Work and Progress

November 27, 2013

Rolling City A Graphic Short in Block Prints Vol.10 Ode to the ollie

Ode to the Ollie

Hand Ollie COVER X

Crystals2

I learned to do my Ollies in the parking lot of Crystal’s Coffee Shop, across from where I lived on 19th street.

For those of you who don’t know what an Ollie is…. essentially,  it’s a jump or hop while you’re moving on the skateboard. In the mid 80’s the Ollie marked a transitional period from a generation of pool and ramp skaters to a new breed of street-only skating kids. I was one of those kids.

And though the landscape of street skateboarding has changed,”the Ollie” remains in focus. In fact, it is the basis for a lot of skateboarding flip tricks today. Every street skating kid in the last 25 yrs has had to learn it.

Natas Gonz2

For me? learning to Ollie was important. It was important because my terrain was the street. In order to have more freedom, I needed to not stop.  When skating through the city, I had to have a continuous forward motion without breaks, even for red lights (especially for red lights). I’d just jump a curb or a grass patch when necessary to keep moving. Like improvisational jazz; blowing dashing, jumping, sliding.

Charlie was the first cat I saw do an Ollie, and I’d never seen it done before.  Smooth and fluid, almost without sound, like a cat.

Charlie Ollie wheels Ready

And that’s how I wanted to do them……………….smooth and easy.  — But “easy!”….  they were not.  It took some work.

By this time (’85-’86) I could do foot-plants and 360 slides as well as some other minor stuff. The Ollie was the next logical thing. I needed to learn it.

Charlie ran me through the basics.

CHARLIE: …Keep all your weight on your toes. You’re gonna do a back foot snap, front foot tap…tapping the tail of your skateboard hard enough so that it bounces off the concrete, and the front of the board rises up…….flowing from back momentum to front momentum,  like this__. I’ll use my left hand and right foot so you can see it happen stationary….

And then, he would do it.

Hand Ollie

I am not a direct learner. Most often, I need to do things wrong first, so I can begin to understand and work towards the correct way (whatever that means). So, before I actually learned this trick,  I came up with a few tricks of my own…. along the way.

1. Fail Ollie 2

 The Die! Skateboard Die!

2.Rolling City Nut Shot2

The infamous, Nut-Shot.

The Clash

and “Fathers Name In Vain!” (also known as the Pete Townshend)

I would have liked to show you how easy and naturally I learned to do this trick, accompanied by an image of me Ollying over five cheering neighborhood friends. But that’s just not how it happened. Although I eventually did learn how to Ollie . For me, skateboarding has always been about lessons in living: the journey, struggle and failure, followed by an an anti-climactic reward.

Flat on back red

 My technique did get better and my Ollies got higher, and indeed it was a flow, like jazz on wheels.

cloud w landscape

Charlie Parkder TV

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

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Rolling City Vol.9

Yellow Church

July 26, 2013

Rolling City Graphic Short in Block Prints/ cutting room floor

Filed under: 1. Rolling City: A Graphic Short in Block Prints — Work and Progress @ 8:20 pm

Yellow Church2Here is the complete essay that inspired Rolling City Vol.9

The Yellow Church

My association to churches is a positive one, mostly because I didn’t actually attend as a child. My family was not the church-going type like regular folks. My mother taught us about God and how to pray at home.  All my friends who were forced to attend church and catechism on Sundays and Thursdays envied my Catholic home school set-up. Personally, I didn’t understand why. Not going to church made me feel a bit different and lonely when the neighborhood was at mass. But though I didn’t attend, I did frequent a church.

Down the block from where I lived there was a yellow church connected to our residential neighborhood. In the 80’s the building changed ownership and had gone through some renovations, so it was rarely occupied. I’m not sure if it had been a Christian church, but the structure showed that it might have been in the past. The architectural details of the church were round and smooth, arched windows with stained glass and white trim. The front of the church was south facing with a large grassy area, to the west (side of the church). The lawn was always trimmed and green. It was a great place to relax or catch a summer snooze behind the church marquee. There was even an available water faucet when thirsty.  But the best feature this castle of God, had to offer were the steps and paved walkways. The front of the church had cascading steps with a U shaped walkway, which led to the entrance of building. One could skate from the doorway all the way down to the sidewalk in a single, smooth push. The challenge, or the fun, was doing this while having to Ollie two sets of stairs, before hitting sidewalk. Two or three strong pushes and you could catch enough speed to end up in the street.

