Jim Phillips Q/A

We caught up with Jim Phillips to talk about his new vinyl collectable figurine, the Screaming Hand.

1. When did you first come up with the Screaming Hand?

Well, the concept came to me in 1985 while I was a freelance artist. I was bored out of my skull in Grade A Graphics waiting for some film work to process…I think I was entertaining myself posing my hand, I held it in a clench, and it looked so expressive…. Artists have always used hands to express emotions, but what if you could express those emotions with a mouth right there on the palm!!! It would just SAY it…. you know… angst. An idea like that can strike instantly, or within maybe two seconds, so at my hourly rate I figure the idea earned me less than half a cent.

2. Where was it first used?

I went back to my home studio and made a pencil sketch… and I thought it would apply to a logo Richard Metiver was looking for, he was running Speed Wheels Santa Cruz back then. It seems that I was always having to sell these designs…like it wasn’t obvious that they ripped. Anyway he used it as the wheels division logo, and to start we made stickers out of them. It’s amazing how the thing endures. It has a life of its own. You can see the original and subsequent versions in my upcoming book Skateboard Art of Jim Phillips due out in September from Schifferbooks.com, who also sell my first book, Surf Skate & Rock Art.

3. How come there’s no Seeing hand, or Smelling hand?

It smells alright!… gore tends to draw flies. And as for seeing, I guess the hand sees with it’s tongue, yeah that’s it, like a snake tongue…..like it plays great pinball with that tongue..

4. With the Wrench Pilot and Toy Machine mascots being made into collectables, and now the Screaming Hand, it seems as though we are in the midst of a trend. Whats the next skate icon youd like to see created in a vinyl figure?

Actually, the Rat Hand and Moon Hand are pending, and the second edition of Screaming Hand is under way which will have reverse red and blue colors. And you know about Screaming Leg from Beams of Japan? As for future characters, you know it’s just like the gold rush, you have to be secretive or someone else will jump your claim. But the ideas are limitless, and I’ve always been one to have a small plastic Felix the Cat and a Mickey Mouse figure around my drawing table to remind me of where all that anthropomorphism came from.

Jim Phillips will be signing posters & decks at the Volcom store in LA on the evening of June 1, at the Volcom store on 126 South La Brea.