Marc Johnson (skateboarder)
|Birth name||Marc Johnson|
January 6, 1977 |
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States
Johnson's teenage years were spent in North Carolina, United States (US). Johnson was a state table tennis champion prior to developing an interest in skateboarding. Johnson provided an in-depth explanation of his family environment in a candid interview that was published in mid-July 2013:
I never had much of a family experience. Most of my relatives have passed away, and I have no contact with the other ones I know of. My father didn’t help us out when I was growing up. We were so poor. And his family had money. Plenty of money. But he was the wandering addict fuck-up, so they distanced themselves from my family. My grandmother once told my mother, when my dad had disappeared and we were starving, “You guys aren’t my problem anymore.” And my sister and I were told that we had grown up to be huge disappointments to them ...
Following the receipt of coverage in the skateboard media, Johnson relocated from North Carolina to California and was sponsored by Maple shortly thereafter. Johnson had very little money prior to departing North Carolina and travelled with a pair of males who funded the journey with petty scams.
Perceiving an opportunity to work with the individuals who had been influential in his style of skateboarding at the time, Johnson joined the A-Team after receiving an offer from skateboarding pioneer Rodney Mullen (Mullen had also raised the possibility of negotiating an arrangement with the Blind brand). After a few disenchanted years on A-Team, he and his teammates quit because of the feeling of skating for an engineered team that was a marketing ploy.
Johnson subsequently founded the Enjoi brand with Mullen, recruiting friends and fellow sponsored skateboarders, like Jerry Hsu and Louie Barletta, onto the team; Chris Cole was also sponsored by the company for a temporary period and, in 2009, stated in relation to his time with the company:
I really like enjoi. The brand is a breath of fresh air. I was on the East and detached from any team member so I was kind of a guy who rode the products, but not on the team. Especially ’cause they are a group of friends. I hung out with Marc Johnson a couple times. He was totally cool. I have always been a huge fan of his, so that was great.
However, Johnson progressively realized that he was not suited to the role of company owner: "... double-checking almost every single decision someone made for Enjoi if I wasn't standing directly over their shoulder got really old, really fast."
Johnson elected to stand down from his role with Enjoi and joined the Chocolate skateboard company; shortly after, he was recruited as a member of the Lakai footwear team. In relation to his decision, Johnson has explained:
I wouldn't say that I applied any hopes to those decisions. Well, of course I hoped I could bring something to the table for both companies. That always feels good if you can, right? Those companies were already established and of course really solid ... I just knew that Rick and Mike and Kelly all understood what things were like from both sides - being a rider and being involved from a business standpoint as well. As far as goals, I don't know. I didn't really set any goals. That sounds weird. Are we supposed to set goals in skateboarding?
In January 2013, Johnson selected his five favorite skateboard graphics as part of Skateboarder magazine's "Memory Screened" series, and identified Evan Hecox, a longtime artist for the Chocolate brand, during the interview on numerous occasions.
In 2013, Johnson's sponsors were listed as Chocolate Skateboards, Thunder, Matix, Spitfire, and Lakai Limited Footwear. Johnson revealed in a 2012 interview that the MOB griptape company is a sponsor that he would most like to add to his career.
On September 4, 2012, the Matix clothing company, in the wake of a major restructure, disseminated a press release stating that it had re-signed Johnson, alongside Daewon Song and Mike Anderson, referring to him as a "brand ambassador". The release explained further, "Daewon and MJ [Marc Johnson] have been with Matix since the beginning and it was only natural to continue on with the relationship." Lakai released Johnson's most recent signature shoe model "The Marc" in March 2013, and a promotional video was published on the brand's YouTube channel to coincide with the product's release.
In July 2013, Johnson explained the importance of sponsors that are owned and run by skateboarders, citing Lakai as a foremost example:
I’ve invested a huge part of my time, my effort and my heart and soul into Lakai. Because Skateboarders own it, skateboarders run it, and skateboarders design the shoes ... It’s a partnership all the way around ... Lakai didn’t have to ‘buy my endorsement’ or ‘purchase my support’. I supported those people involved with Lakai long before I ever joined the team ... I’ve gone on tour with them and watched them stress out while filming. I’ve watched them go through the same shit I go through. I’ve shared Motel 6 rooms with them, ate Bojangle’s with them, given them grip tape and bolts and wheels and bearings and shoelaces and socks while we’re stuck in a town 3 hours away from anywhere remotely considered civilized, filming our hearts out for what we love. They supported me through a very rough period of active alcoholism, and hung onto me after countless episodes of assholishness and wild, shameful behavior. I ride for a shoe company created by people who know what I’m going through and go through what I’m going through. That’s what I support.