These were times before skate parks. The yellow church was available, skate-able, and safe. Almost as if God said, “Yes, its o.k. to skate here.”  And I did.

On those quiet days when families were sitting at pews and participating in mass, church was truly a sanctuary for me.

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

Me in 85 Stale boneless2

June 16, 2013

Rolling City Graphic Short in Block Prints Vol.9 : Blood Money

Filed under: 1. Rolling City: A Graphic Short in Block Prints — Work and Progress @ 3:20 am

Rolling City Spray Paint3

Church Rolling City

 My association to churches is a positive one, mostly cause I didn’t actually attend as a child. My family was not the church going type like regular folks. My mother taught us about God and how to pray at home.  All my friends who were forced to attend church and catechism on Sundays and Thursdays envied my Catholic “home school” set-up. Personally I didn’t understand why. Not going to church made me feel a bit different and lonely when the neighborhood was at mass.

Cuffed Ready

Cop car at church

Handcuffs


Cop bubble Manga no words

“Man said you almost killed him with a rock and you also managed to break his window.”

YOUR PAYING no glass
When they found me, Augustine’s dad was real mad.

TheKickno words
But nothing compared to the fury I had inside.

He knew 2

                     At school a rumor started that I was crazy because  I had followed Augustine home and attacked his Dad with a rock. I had my moments of madness but crazy I was not.

Blood Money 2
                  In the end, the money I had earned and saved for a new board went toward paying for the window I broke.

Night landscape

                It was truly lonely when the neighborhood was at mass.                                           Rose Bush publish

Rolling City Static

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

Rolling City Vol.1

Rolling City Vol. 2

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Rolling City Vol.5

Rolling City Vol.6

Rolling City Vol 6.5

Rolling City Vol.7

Rolling City Vol.8

Rolling City Vol.10

Yellow Church

How its Made: Rolling Process

July 24, 2012

Rolling City A Graphic Short in Block Prints Vol.8 Some Closure?

Filed under: 1. Rolling City: A Graphic Short in Block Prints — Work and Progress @ 6:56 pm

For two months and two days I was having a re-occurring dream:

Skating in random empty lots on smooth, black top with curvy, curvy hills. It was a fluid feeling, like running water. I balanced the moving pavement under my feet as the landscaped past me by.

But in a sudden change I lost control and a feeling of anxiety took over. I look down at my skateboard and it was a blur, I don’t mean the memory was a blur but the skateboard itself was out of focus, I can hear it… and feel it on my feet… but it wasn’t there. I reached out to touch it but I wobbled and fell, quick to the pavement.

Then I’d wake up.

For two months and two days I got up early on Saturday and Sunday and delivered papers to surrounding neighborhoods that were unfamiliar to me. Walking tirelessly through, barrios, “shady” apartment-blocks or culd de sac’s flanked by riverbeds. (I hated culd de sacs) Paper-routing was a scary and thankless job for a 11 yr old and after 13 weekends of carrying a sentimental f-n-rock in my bag (that was possibly used to beat me with) I told myself, “Why am I doing this, I wanna skate!” I was ready quit…

And in that moment I saw him.

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

Rolling City Vol.1

Rolling City Vol. 2

Rolling City vol.3

Rolling City Vol. 4

Rolling City Vol.5

Rolling City Vol.6

Rolling City Vol 6.5

Rolling City Vol.7

Rolling City Vol. 9

December 20, 2011

Rolling City a Graphic Short in Block Prints: Vol.7 Memento

Filed under: 1. Rolling City: A Graphic Short in Block Prints — Work and Progress @ 6:31 am

” The effort of walking influences the arrival.” -unknown

I can’t remember where I heard this quote but it haunts me. Learning how to find my way past the bumps in the road was why my childhood experiences were so valuable. They made me resilient and efficient. Those times also taught me that motivation can be where you least expect it to be.

VOL.7  MEMENTO

“Am I under water?”

“I am under water! “(Bubbles)

 “mmmmwAAA!” (Bubbles)


“Don’t panic. Follow your bubbles Follow the F-ing bubbles.”

As I got closer to the top I saw a blurry figure and as I got closer it became clearer.

” CHARLIE!!
I have been looking for you everywhere!”

