A few years ago Randy’s girlfriend, Gabrielle, gave me a new Munny vinyl toy and asked if I would paint it for Randy’s birthday. Of course I said that I would. Nevermind the fact that Randy was a seminal figure in the history of rollerblading, Randy and I have had a long and close personal relationship and I was all too happy to paint something for a friend. So, I put the Munny in my closet where it sat for the next three years.
A couple of months ago Gabrielle mentioned to me that Randy’s 30th (!!) birthday was coming up. She was trying to get ideas for the party. As soon as I heard it I knew I had to finish Randy’s Munny before his birthday. About a week before the birthday dinner was scheduled (and about three years after I first received the toy!) I finally pulled out the Munny and got to painting.
My relationship with Randy has spanned many years and many different incarnations. The early years were well documented. It was the mid-nineties and rollerblading was booming. I was at Senate and Brian Konoske introduced us to a young skating phenom from his neighborhood named Randy Spizer. By the time we met Randy he had already been nicknamed Roadhouse by the local skateboarders. Randy was an extremely excitable young boy with amazing talent and great style. He was very marketable and at Senate we were very good at marketing. Randy became the face of the sport and one of the first super stars. I have always said that Randy was the first modern rollerblader. The rest of us, from the generation that came before Randy, all came from other sports. Randy was the first pure-bred rollerblader.
Years after Senate Randy would be the one to tell me about a job opening at Paul Frank, where he was already working as a a web animator. I applied for the open position as a designer, my first job outside of rollerblading, and got it. Randy and I worked together for about a year at Paul Frank before the company “downsized” and laid everybody off. My time at Paul Frank was invaluable and gave me a lot of confidence as a designer. It was important to learn that my work had value outside of rollerblading, removed from the cult of my personality.
So I paid homage to our time at Paul Frank by giving the Munny a Julius-esque face. Of course I also gave the Munny a pair of anti-rockered rollerblades, since without rollerblading there would be no Randy or Arlo.
Perhaps the most iconic image of Randy from his prime would be a young Roadhouse in a backwards baseball cap performing a royale or a grabbed backslide, so I included the cap, but I updated it to a GOST cap.
I gave the monkey a broken heart tattoo on one arm that says, “Bercy,” which refers to a contest that used to be held in a stadium every year in France. Randy and I used to travel together a lot, since we both rode for Roces and Senate. Bercy would have been one of our first international trips together. I punched Randy on that trip and it really upset him. I thought I was messing around, but I was much older than him and he was really hurt by it.
He’s in underwear, just because it is funnier, or at least more interesting and I’d just made the mural at Woodward West with a giant pair or whitie-tighties, so it may have still been on the brain. Also the pants are sagging because, well, duh!
Finally, I decided to paint a whole different face on the back of the head to give it even more interest. Since the head swivels around 360 degrees, you can switch from one face to the other.
The other face was inspired by the young Roadhouse with long bangs parted to the side and an inexhaustible smile.
The headphones and the slogan on the wife beater are artistic adaptations. Of course “More War!” is an expression that has appeared in a lot of my work.
After three years I was finally ready to present Randy with his Munny.
Saturday night was Randy’s dinner birthday at Memphis in Downtown Santa Ana. We started out with about fifteen for dinner and throughout the night many more joined us for drinks and revelry. It was like a who’s who from rollerblading’s history, past and present. Chris Garrett and Dave Paine were there. And Sayer and Jess D. And Kevin Gillan and JC Rowe.
Matt Moya, Jon Julio, Chris Haffey and Aaron Feinberg.
BK and Broski.
And some drunk couple that wandered in off the street. This is the guy bending the chick over a chair while they were “dancing.”
Happy birthday, Randy!
You are a true legend and friend. And not necessarily in that order.