J. Namdev Hardisty's Blog

About J. Namdev Hardisty:
J. Namdev Hardisty did what every child of 80's skateboarding and 90's hardcore does- he became a graphic designer, writer and entrepreneur. He’s a partner in The MVA Studio, a hybrid design/marketing agency and teaches at Minneapolis College of Art & Design. In addition to blogging at Permanent, he also writes at the-mva.com/blog and earlyambient.com. Namdev also has some kind of marketing role at Permanent and so he will try to be very transparent in his promotion of Permanent’s brands and riders.

3 Movies for the Deep Freeze

by / Published on January 5th 2014


It is currently -6° F in Minneapolis right now and going to hit -26° by midnight (-50 windchill. Which begs the question: why do I live here?). School is cancelled tomorrow and I suspect a lot of offices will be closed.

I recently spent a Sunday watching art and design documentaries and thought all my snow- and cold-bound people might might dig ’em. A much better way to kill an afternoon than frostbite. Here’s what I watched:

Gerhard Richter Painting

(2011, 87 minutes)

I have been evangelizing this movie hard since watching it. Even if you’re not a fan of the German master’s work you need to check it out for a visual blueprint of how to be a professional. Richter was 78 when this was made and a couple of things are clear: he works harder than you, he takes his work more seriously than you do, and he understands that the point of a livelihood is to do the work for its own sake not for fame or money.

The movie is shot as Richter battles a handful of large abstract canvasses for an upcoming show and its a special experience to watch his methodical and patient approach to painting.

I was inspired to write this  after viewing.

Watch online: Netflix

Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect & The Painter

(2011, 85 minutes)

The Eames are like air. Or Picasso. Its easy to forget just how much they did and achieved because you take them for granted (or I do, at least). This American Masters documentary paints a broad picture of how they worked, the attribution and credit controversies, and their personal issues (without scandalizing). Watch this and see if you’re not immediately thinking about making a movie from some random stuff in your house.

Watch online: PBS.

How To Make A Book With Steidl

(2010, 88 minutes)

A fascinating look at the life and times of Gerhard Steidl, the man behind German photo-book publisher Steidl. He’s a manic ball of energy and the filmmakers follow him around the globe for proofing and check-ins with Ed Ruscha, Jeff Wall, Helmut Lang, Robert Frank and others. Actually, that sounds sexier than it is. Steidl hates travel but believes in face-to-face communication so he packs multiple bi-coastal meetings into a weekend so he can be back in Germany for months straight.

It can seem like he does everything the hard way but Steidl is one of the most successful art book publishers in the world and provides a lesson worth remembering—pursue projects you believe in and do them right. Not conveniently, not cost-efficiently but right. Watching this movie I was reminded of Ian Mackaye and Dischord Records—the counter-intuitive and the difficult are often rewarded by markets.

Make sure you watch the bonus footage for a discussion of my favorite typeface of all time—Akzidenz Grotesk and a very transparent interview about the publishing industry.

Watch online: Netflix


If you’ve got any good recommendations for art documentaries, leave them in the comments.

Namdev Hardisty is designer, educator, writer and co-founder of The MVA Studio in Minneapolis.

The Panoramic Series: Berlin with Jan Kliewer

by / Published on December 19th 2013

Panoramic Screengrab

Phil Evans returns with the 3rd installment of The Panoramic Series. Beautiful filming and edit, Jan Kliewer’s smooth skating, and the sights of Berlin.

Watch below:

If you haven’t seen the previous installments, check out London with Nick Jensen and Stockholm with Daniel Gronwall.


Modus Bearings “Portfolio” edit

by / Published on November 12th 2013

John Rattray

One of the pleasant surprises of the last few weeks has been this edit from Modus featuring the whole team. Opens with a homage to the dearly departed Lewis Marnell and features footage from the ridiculous line-up of Tommy Fynn, Chewy Cannon, Jake Duncombe, Andrew Brophy, Dennis Durrant, Alex Campbell, John Rattray, Harry Clark, Kieran Reilly, Sylvain Tognelli, Alex Lawton, Sammy Winter, Grant Taylor, Nick Boserio, and Dane Burman. There’s too much good stuff in here to bother calling out any highlights but then again there’s a couple of John Rattray clips at 2:45 so you can’t be blamed for jumping there first.

