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June 1, 1968 |
South Gate, California, United States (U.S.)
Mark Gonzales (born June 1, 1968), also known as "Gonz" and "The Gonz", is an American professional skateboarder and artist. He is known in the skateboarding world as a pioneer of modern street skateboarding and was named by the Transworld Skateboarding magazine as the "Most Influential Skateboarder of all Time" in December 2011.
Gonzales entered the skateboarding scene at the age of thirteen, with his best friend at the time David Chin, in South Gate, California, U.S. Then, at the age of fifteen, Gonzales adopted a more modern approach to skateboarding in a street context (subsequently dubbed "street skateboarding"). He was featured on the cover of Thrasher magazine's November 1984 issue riding a board from the Alva company, his board sponsor at the time, while performing a trick known as a "beanplant".
Vision to ATM Click
Shortly after his Thrasher magazine cover, Gonzales then joined the Vision skateboard team and quickly attained the status of a "professional" skateboarder. Gonzales won the 1985 Oceanside street contest while sponsored by Vision.
Gonzales left Blind after experiencing frustrations that were similar to his time with Vision and then started another company called "ATM Click". In 1993, Gonzales created controversy after he appropriated a Vision design that was used for one of his signature model boards for an ATM Click design; Gonzales then proceeded to also use the graphic for Real and Krooked signature skateboard models following his move to Deluxe Distribution.
Under the Deluxe Distribution company, Gonzales skated for Real skateboards and appeared in three of the company's videos: Kicked Out of Everywhere, Non Fiction, and Real to Reel. In 2002, Gonzales then launched Krooked Skateboards in partnership with the Deluxe company and, as of March 2013, Krooked is an operational company that has released four full-length videos.
In the summer of 1986, Gonzales performed an ollie at Embarcadero in San Francisco, U.S. and the area has been known as the "Gonz Gap" since his completion of the trick; the trick also helped to popularize Embarcadero as a location for skateboarders to skateboard. Later that year, Gonzales was the first person to skate handrails and later invented a trick that has been named the "Hippy Jump". Gonzales was also the first person to ollie the Wallenberg Set, a four-block, nineteen-feet long, four-feet tall gap in California, US.
In reference to the early era of street skateboarding, professional skateboarder Mike Vallely stated in a 2007 interview: "At the time, the best street skaters in the world were Mark Gonzales, Jesse Martinez, Tommy Guerrero, who all three were Mexican kids, and Natas Kaupas, who was a Lithuanian dude that lived at the beach in Santa Monica." In an interview for the adidas website, Gonzales explained in reply to a question about his influence with the Blind company, "I wanted to work with my big brother doing construction—at the time I felt old, but had a young chick."
In 2006 Gonzales was awarded the Legend Award by Transworld Skateboarding. and the magazine selected him as the most influential skateboarder of all time (followed by Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen) in December 2011.
Art and writing
London-based art curator Emma Reeves has explained in an introduction that she wrote for Interview magazine: "He makes art all the time, and he has been making art in some form or another for almost as long as he has been skateboarding. But it's rare to see an actual show of the work". An interview that Reeves completed with Gonzales is also published in Interview and Gonzales reveals that he likes creating "zines" the most, as "it is the most free thing to do". In 2008, Drag City released a book called The Collected Fanzines that consists of reproductions of old zines that he created together with director Harmony Korine.
Gonzales was featured in the music video for the song "West Coast" by Jason Schwartzman's band, Coconut Records; the music video featured a sequence that was originally filmed in 1998 at a German museum, but was edited for the purpose of the music video with Gonzales' permission. Gonzales also directed and appears in the Coconut Records music video "Any Fun", alongside actress Chloë Sevigny and skateboarder Alex Olson.
Gonzales is also a poet and author, and his published body of work includes Social Problems, High Tech Poetry, Broken Dreams, and Broken Poems. Gonzales has revealed that he is constantly writing poetry.
- Gummo (1997) – he appears in a scene in which he wrestles a chair
- How They Get There (1992)
- Beautiful Losers (2008) – a film about contemporary art and street culture (released on August 2, 2008)
- Sure-Grip Beach Style (1985)
- NSA 86' Vol. 4 (1986)
- Thrasher: Savannah Slamma (1988)
- Psycho Skate (1988)
- Ohio Skateout (1988)
- All Pro Mini Ramp Jam Hawaiian Style (1990)
- Blind: Video Days (1991)
- Thrasher: The Truth Hurts (1993)
- Supreme: A Love Supreme (1995)
- Deluxe: Jim's Ramp Jam (1996)
- Real: Non-Fiction (1997)
- Deluxe: World Wide Distribution (1999)
- Real: Kicked Out Of Everywhere (1999)
- Real: Real To Reel (2001)
- 411VM: Vancouver 2002 (2002)
- Streets: San Francisco (2003)
- Closure (2003)
- Thrasher: Rocket Science (2004)
- ON Video: Winter 2004 (2004)
- Fourstar: Super Champion Funzone (2005)
- Fourstar: Catalog Shoot (2005)
- Get Familiar (2006)
- McBeth - Mark Gonzales - The Journal (2006)
- Krooked: Kronichles (2006)
- Krooked: Gnar Gnar – the production was shot with an old VHS camcorder and was limited to 1000 VHS copies (2007)
- Adidas: A Five Day Excursion To Paris (2008)
- Krooked: Naughty (2008)
- Fourstar: Gang of Fourstar (2009)
- Krooked: Krook3D (2010)
- Poweredge: We Are Skateboarders (2012)
- Transworld: The Cinematographer Project (2012)
Gonzales also appeared in the 29th part of the web series "7 Day Weekend", produced by professional skateboarder Dustin Dollin—in the episode the pair skateboard, drink beer and converse while in France.
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- Thrasher, September 1986.
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