Interview: Andy Howell
- 25 April 2021
This is our third of a weekly series of short interviews we are doing on people who contribute to skateboarding’s rich culture, and keep it rad.
This week we have the ever-productive, ever innovative Andy Howell. One of the founders of New Deal skateboards and 411 Video Magazine, Artist, Pro Skateboarder, Tech Entrepreneur, Webby Award Winner and one of iDn Magazines Top Creatives Worldwide. I’m so stoked that Andy found the time to do this in his hectic schedule to give you an idea of how hard working he is and how much he has contributed to skateboarding.
Where are you right now?
Let’s just call 2021 a transition year, as we lost our home to fire a year and half ago, we are back on the East Coast living in Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks of NC, back to my roots and enjoying the beach life on the right coast of the US. We’ll be traveling around Germany and more of Europe this summer, which I’m looking forward to. Feels like skate tour with my family… currently like a hermit crab looking for another shell 🐚!
What are you currently working on?
I’ve been in touch with a lot of artists and developers about digital art and NFT’s, and working out the best sustainable solution for all stakeholders in that movement. It’s been fun to watch fringe artists like Beeple and others “find a way” via blockchain to once again disintermediate the establishment with direct access.
Favourite skate related possession?
Most of my original skate art and decks from the 90’s were destroyed in the fire, so for now I’m just grateful for all the artists and skaters who have rallied around to help me and my family recover and begin to rebuild our art and skate collection base. Most notably at the moment are artists and brands including Shepard (Fairey), DALEK, Tony (Hawk), Kai&Sunny, DabsMyla, Sergio Garcia, Dave Kinsey, Persue, FACT, DC Shoes, Nick Tershay at Diamond, Jeff Staple, Dr Dax, Jeff Soto, Nick Runge, Bobby Hundreds, the Uniqlo brothers and Luca Ionescu, along with many others who have stepped up since our ground zero moment.
Something about you that is not related to skateboarding that people might not know?
I’ve been in ketosis for over a year, also I grew up surf fishing, cast netting, and shelling on the beach in Kitty Hawk and I’ve been getting back to that the last few months…
What did you do yesterday?
I woke up before sunrise and took my dog Bella for a mile long walk down the beach to a great little breakfast restaurant, watched the sun come up and imagined myself surfing every wave, even body whomping the shore breaks.
Favourite period in skate history that isn’t right now?
1984-88, my transition from vert to street and progressing from and with Mark (Gonzales), Tommy (Guerrero), Natas, Neil (Blender), GSD, Mike Vallely, and also my friends in VB and ATL including Charles Harmon, Brad Marx, Bushka Vidal, Brad Marx, Otha Nowlin, Sweet Pea, Gomez, Bart, Daniel Powell, Fred Reeves, Thomas Taylor, and others on the East Coast who rarely got the spotlight they deserved (and could have cared less).
Favourite skate spot of all time past or present?
Akers Mill, Atlanta. The absolute perfect loose-transition brick planters with four walls making a square with perfect spine, and slideable benches on a couple of the tops of the banks. Tod Swank (early street ripper and founder TumYeto), shot a photo of me doing a lieN crooked cop there after the Stone Mountain GA pro-am around ‘86 or ‘87, which went in Transworld and was my third photo in the mags as an am. I dressed up in a preppy button up shirt for the session, which was very early in the morning since Akers Mill was a bust during business hours.
What’s next in skateboarding?
More direct connection between skaters and followers via social, another period of fast trick innovation like 1990, more skaters who are also artists, more style, more skaters who shred everything from pools to street to bombing hills. There’s a resurgence in the idea of a best all-around skater, and maybe Thrasher will start a new SOTY award based on that and voted by all the sponsored ams, pros and readers…
Follow Andy on Insta at www.instagram.com/andyhowell43