“I know little bro..me and…. “

“…..Shelly? “

“GAASP!”

“I’m so sorry! Are you o.k.?”

“cough! cough!”

“What did you say?”

“I said I’m sorry for leaving you behind”

“Ahwe… I feel kinda dizzy.. must of landed on this rock?”

“..Where’s your skateboard? “

“WHAT!?” no!..NO!”

“It’s gone!” At that very moment my heart sank.

The sky thundered. I began to cry.  Rain came down on me and Shelly.

“Damn you Augustine! and Damn you Pavement!” I screamed towards the clouds as water hit my face and ran down the warm bump on my head.

 She lifted me. My body dangled like a Pieta

“Come on! Get up.”

“Take that rock Shell. Take it and put me out of my misery!”

“Alright, alright.”

She gently placed me into the car.

A FEW WEEKS LATER…

The bump on my head had subsided but it felt as though the wound was still fresh. I needed a new board and it was painful to not skate for so long. I decided to take on a paper route and mow lawns for extra cash and to keep my mind off the obvious. I also kept the piece of asphalt I landed on when Augustine clocked me back on the street in front of that church. I’m not sure why. I guess maybe it was a sign or symbol of some kind.

“Hey! Nice hat, paper boy. What you up to?”

” It’s a part of the uniform. Going to work.”

“Bummer and on a Saturday.What’s the rock for?”

“Protection..motivation.”

“Hey, why don’t I come with you?” she asked.

 I put the bag over my shoulder.

“No, Shell.”

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

Rolling City Vol.1

Rolling City Vol. 2

Rolling City vol.3

Rolling City Vol. 4

Rolling City Vol.5

Rolling City Vol.6

Rolling City Vol 6.5

Rolling City Vol.8

October 9, 2011

Rolling City A Graphic Short in Blockprints Vol 6.5

https://vimeo.com/30192003

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

Rolling City Vol.1

Rolling City Vol. 2

Rolling City vol.3

Rolling City Vol. 4

Rolling City Vol.5

Rolling City Vol.6

Rolling City Vol 6.5

Rolling City Vol.7

October 3, 2011

Rolling City A Graphic Short in Blockprints Vol 6. Frame to Frame




Frame to Frame

In the 19th century Eadweard Muybridge’s scientific approach to photography made the study of movement observable in a frame-to-frame photograph. His investigation of movement changed how the world understood the body in motion and became a pre-curser to moving pictures (cinema). Muybridge’s aesthetic allowed my generation the experience of  moving pics on paper.

More importantly, the sequential photograph of the 80’s made magazines much more realistic and captivating for me as a kid.

I can remember skate magz, like Thrasher, would put out a feature spot w/ a professional skateboarder doing a Step By Step trick.  This was hard gotten information in a society before Google and YouTube, and the step by step, wasn’t only used in skateboard magazines.

For a moment, my brother was a Ninji-tsu student in the alleyway adjacent to our apartment complex. There, he studied his monthly tutorials put out in Black Belt and Karate (KaratAY!) magazines.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As a chubby kid any hand-plant or hand-stand trick sucked for me. I benefitted from  what were known as “lip tricks”: ollies, kick flips , nose picks, boneless plants, 50/50 grinds, slides… you know… tricks that had little to do with gravity.

Shelly: “Boneless Plant”



“The Crail Snatcher”  was one of those gravity street tricks, I was horrible at. In 1986, pro-skater, Eric Dressen, came out in a June Thrasher Magazine, teaching the world of street skating how to do a Crail Snatch.

it was a wall ride that required the skater to #1.  Ollie into/up the wall. #2. Once on the wall, use it as leverage to pull the board toward your torso w/ feet. #3.  In the moment before gravity pulled you back down, take your off-hand and pull the board away from the wall. Then #4. Land with feet on the board.  Easy in the hands of a pro skater.

I could never pull it off.  But I knew some one who could, and I recall the moment he did it.


Richard: Crail Snatch

For days Richard practiced.  Over and over.. falling… bailing…Crashing!  Until he finally stuck it. And when he did,  he could virtually do it on anything and everything……..walls, park benches, the sides of taco trucks. Richard was performing this trick flawlessly and with technique and height to back it up. He did it as good as I’d ever seen anyone do it including the skater in the magazine that taught it to him.

Stay tuned…..

