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Profiles And Interviews

Mark Gonzales: Skateboarding Legend and Cultural Icon

Mark Gonzales is an iconic figure in the world of skateboarding and art. Born on June 1, 1968, in South Gate, California, Gonzales began skateboarding at the age of 13 and quickly became a pioneer in the development of modern street skating. He is considered the first street-only skateboarder alongside Natas Kaupas and has been influential in the sport ever since.

Gonzales is not only a skateboarder but also an accomplished artist. He has been featured in numerous art exhibitions and has collaborated with famous artists such as Harmony Korine and Spike Jonze. Gonzales’s art is known for its unique style, incorporating elements of skateboarding, graffiti, and street culture. His work has been featured in galleries all over the world and has been praised for its creativity and originality.

Overall, Mark Gonzales is a multifaceted individual who has made a significant impact on both skateboarding and art. His contributions to the sport have helped shape modern street skating, and his art has inspired countless individuals around the world.

"The Legend," Mark Gonzales Finds Perfect Balance in Fine Art and Skateboarding | HYPEBEAST Diaries“The Legend,” Mark Gonzales Finds Perfect Balance in Fine Art and Skateboarding | HYPEBEAST Diaries

Early Life and Background

Born on June 1, 1968, in South Gate, California, Gonzales was raised in South Gate and is of Irish and Mexican descent. Despite being baptized and receiving his first communion as a child, Gonzales does not consider himself to be religious.

Gonzales started skateboarding at the age of thirteen in South Gate, California. He quickly made a name for himself in the skateboarding scene and became a professional skateboarder. He is often credited with inventing street skating and is considered one of the most innovative and influential skaters of all time.

Growing up, Gonzales was known for his creativity and unique style. He was always experimenting with new tricks and pushing the limits of what was possible on a skateboard. His passion for skateboarding and his dedication to the sport helped him become one of the most well-known skateboarders in the world.

His early life in South Gate, California, helped shape his identity and his approach to skateboarding. He was inspired by the diverse community around him and the many different cultures that he was exposed to. This early exposure to diversity and creativity helped Gonzales develop his unique style and approach to skateboarding, which has made him a legend in the sport.

Skateboarding Career

Mark Gonzales
Photo: Brittain

Influence on Skateboarding

Mark Gonzales is widely regarded as one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. He was among the first skateboarders to focus on street skating, which has since become the most popular form of skateboarding. Gonzales was a major influence on Natas Kaupas, who is often credited with inventing the modern ollie, a trick that has become a cornerstone of street skating.

Signature Tricks

Gonzales is known for his unique style and innovative tricks. He is credited with inventing several tricks, including the kickflip underflip and the no-handed 50-50 grind. He is also known for his ability to skate handrails, and he famously ollied over the Wallenberg set of stairs in San Francisco, a feat that had never been accomplished before.

Major Accomplishments

Gonzales has had a long and illustrious skateboarding career. He was the first skateboarder to be sponsored by Adidas, and he has also ridden for companies such as Supreme and Krooked Skateboards. He has appeared in several skateboarding videos, including the classic Video Days, and he has won numerous awards for his contributions to the sport.


In addition to his skateboarding career, Gonzales is also an accomplished artist. He has collaborated with several companies to create skateboard decks and other products, including a line of shoes for Adidas. He has also designed graphics for companies such as Krooked Skateboards and Supreme.

Impact on Skateboard Culture

Gonzales has had a profound impact on skateboard culture. He helped to popularize street skating, which has become the dominant form of skateboarding. He has also inspired countless skateboarders with his innovative tricks and unique style. Gonzales has been featured in numerous magazines, including Thrasher Magazine, and he has been the subject of several documentaries.

Notable Peers

Gonzales has collaborated with many notable skateboarders over the years, including Tony Hawk, Jason Lee, Tommy Guerrero, and Ed Templeton. He has also influenced a generation of skateboarders who have followed in his footsteps, including many who have gone on to become professional skateboarders in their own right.

Artistic Endeavors

Transition to Art

Gonzales has also made significant strides in the art world. His transition from skateboarding to art was a natural progression, as he has always been interested in various forms of creative expression. Gonzales began exploring different mediums, such as painting, photography, and zines, which eventually led to his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1998.

