grom living in a small town, that I would ever be making skateboard graphics, let alone graphics ridden by legends!
I drew a severed, rotting hand holding the crystal ball as a comment on how much of the craft and hand-skills involved in the creation of skateboard graphics, that captivated us in the 80's, have left the art of skateboard graphics due to computers, transfer printing, and the constant turn-over of new graphics required by the industry.
The cat bursting forth from the pyramid was a problem. I tried to make it look aggressive and powerful like the classic black panther, but it wouldn't work. Then I thought about Natas, and what struck me about him was that he was always smiling, so a happy cat, with a Cheshire Cat grin, was the obvious solution! The cat is playing with a ball of wool as in Jimbo Phillips "kitten" graphic from 1989, a reference to the friend I grew up skating with, who pushed me and inspired me, and who had this board.
At the top of the graphic my worm/ghost characters replace the wings originally used by Humpston, themselves a replacement for the palm leaves on the 1986 to 1988 models.
A tiny monkey, making the "hang loose" hand sign, peeps out from behind the cats tail (Jim Phillips put a monkey in the palm leaves on the '87 graphic) and he also appears on the top graphic, holding a surfboard, as the strongest image I have of Natas is of him skating curbs at the beach from the only skate video I owned in the 80's.
The tail of the board features nine gravestones as a reference to the first nine graphics, a cats nine lives, and the 101 graphic by Erik Brunetti (the board that supposedly saw the end of the cat!) My name features on one of the gravestones, as it has done in a few other graphics I've made, the knowledge that I will die keeping me humble, while the memorial etched in stone keeping me living for ever!
Finally, the type work on the banner wrapped around the wrist of the severed hand references the type on the original 1985 graphic by Kevin Ancell.
The shape of the board is based on a few shapes from 1991, the year of the last cat graphic, and a shape both Natas and I like.

Orders in the European Union, please select "United Kingdom" as your shipping destination (Big Cartel has no setting for "EU")
All purchases sent with DHL, with a tracking number

Sold Out