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran


Rolling City Vol.1

Rolling City Vol. 2

Rolling City vol.3

Rolling City Vol. 4

Rolling City Vol.5

Rolling City Vol 6.5

May 30, 2011

Rolling City A Graphic Short in Block Prints VOL.5

Filed under: 1. Rolling City: A Graphic Short in Block Prints — Tags: , , — Work and Progress @ 4:43 pm

Hey! Hey! You o.k?!

 I think he’s dead…. No, he’s opening his eyes. Hey!

He’s out of it man.

At twelve yrs. old, VCR’s and Cable TV gave me my favorite genre of movies at home. I got to see a slew of gang and gangster flicks that influenced teens the world over.

1979 cult film by Walter Hill

Films that glorified the adolescent and apocalyptic gang theory, movies like: the Outsiders, The Warriors, The Bronx Warriors, the Wanderers, Escape from New York, and MAD MAX!

Skateboarding had a similar sensibility to these cult pictures. Both were based on the ideas of existential freedom and a bit of rebellion.

25 yrs ago street skating was on the rise, though nowhere near the mainstream success it is today.

Things like skate parks existed exclusively in communities that were out of our reach. Where I grew up, skaters were a rare breed, let alone parks just for skating. A kid in a working class neighborhood with a skateboard was an easy target for the local street gangs.

80’s skateboard companies sponsored premiere skateboarders that were also clustered into skate groups to promote company merchandise and skate culture to kids like myself. Groups like The Bones Brigade and Vision Skate team caused a raucus in the attitudes and minds of adolescent skateboard enthusiasts. These popular skate teams made videos, were featured in magazines, and traveled across the U. S., promoting the subculture.

Copy-cat groups emerged all over the country and skate crews began to form and run together, fusing the wolf pack mentality with skate-culture.

Morphing into pseudo skate gangs like:

“The East-Side Cholo Dickies (C.D.’s)”

“The Soccer Shirts”

and  “Team Creeps”

Team 3 Star was a  skate crew that manifested some time in the mid 1980’s in Commerce, Ca . Devised by the founding members who habitually wore duct-taped “Chuck Taylor’s”.

On a weekend they could be seen skating in a pack 10-12 deep. Shooting through the streets like cannonballs, blazing up and down inner-city sidewalks and bicycle lanes, causing pedestrians to scamper and hide behind architecture.

Heavy duty, vertical style boards raged under their feet and onto black top pavement, forcing the urethane wheels sing and hiss.

They could be heard for blocks…..


Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

Rolling City Vol.1

Rolling City Vol. 2

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Rolling City Vol. 4

Rolling City Vol.5

Rolling City Vol.6

Rolling City Vol 6.5

January 8, 2011

Rolling City a graphic short in block prints Vol.4: BANZAI!

As children, we grew up having way more physical activity then any of the kids today. There weren’t government laws that neglected the importance of physical activity in my time. The kids in my neighborhood also weren’t confined by a picket fence or a treehouse. No way Jack! My backyard was the city, and as a kid I always had healthy outlets to keep me busy.

As long as my mom felt like I was staying out of trouble.  Questions like, “What are you up to?” and “Where you going?” were easy to answer when you had a skateboard in your hand.


My board provided me with all that I needed: transportation, shelter, even a weapon, if I was so inclined. It was my Swiss Army knife, and at times I needed to use it.

Don’t get me wrong. It can be a jungle in the city and it was!

Stray dogs, pimps, pushers,

drug addicts, the occasional backyard rooster,

even just regular people with bad timing, could be trouble.

(The truck slows)

Of all the jungle beast, the worst were bullies.
If you’re guessing that I got my ass kicked a lot, you’re right. Falls, beatings, bruises, scabs, and scars. So many ass kickings  I couldn’t  keep count.

But no wound hurt more than when I lost my first skateboard.

Now I can’t tell you that I recall what happened exactly, ’cause I was hit pretty hard, but this is how it played out in my mind:

I thought I saw Pat Morita behind the faint sound of a flute …. but ……

Really, I just remember …..

Seeing stars.

