I like how this man writes, simple old school sensibilites.
Straight as he wants to be
Once A long ago I asked Mark Gonzalez to paint me a painting, he turned to me and explained that for him, painting has to done be done at the right time, the right time being a time when he is inspired to paint. I’ve always held onto this moment I shared with him. I was young and a fan of Mark, and I just wanted some artwork of his to hang on the wall. The crazy thing was Mark had come to visit me, to skate my ramp, and to just hang out. This would be a dream for most skaters, and it was for me, but somehow the idea of him making me a painting was like some sort of stamp that would solidify this new friendship. Looking back I realize how much I wanted from people in my early 20’s. The man-child times of my life could be so damn confusing. I think Mark saw that I was some sort of idiot savant…. I locked myself in my warehouse and just skated. I over focused on it, ate right, stayed in shape and obsessed over skating. It was pure and from my heart, but in ways it was almost sick. A young man should live and let the world challenge him, but my challenge was skating and pushing myself. I would travel far and wide in those days but it was more just to get to skate something new, it was foolish of me not to see the experience of travel in a bigger picture. It took me a long time to find myself and to let me be myself. It took distancing myself from skateboarding for a certain amount of time, it took me submerging myself in night school classes, and a huge awakening was learning how to build my first motorcycle from the ground up. It was me alone in the garage struggling mostly, fucking things up at times and succeeding at times. It was a proper and much needed balance. Though it was just about a decade ago, it was a different time as far as building a bike goes, now there is such a network through the computer with other chopper enthusiasts, and “how to” information. I see nothing wrong with this, and to judge it would only point out my age and insecurity. But I would never change a thing about the way I got to experience my first build. I was inspired by others at the time, but you know there is that feeling when something really finds you that is so deep, it’s like falling in love, it’s unexplainable. It grabs you by the heart and by the nuts and it drags you around. It’s someone else’s first rock show that made them become a musician…or the first time you held a spray can to a wall and you knew you wanted to be an artist, maybe a photographers first look behind a lens. That feeling when those chills run up the back of your neck and into your brain, and you look around and ask your self if this is an ok place to scream at the top of your lungs. And when you get it, you are just so thankful it found you. It may not be forever, it may transfer to something else, but you welcome it and you grab onto it. For me it’s been skateboarding and motorcycles…. I don’t have to prove it by saying for LIFE, it’s just the things that have found me. I’m not just passing through, but at anytime I would welcome something that would challenge me and consume me the way that they have. It is a personal trip…and we are individuals, no matter how hard others will try to box you in. Recently I had an older friend that I look up to tell me “you know man I just can’t figure you out”…. I took it as kind of odd when he said it because, first off what the fuck are you doing trying to figure out someone you have already accepted as a friend. Days later looking back on it I took it as a compliment. I don’t really want to be “figured out”. I enjoy individuals that keep me guessing and surprise me. Shit I can’t figure myself out most days. I’m the only one that lives inside this head/body so I don’t think anyone can truly figure anyone else out. I couldn’t really figure Mark out back then, and why he just couldn’t paint me a painting on the spot. Now of course I get it and the lesson is learned. The funny thing is Mark and I skated my ramp that night like two men gone mad. I tucked myself into bed that night around 11:00pm and at 6:30am I heard a tapping on my door….. “hey Maxi, I made something for you” mark whispered
when I went downstairs Mark had painted me a painting on the wall next to my ramp. It was fucking giant. Ten feet high and about Twenty four feet wide. After our skate he was feeling inspired. Thanks for the lesson Mark.