Alien Workshop is an American skateboarding company that was founded in 1990 by Chris Carter, Mike Hill, and Neil Blender. Following periods under the ownership of the Burton snowboard company and original team rider Rob Dyrdek, the company was acquired by Pacific Vector Holdings in October 2013. Alien Workshop produces skateboard decks, wheels, apparel, and other skateboard accessories.
The brand is a part of DNA Distribution (also known as the "Sovereign Sect"), a Dayton, Ohio, United States (U.S.) distribution company that also consists of the Habitat and Reflex (bearings) brands. DNA Distribution was acquired by Burton Snowboards on February 5, 2008. The Habitat skateboard deck brand was conceived as an offshoot of Alien Workshop and was led by Joe Castrucci, who was originally a videographer for the latter company.
Recruitment of Arto Saari
On May 2, 2008, the Flip company announced that its long-term team member Arto Saari had relocated to Alien Workshop—the announcement was a shock to members of the skateboarding media. In 2012, Saari provided further insight into his decision to leave Flip, citing the death of former teammate Shane Cross as an underpinning factor: "It wasn't, like, a easy thing to do, but, at the time, I knew I had to do it ... for the reasons that happened, you know? And that's why I decided that it's better off for me to leave Flip than, just, go my own way and, just, do that." Professional skateboarder, Ed Templeton, stated in a 2012 interview: "I mean I was completely shocked when he left Flip ... it didn't make sense."
At the start of January 2011, Flip announced that Saari had rejoined the team and released an image that featured Saari alongside the caption: "Home is Where the Hearto Is". Saari spoke about his time as an Alien Workshop rider and also relayed his brief conversation with Carter that followed his decision to return to Flip:
Riding for Alien was great; like, there wasn't any bad vibes or anything. I really liked the company, I really liked everyone involved in it and I became friends with everyone. And when you got to quit a company like that, you wanna blow your brains out, you know? I only spoke to Carter and that's probably, like, one of the hardest calls I had to make and just talked to him and he was, like, "Well, fuck man, it's a bummer, but it's, like, you gotta do what you gotta do."
On January 10, 2012, Skateboarder magazine announced Dyrdek's purchase of Alien Workshop and DNA Distribution from Burton Snowboards. Following Dyrdek's acquisition of DNA Distribution, the official press release stated that "Carter will continue to oversee DNA Distribution in Dayton, Ohio, while Dyrdek will consult directly on all marketing and creative from his Los Angeles based office." In August of the same year, the brand released a series of skateboard decks, wheels, apparel, and stickers that featured the art of Keith Haring.
On May 1, 2013, two senior skateboard team members Jason Dill and Anthony Van Engelen (AVE) publicly announced their departure from Alien Workshop. The press release stated: "Our decision to leave the Workshop is painfully difficult ... It will always be the greatest times of our lives ... The time we spent growing up with the Alien Workshop. Thank you Dyrdek. Thank you Carter. Thank you Mike Hill. Sincerely, Dill and AVE."
On September 3, 2013, Mike "Mikey" Taylor announced his departure from the company after eleven years as a team member. Taylor revealed the news on his Instagram account and explained:
It saddens me to announce that recently Alienworkshop and I have decided to part ways. It's crazy to think how fast 11 years has gone by. I had met @robdyrdek when I was a kid way before I was sponsored, so it was pretty surreal when he called me and asked me to be pro on his company Seek. The last 8 years with AWS have been great and I just wanted to say thank you to Rob, Chris Carter, and Mike Hill for everything you've done for me. I wish you guys the best!!
Pacific Vector Holdings
A press release announced on October 2, 2013 that Dyrdek would continue as a minority shareholder of parent company DNA, following an acquisition by Pacific Vector Holdings. The closing of the transaction occurred on October 7, 2013 and the controlling interest was purchased for the issuance of 250,000 stock options and US$1.5 million in the form of an earnout. In the press release, Dyrdek stated: "The DNA Brands are in great hands ... the possibilities are limitless."