The Back Forty
The "Back Forty" project was launched in mid-2013/early 2014 and is a collaboration between Johnson, Kenny Anderson and Chris Roberts—Johnson asserted in a March 2014 interview that, while the project sells products, it is not a "company." On the "About" section of the Back Forty's Facebook page, the project is self-defined as a commitment to: "Becoming the voice for what skateboarding has to say for itself." Johnson further explained: "We have tons of ideas that don't belong anywhere else ... Back Forty's a home for all the ideas that we have that don't really vibe with anything else that we're involved in."
Johnson has cited Lakai team-mate, Mike Carroll, as a significant influence, describing the introduction of Carroll's video part from the Transworld video, Modus Operandi in the following manner:
Carroll's switch frontside bigspin; was it in that little perfect line in Modus? Yeah, and then he does that perfect hardflip after it, at the end. That is like, in my opinion, that is the best line, ever, in skating. That's why, yeah, it's my favorite thing in the entire video and you can't get any better than that line—it's flawless, and he just threw in some stuff that no-one was doing at the time.
In a 2007 Thrasher interview, Johnson explained his inspiration in the following manner:
I've wondered about that. This is going to sound bizarre to most people, but ALL inspiration comes from something similar to the way a radio works. If you imagine that everything ever known or will be known exists between the lowest and the highest frequencies, we simply either stumble upon a brilliant song accidentally, or we spend our lives searching for great songs and find them where we may. Invention works like that. I think Tesla said something to that effect: We are simply filters for Divine Knowledge.
Johnson critiqued a current trend in skateboarding in a March 2014 interview, explaining that there are impersonators who exist in the skateboarding subculture. Johnson explains that when he encounters such people, he can see who their influences are, but that there is "nobody home"; he states that this loss of individuality is "garbage" to him.
Awards and accolades
Johnson won Thrasher magazine's 2007 "Skater of the Year" award. and was identified by the Transworld Skateboarding magazine as one of the "10 Skaters Who Changed the Decade" in a February 2010 article, citing Johnson as an "obvious" choice.
Professional skateboarder Paul Rodriguez included Johnson in his "top ten" list of favorite professional skateboarders in July 2013. Rodriguez praised Johnson as "a boss" with "incredible style" and "incredible technical capabilities." The list was published on Rodriguez's personal website and he concluded with the statement, "I think he is one of the all time greats for sure."
In August 2012, Johnson's residence was in a semi-isolated, mountainous area of California called Crest Line. Johnson is also a father, revealing in an interview on the independent skateboard website, 48 Blocks, "The scariest part of having a child is worrying about how you will provide for it, and then always wondering whether or not you're a good parent, if you're doing a good job bringing the little one up. For me, it's been an almost constant state of worry. I carry the weight for sure."
When asked to explain the "universe" in 2007, Johnson replied:
There's the Central Universe, and seven circuits of that Universe that are what are referred to as Local Universes. The scope of the functions and purposes of each and the whole is enormous. I will just say that one of the functions of our universe, one of the seven circuits, is primarily for what we know as “life.” We function as energy/consciousness on multiple levels of this universe simultaneously. We are here in slowed-down 'solid matter' density, and we also exist in higher energy frequency wavelengths at the same time, experiencing outside of time/space. You may understand this as different levels of dreams, where you can re-connect with yourself in another form you don't readily recognize, but feel a very strange familiarity with, and a desire to be with that form at all times because of the content of the dream. Regardless, the universe is infinite in space because space is just one aspect of density, whereas there are infinite other aspects of density that are not confined to three dimensions. The purpose of “life” in three dimensions is simply to experience, teach/learn, and evolve onto higher aspects of self. The ultimate goal is returning to the source after many and different experiences in higher dimensional realities, mostly in the service of others as others higher in reality have helped you on your way upward. That's the universe. And there's a lot of other planets and stars and strange stuff out there too that we haven't been able to fly to and check out. Maybe one day. Turn on some Tom Waits and go skate. Step right up.
