If you ride a skateboard and have any intelligent awareness of what is happening within the social media outlets of skateboarding, you have definitely seen, related, and laughed to these illustrations by the brilliant Henry Jones. We set Henry apart from any competitors because his work is hysterically honest, highlighting thoughts and feelings that most skateboarders have experienced and related to before. His illustrations usually showcase an average looking character holding, riding, or talking to a skateboard about his feelings. The witty facial expressions and expressive body language on these characters portray ease, and almost shyness, even though the messages they send are very hard hitting, sad, and sometimes angry. Jones emphasizes views on society, father figures, and existential conformity—all things most skateboarders arise from. Although Henry's illustrations are very minimalistic, the verbal messages he pairs them with are often very loud and impacting. His work gives a voice to many skateboarders and the powerful shit that they go through, and I think that's what makes his work important.
Henry is based out West Chester, Pennsylvania and is currently employed at Fairman's skate shop (the longest locally owned skate shop running out of PA). He has work featured all over the place, the first time I saw his work it was on Jenkem mag. And not to mention he has a crazy amount of devoted followers on his Instagram account who share, like, and comment on his unique, yet relatable posts all the time. Some of them have even gotten his work tattooed on themselves. But aside from all that, we wanted to focus on some of his concepts behind particular hard hitting illustrations, his creative process, and just his two cents on the industry and what it has become.
Henry had a chance to answer a few quick questions we had for him, you can check out his work on his etsy page:https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/HenryJonesArt or on his instagram account: instagram.com/henry_jones
What city are you based out of and do you feel that this environment has an effect on your work?
I live in West Chester, PA. I don’t really think the location necessarily influences my art but definitely the people around here do.
A recurring theme in your illustrations is a dysfunctional relationship between father and son. Does the inspiration of this come from something you’ve experienced personally?
Hahah no way, my dad rules. My parents have always been super supportive of me skating. The one that says “fuck you dad” is really just my take on the cliché of the rebellious teenager connotation that seems to fall on skateboarders.
In one of your drawings, you illustrate a type of redneck cheering on Nyjah Houston with the caption “The future of arena skateboarding”. Can you explain further what path you think skateboarding is headed down?
That drawing is pretty much just a reference to street league, which is something that I don’t really think shows what skateboarding actually is and it kind of disappoints me that it gets broadcast on like EPSN for everyone to watch and the wrong idea of skateboarding. Just seems like a huge step towards more corporate involvement in skateboarding. I don’t really know shit though so I can’t say too much about that.
Would you ever do a collab? If so, who would you want to join forces with?
I’d definitely do some collabs in the future. I do a lot of the art for Terror of Planet X that my friend Angel Acevedo and I started. I guess when it is something I’m looking to do I’ll kind of just take it as it comes. I don’t really have to many goals for collaborations.
Where would you like to see your illustrations in the future?
I’m working on making T-shirts with some of my doodles on them, maybe boards eventually but that’s not really something I can see right now.