Mike Vallely Leaves Longtime Sponsor to Start Own Company
|Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly|
|Mike Vallely at the Musink Tattoo and Music Festival at the OC Fairgrounds, Feb. 20, 2010.|
Vallely's new company By the Sword is a partnership with skater and artist Jason Filipow (Obey, Nike, Hurley). Filipow, aka JRF, previously designed the cover art and logo for Vallely's punk rock band Revolution Mother, creating custom denim jackets for the band and other projects. He also created a slew of collectible one-off, silk-screened skateboards, posters and T-shirts for the band's one night tribute to Black Flag at the 2Headed Horse in Echo Park recently.
"It was just a celebration of skateboarding and some of the creative pursuits related to that culture," JRF told OC Weekly.
JRF designed the graphics for the Los Angeles-based company's first product, the "DIY or Die" deck--fitting since Vallely is backing the venture completely on his own dime. Products to come will include more decks, apparel, screenprinted posters and 'zines, JRF said.
To launch the new company, Vallely hit Joker's Skate Shop in Huntington Beach in early July, followed by a pool session to show off By the Sword's new DIY or Die deck.
"The DIY spirit that has driven me as a skateboarder and as a professional skater hasn't always lined up through the years with the reality of who my sponsors happen to be," Vallely said in a press release about his departure from Element. "It's always been something that has weighed heavily on my mind," Vallely said. "My own independence in skateboarding has been crippled at times by the demands and whims of my sponsors. I'm just not interested in that game anymore. It's simply time for me to put my money where my mouth is and to truly do my own thing."
Never one to pussyfoot into a new venture, the New Jersey transplant also joined forces with team rider and Landshark Wheels owner Kristian Svitak and Beercity Mike of Beer City Skateboards to create a new distribution company, Regulator Distribution. The company carries 1031 Skateboards, By the Sword, Landshark, Beer City Skateboards and Records, and D.R.I. Records and merch.
Known as one of the first street skaters--he started out on Powell Peralta and graduated to become on of the original Bones Brigade members (remember searching for Animal Chin?)--Vallely outlasted many of his Thrasher contemporaries.
Vallely's Web site has a "Mike V is Everywhere" section, and for good reason. He's been a human canvas for LA Ink maven Kat Von D, landed roles in the movies The Hangover and Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and filmed his own Fuel TV reality show called Drive.