Personally, having lived in several rat and roach infested rooms, crime ridden neighborhoods, and all the other ghetto shit you can think of, I relate to the things this skate team portray on their graphic tees, decks, etc. Public Housing or Section 8 or the projects or barrios or ghettos, whatever you wanna call it; housing for people with low income.
The two founders Ron Baker and Vlad Gomez bring very real experiences of living in those conditions to life with PHST. Nothing these two create is without intention. First, their logo that consists of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) emblem with a reticle right on top of it. Vlad says in a Milk.xyz Interview,
“Looking outside is our mood board, so it came from minorities being targeted by the police and government. There’s a lot of negativity in our neighborhood, but I try to make the negatives positive. In our first video “Thug” I transformed a gun into a board. The skateboard is our weapon, and we use the board to destroy government property and stuff like that. That’s the point of using the target over the government logo for the New York City Housing Authority.”
They’ve dropped a logo tee with a ghetto bird flashing its light, something very familiar to some of us almost like background noise; the sirens in the distance and helicopters flying low over the neighborhood looking for its suspect. The “code of the streets” grip tape that shows the chalk out of a victim in a crime scene, pretty self explanatory. One of my favorites is the roach traps they dropped with the PHST logo on it, I thought that was hard. Walking into a dark room turning the light on and watching the roaches scatter before you can stomp them all out, hate that shit. I can go on but you can go check out their other graphics and videos parts they’ve made, all with their own messages embedded in them.
From what I read they grew up playing basketball and were pretty good but decided to stray away from the stereotype and started to skate. It was hard getting sponsorships in the Bronx, no one really skated. So they started their own shit. Who better to rep where you’re from? Two young black kids skateboarding.
When I think NYC, I think gutter, raw, and grimey. They’re able to capture that effortlessly with their art. They’re the embodiment of it. A lot of people from the outside try and take from skate/street culture and resell it back to the people that are really from it. Some can market it well and people eat it up but you can always tell when it’s coming from an authentic place. Something Ron said in another interview with CulturedMag that really fucking stuck with me was,
“The guy on the corner is our biggest inspiration and he doesn’t even know it,” Ron says. “He’s wearing what he’s wearing because he needs to be outside for twenty hours selling drugs, but his style will end up on someone’s mood board in Paris.” He names an enduring phenomenon that has only become increasingly obvious in the past thirty years: the transformation of formerly hyperlocal cultures and underground creative movements into a global mainstream.”
They give the the kids in their hood something to look forward to. Come from nothing and making something; I think that’s pretty fucking dope.
some skate clips
THUG – https://youtu.be/YPEJ5M8Bpdc
Layway – https://youtu.be/UJwlelLU4-0
CCTV – https://youtu.be/NeUN1b1bpBk