An introduction to Namdev Hardisty

by / Published on November 6th 2013

I figured it’d be a good idea to introduce myself before I start posting. Eestablish some context, nahmean? Then I realized I didn’t want to write a whole bunch of stuff about myself so I borrowed the questionnaire from Skateboarder’s Tuesday 25 feature and made some minor edits. Hopefully this makes me sound less self-important.—Namdev Hardisty

  1. Go-to-trick: Flatground no-comply.
  2. Warm up spot: Wherever it is that I happen to have a half-hour to push around.
  3.  Current Location: Minneapolis MN.
  4. Place to travel to: NYC, Rhode Island.
  5. Things you do when not skating: I’m a partner in The MVA Studio, a hybrid design/marketing company—we design books, create brands, make illustrations, and work on marketing strategies*; I teach design at Minneapolis College of Art & Design; I write books on visual culture including New Skateboards Graphics.
  6. Video parts of all time: Mike Carroll, Questionable; Marc Johnson, Yeah Right, Fully Flared; Dylan Rieder, Gravis part; and hundreds more.
  7. Music: Gunplay, Unwound, Regulator Watts, Threadbare, Dipset, Converge, Drug Church, Self Defense Family, Abilene
  8. Board Graphic: Rasa Libre “Space Oddity” series by Michael Leon; Per Welinder, Viking Skull street size
  9. Next travel destination: No plans.
  10. Favorite Skateboarder record cover: Unwound Repetition; Hoover The Lurid Traversal of Route 7; Fugazi Red Medicine & In On The Kill Taker; Joy Division Unknown Pleasures; Supersilent 1–3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11; Drug Church Paul Walker
  11. Movie quote: Quint’s monologue in Jaws
  12. Favorite skate photo: Hensley’s ollie on the highway overpass; Natas Kaupas’ original trick tip for the No Comply in Transworld; Gonz sequence of a nose pick 540 shuv-it out at EMB in Thrasher in the 80s
  13. Filming Writing for: Ideas. Objects. Images.—The MVA Studio blog, Early Ambient, Mike Burrill’s Village Psychic site(not live yet); working on a bunch of book proposals
  14. Guilty pleasure: I don’t believe in them. Maybe I should feel guilty about how much I love NWA’s Efil4zaggin but I don’t
  15. Books: William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch; Seth Godin, Linchpin; Jay Baer, Youtility; 37signals, Getting Real; Stieg Larssen, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; Tom Peters, The Little Big Things, Anthony Robbins, Unleash The Giant Within; Geshe Michael Roche, The Diamond Cutter; Emil Ruder. Typographie: A Manual of Design
  16. Favorite youtube video: Self Defense Family on The Nature of Being Offended; Lungfish, Live in Baltimore, 1998
  17. Movie: Currently, Death Wish, Whoopi Goldberg 80s action-comedies, Die Hard.
  18. Current skate trend: The anti-hammers of Magenta
  19. Partner in crime: My wife and business partner Kim Whaley, my new business partner Zach Keenan, and my daughter
  20. Things you wish you could get for free: airfare, books, records, coffee
  21. Worst/best question to be asked at a demo in class: Worst: Can I do [insert something the student would rather do] instead? / Best: If I do extra work will you look at it?
  22. Beverage: Starbucks grande Pike with 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and some cinnamon
  23. Pro when you were a kid: Gonz, Steve Rocco, Kris Markovich, Mike Carroll, Danny Way, Natas, Vallely, Ray Barbee
  24. Website (non-skate): Learn Self Defense, Daring Fireball, BlogcastFM
  25. Best trip in recent memory/ever: Walking to the coffee shop this morning with my dog was pretty great. Generated a lot of good ideas.

Yeah, so hello. My plans are to post in a few areas: dope things that are going on and projects related to Permanent’s brands (*Permanent is a client of The MVA and we help with social media stuff as well as marketing strategy).