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Rodney Mullen  Watch "Rodney Mullen: Liminal" NOW at

The Venice Biennale is an arts exhibition (and org), dating back to 1895. A skater named Shaun Gladwell was invited by the Dean of Yale’s School of Arts in 2007 to show one of his pieces, only to be singled out later by The Daily Telegraph: “If I had to pick the single young artist in this Biennale destined to future greatness, it would be the Australian Shaun Gladwell.” Today, Elton John even collects his work. Some years ago, Shaun reached out to shoot together; although I couldn’t film back then, he patiently encouraged, and we became friends along the way. The first time I’d skated in front of a camera for nearly a decade was for Shaun in the Torrance museum, on some of his favorite art. Thanks to the Drake Hotel for bringing us together in Toronto on Friday evening for a showing and a discussion.

There is no single skater that has ever made me feel more honored to have any association with— much less the bond we have— than @daewon1song . Even as a kid, his ninja skills were obvious; I put him on World right from the beginning, about 27 years ago. That only fueled his progress and creativity, which are still unfolding to this day, etching an indelible mark in our shared history, written through his skating, and illuminated through his character—because of who he is. Hardly have I ever met someone more creative, driven, humble, devoted—and most of all, a loyal friend-- which has been tested and found truer than I’ve ever known, nearly 30 years later. I can't express the honor I felt to introduce Daewon last Friday night at his Hall of Fame induction.

@krisztinaholly is a pearl of MIT (engineering), an entrepreneur, who is one of the most brilliant and insightful people I’ve ever known, advising a range of influential organizations, from LA Mayor Garcetti’s office to The White House. Her podcast "@artofmfg" is a behind-the-scenes look at how entrepreneurs turn ideas into realities. We just did an episode together, which she also wrote-up and published in Forbes; it weaves together elements of how what we take from skating can be translated into business, with some stories from the early days of World to the present. Best of all, Z’s like a sister to me. This shot is when she hosted TEDxUSC--my first ever talk--which would never have come about, were it not for her believing in me and making it happen.
Tune in on the website ( or iTunes (

For all the accomplished, even famous, artists who draw from skateboarding, there are even more who commit themselves to a service of a different sort. They don’t talk or debate; rather, when the call comes, they answer it for the rest of us, a sacrifice that often stays with them even when they do make it back. Skaters populate our most elite Special Forces (Thank You, Chris!), NORAD (Yeah Ben!), while others quietly walk amongst us, restarting their lives. Bret’s friend (Jeff) was an Infantry Marine; he used to visualize lines on vert to help center himself on deployments; once home, he started Buzz Bomb Skateboards because, “Skateboarding brought me back to me.” After Bret joined up, I asked if I could be part of a collaboration, with the good word from Almost. Our boards will be released next week— check ‘em @buzzbombskates. (Photo: Upon hearing, Jeff sent this Bible he found on a dusty shelf in Ramadi.)

There are so many accomplished—if not famous—people out there who draw from their skating backgrounds or maintain a genuine love it. Spike, Jonah Hill, and Scott Cooper are just a few in film: plenty in tech, and probably even more of musicians. Ben Harper is singular, even in this group: He’s got 3 Grammy’s and fills venues like Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House; meanwhile, he skates nearly every day, with some of the meanest laser flips and nollie (outward) varial-heels around. Bret Johnston is another: a Harvard professor who’s seemingly always up for int’l awards, he walks with kings. Presently in Iceland, he’s giving private readings to their President. Here’s a frontside rock. Just another testimony to the talent and level of influence of our community. (Follow Bret @notoriusbaj22)

@wired did an article on me a couple years ago, which never seems to stop giving. Afterward, I was invited to speak at Wired BizCon, where their Editor-in-Chief, Scott Dadich, blew me away— so sincere and cool. A day later, Scott was to introduce my talk at 1WTC in front of the other editors-in-chief at Conde Nast, chaired by the head of Vogue. As they filed in, nerves started to kick in… Then Scott stepped up for his intro, speaking with such warmth about his own skating days—next thing I knew, everything just flowed. By the time it was done, I’d never had so much fun doing a talk. By the following day, Scott had me hooked up with the president’s office at Conde Nast; ever since, he continues to lift me up wherever he can—such an awesome friend. Scott’s so crazy talented; he walks amongst kings, and now has broadened his role to a whole new realm of projects—this is just one:

@wsjmag do these Still Life pieces for the back of their mag, featuring what mostly seems to be artists: playwrights, Pulitzer Prize winners, etc. I have no idea why they reached out to me, but was thinking it’s because they did a cool one on Laird Hamilton, then thought to do a skater. Stacy Peralta did an amazing film that featured him, called Riding Giants—then the Bones Brigade doc… Whatever the reason, it’s an honor. The theme is to show 10 of our Favorite Things. Funny, I’d never thought about it, so as I walked around choosing the stuff I’d grab first if my house caught fire, I realized none of it had anything to do with any kind of award, or really even any real monetary value; rather, nearly all of it is from relationships that have had the most meaning.

This is one of my closest friends, Bret Anthony Johnston. Bret was on his way to turning pro, only broke his foot on tour, so ended up pursuing his writing. Within a matter of years, he became the Director of Creative Writing at Harvard, sharing offices (here) with some of the most influential writers and poets in the world. One of them once alluded to his skating—in light of his success—as “misspent years.” Bret quietly took what was meant as a compliment, yet confided later that it was his skating that created the foundation for his success. To this day, Bret skates religiously at least a few times a week, when he’s not on tour or on one of his hushed, Illuminati-sounding getaways. If you get the chance, check out his book, which is an int’l best seller: Remember Me Like This. We printed special boards to help advertise it, as it has glimpses of his own childhood, skating in Corpus Christi.

A big influence in my life over the last 8 years has been Dr. Randy Hill, who runs a place called the Institute for Creative Technology; much of what they do is to help our troops, both downrange and at home. A particularly well known program of theirs is using VR to help veterans with PTSD. Of the various medals and awards in his office, this shot of his always is most prominent to me. A veteran himself, Randy remains closest to the sacrifices and needs of our soldiers and how that extends through their families, and often follows them home, long after they serve. No greater love than to lay down your life for another; for this and so much more, Thank You to our trips and Veterans.

Allan Adams specializes in particle physics and string theory at MIT, which is only the tip of the iceberg with this guy. Just to listen to Allan speak about anything is fascinating: He finds connections between things that I’d never see otherwise, plus he does it with lightning speed, expressing it in almost a kind of poesy-- all with a kind of lightheartedness and genuine humility. By the time I left, we’d already shaken hands on a couple of ideas, so my guess is we’ll be working together on something in the near future. He has a cool concept of shooting with high speed cameras, which inspires me in a similar way that Dhani and Steven Sebring did. I think it’s the next project I’ll do—already working on tricks for it. Lastly, if you want to view Allen’s courses for free, they’re on iTunes U:

@steven_sebring (to my left) and I were invited to MIT by Jeff Brodie and Betsy Gordon at The Smithsonian to speak about "Liminal". We were flanked by two of MIT’s amazing professors: Allan Adams (left of Steven) is a theoretical physicist; Peko Hosoi (to my right) is a mechanical engineer and fluid mechanics wizard with a special interest in robotics. To speak of innovation in terms of skateboarding through the lens of science & art among such gifted & GOOD people in the most renown technical universality in the world is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had. Incidentally, Peko has a heart of Gold, and to see her light up in front of Christian Hosoi as though long lost cousins was a perfect end to an awesome evening.

Watch the full video for "Liminal" NOW at Directed by @steven_sebring Music by @thenewno2

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