Mark "The Gonz" Gonzales Unveils New Krooked x adidas Skateboarding Capsule in Exclusive Interview
Gonz also discusses new tricks, listening to Lorde when he skates, and more.
After a four-year hiatus, Mark “The Gonz” Gonzales returns with a new Krooked x adidas Skateboarding collaboration. The fresh new capsule spotlights one of the skate icon’s earliest graphics, 1988’s “Gonz and Roses” board artwork. The offering includes a classic Superstar Vulc sneaker alongside apparel spanning track jackets, vintage tear-away track pants, a lightweight jersey, a sweat-wicking Climalite T-shirt, a long-sleeve shirt and a reversible bucket hat. All of the pieces are subtly-embellished with Gonz’s coveted graphic.
To commemorate the launch, we sat down with the influential pro skater to discuss details of the new range, his current role in Krooked, riding for VISION, DIY culture and more.
The collection will officially release at specialty adidas retailers and adidas Skateboarding’s website starting April 21.
I never wore a pair of tearaway pants in my life, but I tried them and I was like “cool, no wonder people always talk about these!”
What design details are you excited about in your Krooked x adidas Skateboarding release?
I’m really familiar with the artwork because it was created a long time ago. Mostly, the way the artwork is applied to the shoe and the sweatsuits they made. I got a chance to wear some of the stuff when we were shooting photos. They’re all pretty comfortable.
Have you skated in the shoes or apparel yet?
Yeah, I did! I really like the way the pieces fit. I never wore a pair of tearaway pants in my life, but I tried them and I was like “cool, no wonder people always talk about these!”
Why did you wait four years to do another collab?
For this one, the aesthetic fits what I do. The one four years ago is the black and gold one, Tommy had more to do with that one. I really like those ones. This new collab is totally different, it’s white and baby blue. It’s my palette. adidas has a lot of people they work with and they do collaborations with other skate teams like Magenta or Official or Palace, they’re always working.
VISION allowed me the freedom to make my own artwork on my boards.
Can you tell us the story behind your “Gonz and Roses” artwork?
I made the flowers around the time that Guns N’ Roses were popular. There is only room for a few people to be popular at one time and I think it was like NWA, Guns N’ Roses, and I don’t know who else at the time. VISION allowed me the freedom to make my own artwork on my boards and I just did simple, four-petal flowers. From that graphic, everyone wanted me to use that to do art for them. On the heels of the shoes with the adidas Skateboarding collab with Krooked, one shoe has my Shmoo bird and the other one has the flower.
Was art always your thing when you started VISION?
Yeah, but my taste is really different now. I like Salvador Dali and realism now. I like H.R. Giger and people who made all of the Yes album covers or Journey. I like stuff that looks really fantastic and super realism.
Kids always want to heckle each other over their own DIY designs.
DIY has been a popular trend in fashion, especially footwear. From Virgil Abloh to Joshua Vides, what are your thoughts on this trend?
I like it. The first person that I have actually seen go crazy on the shoes was Natas Kaupas. He had a pair of leather Converses and it was super soft leather. He drew all over his shoes and I was just like “Wow!” It completely blew my mind. I think it’s also funny when kids try to DIY their own stuff, but it’s not anyone famous or anything. Kids always want to heckle each other over their own DIY designs.
For me, the thing to do whenever I was out at night or at shows, I would go to see George Clinton and have him autograph my shoe when I saw him. Or whoever I admired or looked up to, I would always carry paint markers on me and say “Draw on my shoe or write on my shoe.” I think it’s kind of like that right now. If you can get someone to write on your shoe then you can walk around and say “Look who drew on my shoe!”
What’s going on with Krooked right now?
We’re doing the Krooked “Guest Boards.” The first guest board that is radically different from the rest is coming up and I think it’s for Tyshawn Jones. TJ’s board is like a baby Beemer. I was riding this board and it’s like 11-inches wide. It’s a massive board. He got on my board and really skated so well on it. After that, I really wanted to give him a Guest Board with his model and his name on it. I scaled it down a bit so a lot of the younger guys can ride on it and do the tricks they want to do on it. That’s the baby Beemer for TJ and after that, I’m going to go really crazy. It’s a Ruffles potato chip so the board actually has grooves, like a washboard. It’s for Mike Vallely and we’re working on the molds right now.
Too much freedom isn’t a good thing.
What’s your role in Krooked?
To be me. I’m really lucky to do that. I can wake up one morning and say “Oh, I want a tail that’s super flat or light as paper.” If your board is too light it won’t flip right. However, it takes a lot of tests for all these boards to come out how they are right now. I help them out with molds, trucks and even board shapes. With Krooked, I just feel so lucky because I can decide to work on products or my artwork.
How do you balance all of your creative endeavors?
Usually, I get a call from Krooked and they’re like “We need more art,” and I send them art. Like I said before, too much freedom isn’t a good thing. You need a type of guidance or two other eyes. It can’t just be one person in charge because the energy gets directed into one type of goal or one type of message. A lot of the time I would do a barrage with my artwork, loads of color and drawings, and then I would send it to San Francisco. However, they would rearrange it and stuff. It’s not just me that is doing the Krooked stuff. They find stuff from the past and mix it with stuff in the present. We have a good formula.
Are you working on any new tricks?
I want to do this trick that’s called the Woolly Mammoth, I’ve been trying it for a while. Today’s sunny so maybe I’ll try it today.
We went to go see Lorde and it was awesome… I was like one of the dads in the audience or the grandpa.
Can you describe the trick?
Yeah! You do a front side invert to your nose on purpose, like a mess up and then you just pull it in and make it.
Any interesting moments you’ve encountered recently?
We went to go see Lorde and it was awesome. We saw her live in Boston and it was great. My wife was hoping that she would do a Kanye West cover. However, she did a Frank Ocean cover, maybe one of his older songs. I don’t know much Frank Ocean, but I like his new stuff. I was like one of the dads in the audience or the grandpa.
Do you listen to Lorde when you skate?
I do, I also use some of her music when I make videos on my YouTube channel. I’ll just repeat some parts of it.