Art / Design / Photo

SPECIAL CRUD Contest: Todd Francis Original Painting


To say thanks for all the support during the launch of SPECIAL CRUD, its time for a contest.  The winner gets this signed original 5.5″ x 8.5″ lovable pigeon painting, (yes its true!) by Todd Francis.

Here’s how it’s done: Order a SPECIAL CRUD tee at Equal Dist and you’re automatically entered.  Another way to enter is to tag #specialcrud on a photo showing someone who’d look good in a Special Crud tee on Instagram.  Basically, we encourage you to have some fun with this and to not turn this into a selfie shooting spree.  And if you’ve already bought a tee, you’re automatically entered too!

We’ll be announcing the winner @toddfrancisart and @equaldist next Tuesday, Feb 11th.  Thanks to everyone for getting behind SPECIAL CRUD…lots more to come in the future from everyone’s favorite diseased pigeon.

Painting Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″

Cuatro Sueños Pequeños


Artist/Filmmaker Thomas Campbell is a personal favorite of mine and I’m super excited to check out his latest film, Cuatro Sueños Pequeños, which is now available for pre-order and features the stylish skateboarding of Javier Mendizabal and Madars Apse.  Visually, it looks amazing and pretty surreal. Peep the trailer above and pre-order the special DVD/Book here.

About the film (taken from Um Yeah Arts):

UM YEAH FILMS Presents – “Cuatro Sueños Pequeños” (four small dreams) – A skate film – Visual Audio Experiment by Thomas Campbell. This 23 minute movie was shot entirely on 16mm film in a dream scene scenario that blends reality, surreality and a skate adventure starring Javier Mendizabal and Madars Apse. This film captures Javier Brushing his teeth,slobbering on his pillow, bedding down with a beautiful brunette. Also Javi running into Madars Apse in his dream, they skate over volcano’s,thru the woods and into cities of Spain,The Canary Islands,Mallorca,The Basque country and California.This film has a completely original soundtrack by the critically acclaimed Basque super group “Chiwoks”.And besides the usual unusual camera perspectives you expect from a Thomas Campbell film. French Fred is also is on board Lending his iconic visual wizardry to this cauldron of the bizarre, beauty and gnar. read more »

3 Movies for the Deep Freeze


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.

Todd Francis: A Year In Decks…


Todd Francis‘ upcoming new book, “Look Away, The Art of Todd Francis” will be out early 2014 and was completed at the very beginning of 2013.  It’ll be the first book spanning Todd’s entire career from DLX to SPECIAL CRUD.

Todd’s a busy guy and this year alone, he created these graphics below for skateboarders that just missed entry into his book. Thanks, man… nice work!

Happy 2014, ya’ll! – Equal Dist

He also made this hand-painted deck below (sample pig-shape made by Yuta Koide/Shakastics for the Solitary Arts/Equal Dist), which raised $400, benefiting his daughters softball team earlier in 2013.

Todd Francis x Monster Children


…I’ve caught a whole raft of shit for my suicide-themed holiday ornaments, but the perverse editors of Monster Children mag liked them enough to have me replicate the theme for their mag’s home page. Thanks, @monsterchildren @equaldist – Todd Francis 

Andy Jenkins Art Sale

Girl skateboards renown art director Andy Jenkins is having a special sale on some sick prints and original art pieces –  don’t sleep on this one kids.


Lenz 2 Los Angeles Premiere


4 years ago, the skateboard scene in Japan received an inspiring depiction in the cult skate video aptly titled LENZ. As the world has continued to get smaller and skateboarders have united even more, Shinpei Ueno & Evisen Skateboards teamed up to produce the sequel: one of the most unique & culturally rich skateboard films to date. Featuring over 180 skateboarders, LENZ II highlights skateboarding in Japan, France, and New York City to show that skateboarding flourishes best when allowed to mutate and adapt to the diversity of global terrain. This video proves that although styles may differ internationally, creativity and expression are fundamental to skateboarding.

PERMANENT is proud to host the Public U.S. Premiere of this special film. The premiere is 1 night only, and will be held at the Cha Cha Lounge at 2375 Glendale Boulevard in Los Angeles, California on the evening of Thursday December 12, 2013. While RSVPing isn’t required, arriving early with an RSVP is the only way to guarantee entry if the venue fills. You can do so at:

The event is sponsored by Permanent Distribution, Evisen Skateboards, Broadcast Wheels, and Modus Bearings.