Works and Exhibitions

Gonzales’ artwork is a reflection of his unique perspective on the world. He draws inspiration from his travels to different cities, such as New York City, Paris, and Japan, which is evident in his works that feature cityscapes and street scenes. His paintings often feature bold colors and abstract shapes, while his photography captures candid moments and everyday objects. Gonzales has exhibited his works in galleries and museums around the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Collaborations and Influence

Gonzales has collaborated with various artists and brands throughout his career, including Spike Jonze, Kaws, and Hiroshi Fujiwara. He has also influenced a new generation of artists and skateboarders, such as Sem Rubio, with his unique style and approach to creativity. Gonzales’ impact on culture can be seen in the way that he has blurred the lines between skateboarding, art, and fashion.

Mark Gonzales collab skateboard – The Skateroom

Impact on Culture

Gonzales’ artistic endeavors have had a significant impact on the world of contemporary art and skateboarding. He has challenged traditional notions of what constitutes art and has inspired others to explore their own creative potential. Gonzales’ work has also helped to bridge the gap between different cultures and communities, bringing people together through a shared love of creativity and self-expression.

Writing and Poetry

Mark Gonzales - Why I Write?Mark Gonzales – Why I Write?

Mark Gonzales is not just a skateboarder and artist, he is also a writer and poet. In fact, his love for writing is what led him to create his own zines, which are now celebrated in the book Non Stop Poetry: The Zines of Mark Gonzales.

Gonzales’ writing is often introspective and philosophical, exploring themes such as identity, creativity, and the nature of existence. His poetry is similarly thought-provoking, with a focus on the beauty and complexity of the world around us.

He has collaborated with a number of writers and editors over the years, including Emma Reeves, who co-edited Non Stop Poetry. Reeves is an accomplished writer in her own right, with a focus on contemporary art and culture. Her contributions to the book help to contextualize Gonzales’ work within the broader artistic landscape.

Gonzales’ writing and poetry offer a unique perspective on the world, one that is both deeply personal and universally relatable. Whether exploring the complexities of the human experience or simply reveling in the beauty of everyday life, Gonzales’ work is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Personal Life

Mark Gonzales is known for his dedication to skateboarding and art, but he also values his personal life. He has been married to his wife Tia for over two decades and they have two children together. Gonzales has mentioned in interviews that family is a top priority for him and he enjoys spending time with them.

In addition to family, Gonzales also values fun and stoke in his personal life. He is known for his playful and creative approach to skateboarding, often incorporating unexpected tricks and maneuvers. Gonzales has also expressed his love for comedy, considering it to be “mainstream society’s high art.” This appreciation for humor and levity is reflected in his art as well, which often features whimsical and lighthearted elements.

Despite his love for fun, Gonzales has also experienced pain throughout his life. He has suffered injuries from skateboarding and has spoken openly about his struggles with depression. However, he has found ways to cope and has used his art and skateboarding as outlets for self-expression and healing.

Legacy and Influence

Gonzales’ influence on the sport of skateboarding cannot be overstated. He helped to redefine what was possible on a skateboard, and his innovative approach to street skating paved the way for an entire generation of skaters. He believed that getting hurt was simply part of the process, and that the only way to truly succeed was to push yourself to your limits.

Gonzales’ pioneering spirit and willingness to take risks helped to shape the sport of skateboarding and inspire countless skaters around the world. His video parts remain some of the most-watched and celebrated in the skateboarding community, and his simple yet powerful approach to skating continues to influence new generations of skaters.

Interviews and Media Appearances

Mark Gonzales has been featured in various interviews and media appearances throughout his career. He has been interviewed by popular skateboarding magazines such as Thrasher and Transworld Skateboarding, as well as mainstream media outlets such as GQ.

In a 2017 interview with GQ, Gonzales discussed his approach to skating, his lack of connection to modern technology and social media, creative inspiration, and more. He also shared that he hasn’t had a smartphone for five years, stating that “life is better without it.”

Gonzales has also been featured in several documentaries, including “The Gonz: Chronicles,” which chronicles his life and career in skateboarding, and “New York Minute,” which showcases his skateboarding skills in New York City.

In addition to interviews and documentaries, Gonzales has also made appearances on various talk shows, including “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” He has also been a guest on several podcasts, including “The Nine Club” and “The Blondey Show.”

Hayley Gordon

Hayley Gordon has been surfing for over 20 years. Riding both shortboards and longboards, she's traveled the world to surf but mainly sticks to her two home locations of San Diego and Long Island.

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