- Memory Screen (1991)
- Timecode (1997)
- Photosythesis (2000)
- Kalis in Mono promotional video (2006)
- Mind Field (2009)
Life Splicing series
The company introduced a web-based video series, entitled Life Splicing, in early 2011, with each segment featuring a montage of the brand's riders and artistic filming/production techniques—videographers included Greg Hunt, Benny Maglinao, and Cody Green. Alien Workshop described the series as "a series of short films, featuring teamriders, artists and friends." Transworld Skateboarding magazine praised the series, stating that "... the Workshop straight nails it in the art department. Alien’s recent Life Splicing clips haven taken the dime-a-dozen video platform of the meat grinder known as the Internet and transformed it into a full-on fine art gallery."
- Life Splicing No. 001: Kevin Terpening (2011)
- Life Splicing No. 002: Life In A Box (2011)
- Life Splicing No. 003: EXP (2011)
- Life Splicing No. 004: Nick Boserio (2011)
- Life Splicing No. 005: Gilbert Crockett (2011)
- Life Splicing No. 006: John Fitzgerald (2012)
- Skateboarder Magazine (17 April 2012). "ROB DYRDEK OFFICIALLY ACQUIRES DNA DISTRIBUTION FROM BURTON". Skateboarder Magazine. GrindMedia, LLC. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- Kailee Bradstreet (2 October 2013). "PACIFIC VECTOR HOLDINGS ACQUIRES DNA DISTRIBUTION". TransWorld Business. GrindMedia. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
- SNOWBOARD Magazine PR Dept. (5 February 2008). "Burton Acquires Alien Workshop and Habitat". SNOWBOARD. Storm Mountain Publishing. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Joe Castrucci - Part 1" (Video upload). The Berrics. The Berrics. 13 July 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- Patrick O'dell (June 2012). "Arto Saari - Part 5 Epicly Later'd" (Video upload). Vice. Vice Media Inc. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- Blair Alley (1 January 2011). "Arto Back On Flip". Transworld Skateboarding. Bonnier Corporation. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- Christian Senrud (7 June 2012). "ARTO SAARI EPICLY LATER’D PART 5". Skateboarder magazine. GrindMedia, LLC. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Blair Alley (17 April 2012). "ROB DYRDEK ACQUIRES DNA DISTRIBUTION". Transworld Skateboarding. Bonnier Corporation. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- Nick Estrada (17 August 2012). "Keith Haring x Alien Workshop Collection". Highsnob. Titel Media. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "AVE And Dill Quit Alien Workshop". The Skateboard Mag. Strictly Skateboarding. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- Mikey Taylor (3 September 2013). "It saddens me to announce that recently Alienworkshop and I have decided to part ways. It's crazy to think how fast 11 years has gone by. I had met @robdyrdek when I was a kid way before I was sponsored, so it was pretty surreal when he called me and asked me to be pro on his company Seek. The last 8 years with AWS have been great and I just wanted to say thank you to Rob, Chris Carter, and Mike Hill for everything you've done for me. I wish you guys the best!!". mikeytaylor1 on Instagram. Instagram. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Alien Workshop (2012). "Team". Alien Workshop. Alien Workshop. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- AlienWorkShop (31 December 2012). "Life Splicing No. 006: John Fitzgerald" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Alien Workshop skate videos". SkatevideoSite.com. SkatevideoSite.com. 2005–2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Kevin Duffel (31 December 2012). "JOHN FITZGERALD LIFE SPLICED". Transworld Skateboarding. Bonnier Corporation. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- AlienWorkShop (16 February 2011). "Life Splicing No. 001" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- AlienWorkShop (1 August 2011). "Life Splicing No. 002: Life In A Box" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- AlienWorkShop (8 August 2011). "Life Splicing No. 003: EXP" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- AlienWorkShop (18 August 2011). "Life Splicing No. 004: Nick Boserio" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- AlienWorkShop (1 December 2011). "Life Splicing No. 005: Gilbert Crockett" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 23 January 2013.