Skate Culture

Treasures of the NHS Secret (Skateboard) Archives: Natas Art

Everyone knows Sean Cliver. Sean was one of the artists who came on board with Powell Peralta in the late 1980’s and is responsible for graphics like the Ray Barbee “Rag Doll” and Steve Cabellero’s “Ban This” deck — not to mention numerous other epic decks from the 1990’s and up to and including our present time. Sean is also responsible for the, quite literal, bibles of skateboard art, Disposable: A History of Skateboard Art and The Disposable Skateboard Bible.

Recently Sean went on a tour of the NHS (Santa Cruz) archives — which, it strikes me, is for skateboarding enthusiasts a bit like what it must be for others to get into the Vatican Secret Archives; places where you can see history unfold before you. In this case, skate history.

At any rate, one of the little treasures he pulled out for us was this (which would have been utilized for creating the silk screen imprint for printing up the boards). This is the top half of the original panther designed by Dogtowner Kevin Ancell for Natas Kaupas, a design which was eventually brought over from SMA proper to Santa Cruz when Natas worked out a distribution deal with them.

Huge ass thanks to @widmannco for the afternoon of archive adventure awe at @nhs_inc and the @nhsskatemuseum. When we arrived he first asked if we wanted the 10-cent or the 25-cent tour, but I’m fairly certain it was the 10-buck version we walked away with today. Oh what a wonderful nerd world it would be if every company in the industry had only half of what Santa Cruz has managed to preserve, save, and temperature-control store from the ravages of time, ignorance, and irrational fits of dumpster rage. Sorry I missed you @creachurelee!
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Pretty epic bit of history here. This is what that board looked like under NHS. (Tip: the “true” SMA versions screened by Skip had palm leaves which had a sort of color blend/fade to them. Of course the earliest version of this graphic had no palm leaves at all.)

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