Here's the link to the review of my book by Genii Magazine, one of the biggest magic magazines in the world!
I received a letter from skateboarder Benoit Smith and he gave me permission to share his thoughts on skateboard magic. This is what he had to say.
hey dude, firstly, thank you. hope you don't mind but wanted to share a little magical moment with you. apologize in advance if this turns into thesis levels walls of text.
woke up today and out of habit went out to smoke, pondered some abstractions, felt the need to concreticize a couple thoughts, and did so with the aid of a nicotine shit; this was the result:
Skateboarding is inherently magical. The act of inducing one's will to conjure and manifest whatever the individual desires to achieve on their skateboard is fundamentally magic; the resulted "trick" the act of the magician. Both psychologically and physically, the act of transmutation is enforced. Physically, taking the already established environment (nature) and combining the physical environment with beauty in the form of performative art, the two come together in unity. Derived from a socioeconomic perspective, skateboarding itself is the same union between high and low culture. Psychologically, the perception of environment to skateboarders are entirely transmuted; the mind is now trained and sharpened to recognize every instance of physical environment as a (skateboard) potentiality. In the same nature of humanity, each individual's skateboarding is entirely personal in it's expression, as the nuances in someone's style, trick selection, etc. are all rooted in the myriad facets of one's mind, but one in it's overarching community, as people from all walks of life from all over the world share the same source of love that trancend all human barriers such as language, sexuality/gender, culture, etc.
right after i came across an interview for your book, and fuck dude, hell yeah. so glad you made this, especially in this format since i do illustration work as well. probably shoulda held off on emailing you until after i bought and read it but it already resonates. when i do ill be sure to send you a follow up dissertation.
In different episodes of Gumby, his skateboard says CLAY POWER on top of it with a picture of himself.
I think it's an interesting question to dig a little deeper into the meaning of the power of clay, and what Gumby represents.
Clay has its roots in bringing things to life, from Biblical sources to stories of the golem. Art Clokey would animate clay objects and bring them to life. In the beginning of the film Gumby Dharma, Art Clokey says, "In the Shakespearean plays, all the characters are Shakespeare. Like we are all a god, they’re all me. All of it is in me. All of these characters. Don’t know how it happened, but that’s life."
Gumby himself has some spiritual associations. Clokey discovered the works of Alan Watts and starting seeking Eastern religions. He brought the Gumby figure to Sathya Sai Baba, a famous guru from India. Clokey explained:
"I stood there with Gumby and he did this circular motion with his arms... Out of nowhere he materialized this sacred ash. He plopped it right on top of Gumby. When we came home again, things started to happen." Afterward, sales from Gumby toys started going up.
Would you expect a cartoon skateboard to carry serious meaning? It gets more interesting when you you see how Clokey used Gumby as a vehicle to spread love. Clokey was given a drug that caused him to go on a shamanic journey, and his trip was so marvelous he wanted to share it on TV. The episode was called "Moon Trip." I think Clokey’s role with using Gumby to inspire love is similar to a spiritual healer.
Clokey says, "When people watch Gumby, they get a blissful feeling. Gumby loves you. We love you. That's about all I can say."
I think Clay Power is like saying Flesh Power: no matter what color you are, we all have that life force inside us that connects us all together.
To me, “Clay Power” is a symbol for the spark of the divine within us!