John Cardiel Interview | ParadeWorld

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John Cardiel Interview

The release of Skin Phillips latest work.

John Cardiel Interview
Posted by Neil Chester5 min read
Friday, April 26, 2019

Having recently introduced the work of Skin Phillips to Parade with limited prints of Mark Gonzales and Josh Kalis, we’re excited to offer this incredible portrait of John Cardiel. John needs no introduction, his involvement and what he created in skateboarding will forever be in the hearts and minds of every true skateboarder out there.

Simple and elegant in its composition, the print documents John as one of the most pioneering spirits to grace skateboarding, now representing so much more than its original intent. Skateboarding was lucky to find John Cardiel, and we’ve all benefitted from it.

Skin first met John in the early nineties and the two shot many photographs together over the years. This portrait was created in John’s backyard, in his hometown of Sacramento, California in 2012. It was shot for the 30th anniversary of TransWorld Skateboarding Magazine, of which Skin was Editor-at-Large at the time. This issue named John as the 11th most influential skateboarder of all time.

John Cardiel Skin article 1

We recently caught up with John to ask him a few questions about shooting the photo with Skin and his general outlook on skate photography.    

PARADE - When did you first meet Skin and shoot your first photo with him? Did you shoot many skate photos before this portrait?

JOHN - I first met Skin in July, 1992 and we embarked on a UK tour with Karma Tsocheff, Alan Peterson, Salman Agah, Mark Gonzales and Ron Chattman. Skin and I have shot many photos previous to this shot. He is a great golfer and photographer, I can really appreciate that!

How did the bow and arrow come about for the photo?  

I have a practice target set-up in my little backyard with a hay bail and knowing of his golf expertise I wanted to show him the bow and arrow because it is a similar approach of aiming and hitting. He had his camera and naturally took the photo, which was super organic because we had already finished shooting the portrait photo.

When it comes to skate photography, do you have any images that have always been etched into your brain or maybe you even have hanging on your wall at home?

There are so many photos that jump in my brain daily I can’t pick just one, it’s always different moods.

There was a photo in the last Thrasher of Hermann Stene back tailing the Cardiel ledge on California St that you nose slid in 1993, you must trip that this is 25 years later?

Yes 100%, but as a skater, I am happy to see the progression and my only wish is that I didn’t get a backside tailslide on it before he did, (laughs)

John Cardiel Skin article 2 Photo: Bryce Kanights / Thrasher

Of all the photographs you shot over the years, do you have a particular favourite?

Not necessarily, each and every photo has a different vibe and a different signature of the times. There is one photo in RAD magazine, that I think Skin shot, which I was really happy about. It was at Livingston, a backside air I think. I remember loving that skate park so much and I was so stoked to be able to skate it with my favourite skateboarders.

John Cardiel Skin article 3 Livingstone, 1992. Photo: Skin Phillips / Read and Destroy

With magazines such as Transworld switching to digital only and the demise of print media in general, do you think Instagram or online is the best place to see new photography or new skateboard tricks?

No, I truly believe print is something to be revered, because to see a tangible statement like that backside tailslide on that California Street ledge when it’s on paper is like it is truly documented, but in the digital realm, it just kind of goes in one eye and out the other.

What’s going on of late for you, still cycling and DJ’ing a bunch?

Yes, just trying to keep my body moving as much as possible, trying to emulate skateboarding with snowboarding and bicycling and keeping my brain tuned up with good reggae music!

John Cardiel shot by Skin Phillips, 2012. Buy the exclusive print on

Explore exclusive photography prints by Skin Phillips, including the above John Cardiel portrait.

Thanks to RaD archive.

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