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

Rolling City Vol.1

Rolling City Vol. 2

Rolling City vol.3

Rolling City Vol. 4

Rolling City Vol.5

November 15, 2010

Rolling City Vol. 3

Filed under: 1. Rolling City: A Graphic Short in Block Prints — Tags: — Work and Progress @ 6:25 pm


In 1984-85 Reagan’s America, inspired by the 1960’s, was still very consumer friendly. Production factories and strip mall culture was alive and well. The landscape of my Southern California was about 20% nature and 80% pavement. Parking lots freeways and palm trees, side-walks, cinder blocks. Accented by grassy island patches.


The 1980’s street skater was influenced by skate idols whose wheels were custom made for riding half pipes and pools; not an activity available to the average child from the ghetto.  We didn’t own pools, let alone live by someone who had one. To the average inner-city kid this was a mythological activity we lived out by way of schoolyard banks, highway slopes, empty river beds or any curb that could give us a moment of freedom.

The popular street skater identity hadn’t been developed just yet. Street competitions consisted of mostly cameos by professional ramp skaters.

But in Los Angeles, the relationship with the street was already there. Wheels and asphalt are synonymously a part of LA culture and have been for a long time. Your “wheels” are like the shoes on your feet. They’re with you whenever you leave the house and likewise are an extension of your personality, aesthetic, and style. Our wheels got us places………………..


“Here it is!”

“Wow… it looks like a broken fish.”  I said.

“It use to be my grandmother’s, and it runs great.” said Shelly.

So we got into this lopsided, 1960 Plymouth rust bucket of car that had a patchy green paint job and an interior that wasn’t much better.  Although it did have a functioning radio.

“I brought some travel music.”


“And what’s on that!”

“Just some good rock tracks by some kick ass bands.

“You’re kidding!” She responded. “My car, MY music. Here!” She handed me her own mixtape.


“Sit back and  listen to a real mixtape.”

Her tape was actually kind of good. Bands I’d never heard of and songs I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. She pontificated a bit about the punk rock movement, her preference in music.

This was the first time we actually hung out.

I’d never seen her in this light. Normally she was just, well…. Shelly and it was cool, she was cool.

Between all the new music and the different freeways, I’d lost track of where we were. That is, I could hardly recognize anything.  We stopped off at some skate spots Shell said Charlie might be at.

There was no sign of him, but I got to skate some unfamiliar territory.

We finally made it to Blank City and stopped off at one more skate spot where she said all the locals would be.  It was an empty riverbed bank that ran under a freeway. A group of real intimidating, older kids were skating. Landing tricks with ease, jumping and carving the pavement, catching speed in an instant, like gazelles on skateboards just thrashing up the place.

“Aren’t you gonna try.” Shelly asked

“Yeah right!” I responded sarcastically.

After 30 minutes of watching in awe, we got back in the rust bucket to look for Charlie’s place. Shelly didn’t actually have his address. We spent some time navigating both the neighborhood and her memory, before we finally arrived.

“That’s it. That’s the house.” She Said.

There was a lady on the steps of the house having a cigarette. She was wearing a summer dress and her hair was short. Though you couldn’t really make out her face behind the flower of smoke, she was obviously pretty.

“SHIT.. that’s his mom on the steps. You wait here.”

Shelly got out of the car and walked across the street to the smoking lady. I couldn’t make out what they were saying. They spoke for about five minutes before Charlie’s mom went inside and Shelly came back to the car.

She looked bothered.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, “Did you find out if he was home?”

“He’s not home!” she responded, and we sped off.

She said nothing.

Click! Her mixtape ended.

Shelly reached past me into the glove compartment where there were more tapes.

“You gotta be kidding! Please don’t make me listen to Niel Diamond!”

“I like Niel Diamond.” she responded.

“What about all that talk of thrash music and the Godfathers of Punk.”

“I like this. It reminds me of my grandmother.”

“I guess, If you like sad bastard music.” I muttered.

She didn’t respond.

I thought to myself, “That was a low blow. What could Charlie’s mom have said?”

“Come on, what happened?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” she said.

It was disappointing to see her so sad. I didn’t know what to do,  so I just bothered about the music.

“Can you at least change this music?”

No response.

“Do you have some metal?.. or some BLUES!”

“I don’t have the Blues”

“Well I do! from listening to this bullshit!”

“That’s It!”  She pulled over.

“Get out!”

“What? But…we’re not.”

OUT!

FINE!

Comfort music……. that’s what it was. Glove compartment comfort music.

I didn’t understand what just happen.”Sigh” I was speechless.

“Well. well……little fat ass. We meet again.”

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

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