In July 2013, Johnson stated that he is no longer concerned about his difficult upbringing in North Carolina, as he will have built his own family in the future. Johnson also described a typical day in 2013, and revealed that he is "building a new woodshop" for the purpose of undertaking furniture construction and woodwork: "Every day is different. When I get home, I clean the house, hang out in the back yard, take my lady out to dinner, then do research online until it's time to fall asleep.
- Maple: Rites of Passage (1994)
- Etnies: High 5 (1995)
- Maple: Promo (1995)
- Transworld: Uno (1996)
- Maple: Seven Steps To Heaven (1996)
- NC Board Shop: Montage (1996)
- 411VM: Best Of 411, Volume 4 (1997)
- 411VM: Issue 20 (1997)
- Emerica: Yellow (1997)
- Transworld: Modus Operandi (2000)
- Transworld: Anthology (2000)
- NC: Tilt Mode! (2000)
- ON Video: Spring 2001 (2001)
- ON Video: Summer 2001 (2001)
- Tilt Mode Army: Man Down (2001)
- Thrasher: Jaded (2002)
- Lakai: Beware Of The Flare (2002)
- 411VM: Issue 60 (2003)
- Girl: Yeah Right! (2003)
- Closure (2003) – independent Dan Wolfe production
- Chocolate: Hot Chocolate (2004)
- Chocolate: Se Habla Canuck (2004)
- Girl: What Tour? (2005)
- Lakai: The Red Flare Tour (2005)
- Elwood: 1st & Hope (2006)
- Matix: Grateful Shred Tour (2006)
- Lakai: Fully Flared (2007)
- Girl/Chocolate: Badass Meets Dumbass (2007)
- Lakai: The Final Flare! (2008)
- Lakai: 2010 Video Collection (2010)
- Lakai: Voltage (2010)
- Thrasher: King Of The Road 2011 (2011)
- Girl/Chocolate: Pretty Sweet (2012)
Johnson stated in a 2012 interview that he has selected the music for all of his career video parts.
- "Marc Johnson Skater Profile". SPoT. Skatepark of Tampa. 25 September 2007. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- "Ambassadors: Marc Johnson". Matix Clothing. Matix Clothing. 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- Chris Nieratko (2007). "Enjoi Review". chris nieratko. chrisnieratko.com. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- RIDEChannel (3 October 2012). "Marc Johnson Gets Beat Up, Gnar-Tech, Naked and More on Free Lunch (Part 1 of 2)". YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- Ian Mishka (July 2013). "The Marc Johnson Interview". Jenkem. Jenkem. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- Messageboarders (22 April 2009). "Chris Cole Interview". Thrasher Skateboard Magazine. USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties High Speed Productions, Inc. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- Dustin Umberger; Dave Rosenberg and Andy Mueller (2012). "Marc Johnson". 48 Blocks. 48 Blocks. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- "FIVES: Evan Hecox". Crailtap. Crailtap. 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- skateboardermagazine (16 January 2013). "Skateboarder Magazine's Memory Screened: Marc Johnson" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- "Team: Marc Johnson". Lakai Limited Footwear. Lakai Limited Footwear. 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- Kailee Bradstreet (4 September 2012). "MATIX RESIGNS DAEWON SONG, ADDITIONAL KEY ATHLETES". Transworld Business. Bonnier Corporation. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- Lakai Footwear (19 March 2013). "LAKAI MARC JOHNSON LOST AND LAKAI'D" (Video upload). Lakai Footwear on YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- "About". The Back Forty on Facebook. Facebook. 11 May 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
- theskateboardmag (7 March 2014). "The Ws: Marc Johnson" (Video upload). theskateboardmag on YouTube. Google Inc. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
- Blair Alley (18 January 2010). "10 SKATERS WHO CHANGED THE DECADE: MARC JOHNSON". Transworld Skateboarding. Bonnier Corporation. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- Michael Burnett; Giovanni Reda (11 December 2007). "Marc Johnson Interview". Thrasher Skateboard Magazine. USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties and High Speed Productions, Inc. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- MAKEYOUSICK (19 January 2008). "Marc Johnson's SOTY acceptance speech". YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Paul Rodriguez (21 July 2013). "PROD’S TOP TEN: FAVORITE PRO’S". The Official Paul Rodriguez Website. Rodskate, Inc. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Marc Johnson skate videos". SkatevideoSite.com. SkatevideoSite.com. 2005–2012. Retrieved 29 December 2012.