"It was sometime in 2002, I was busy producing art and skateboarding films. I had just finished a unique skateboard lifestyle film, called “DAZE IN THE LIFE“. In that film I edited a part featuring Eric Dressen skateboarding. The segment follows him to a late night tattoo spot in Los Angeles, where he gets a calf piece by Clay Decker. The films chapter was well received. The details of the tattoo process were visually exposed through the artist’s eye without losing the cultural integrity.
One day not too long after, a dvd sales manager named Tom Allen, approached me to create a tattoo-inspired movie with skateboarding. Kind of like what I did in “DAZE IN THE LIFE”, but full-length. He worked for a distributor that carried my film.
It was pretty much a no brainer. I grew up in the era that dawned the birth of this fusion before anything like that was considered cool at school. You were pretty much a fool. It was taboo in the 1970’s -mid 1980’s for surfers or skateboarders to sport big tatt’s. An outlaw’s detail, if you will.
Tough people had tattoos, back then. People kicking the shit out of other people, shooting them with guns, over tattoos. I’d seen a few things “Pop-Off” while growing up in Los Angeles, as an artist that skateboards and surfs. Expressionist perspectives became clear on the streets. These sub-cultures, along with the music, naturally merged and eventually influenced the way of the lifestyles. Art and sport, a hybrid culture bound only by the limits of the individual’s imagination. All it’s own. Filled with rich and colorful characters.
Originally, I wanted to name the project, “Scarred For Life”. But, a skateboard book already had this title. That’s when Tom offered up the title “Skinned Alive”. Now, there was an older B-type horror movie with the same title. But this project was completely different. It was a documentary based on reality. Professional skateboarding and tattooing unveiled !
All I know is, that if I were committed to diving into these 2 highly respected and diverse lifestyles, I did NOT want to BULLSHIT ! That was my job as a filmmaker.
Bring out the grit and the gristle. The love and the passion that came along with those that pioneered it. It had to star those that were at the forefront of this revolution. This project would not be done without Art and Steve Godoy in it, period.
They are the catalyst in the stories and godfathers to it’s bastard style. Fred Smith, a partner in crime, with their disciples Jason Jessee and Bill Danforth. We needed to feature some of the O.G.’s like Mark Mahoney, Danny Romo and Tim Hendricks, who’ve been slinging the ink to these guys. And those Pro’s that were influenced soon after, Eric Dressen, Jesse Martinez, Neil Heddings and Kyle Yanagimoto.
What “SKINNED ALIVE” did NOT need to be was the saturated and imitated aftermath of mainstream fashion. This was the moment I realized I had to make this film before someone else made it with the wrong people in it. Authenticity is a natural and essential quality in good documentary films. Something that translates with the subject’s in this film. If anyone has the jurisdiction to discuss and educate us about the history and interrelationships of these professional lifestyles, it’s this cast.
They are legend, the footage is classic and the interviews are candid. The editing is colorful and the actions very real. It is a quintessential, first and definitive film of its kind. Check it out ! You won’t be disappointed."
-- Bart Saric 01/11/12