Keith Hufnagel was an exceptional person in the world of skateboarding.
Most skaters are lucky to be noted as a crucial component of a particular city or scene. Huf someone stands at the pinnacle of both New York and San Francisco.
Rare is the skater who is still pro at age 26. Huf was pro for Real Skateboards for over 26 years.
Heck, aging skaters are lucky to get a second act working for a retail or shoe brand. Keith founded and became a retail and shoe brand.
Huf didn't survive; he dominated.

In fact, Keith Hufnagel was so great that the mere implication of him doing a trick, sight unseen, made for an all-time print ad. He was a CCS team member and cover holder, one of the hardest working men in skating, and by every account he was a generous, kind person.

CCS 1997 cover with Huf

HUF, Keith's namesake shoe-turned-apparel brand, recently teamed up with British artist-illustrator-toy designer James Jarvis to release a capsule of clothing featuring James' interpretations of some all time classic Huf photographs. CCS is carrying the full line, so we dipped into the original photographs and then reached out to James in his London studio with a few question about the collaboration.


CCS: How did the collaboration come about?

JJ: I’ve been making drawings based on skate photos for several years. The drawings are about the idea of skateboarding. Rather than just copying an image, the drawings are about looking at an image and finding a kind of more basic truth within it… but whatever the reason, people seemed to like them!
I was introduced to the HUF Japan people by my friend Haroshi and they were keen to do something with the drawings. It seemed obvious to use Keith as inspiration.

Huf Brooklyn Banks
The front of the HUF x James Jarvis 'Banks' shirt is inspired by a photograph taken by Adam Wallacavage at the Brooklyn Banks 'Gathering' on April 18th, 1993. Keith is clearing the wall with a varial flip. Footage from this contest (which was more like just a whole lot of skating, tagging, and general mayhem making) can be found in the very first issue of 411.

CCS: Did you ever get to meet Keith Hufnagel?

JJ: I never got to meet Keith, I'm just a fan. There’s a timeless, iconic quality to his style that encapsulates everything great about skating.

CCS: How did you pick the photos to work from?

JJ: I was just looking for images that had that timeless quality. It’s the combination of skateboarder, trick, style, environment and architecture.

HUF x James Jarvis
The back side of the 'Banks' shirt features another photo of Keith clearing the banks wall... by about 3 feet. This photograph by Tobin Yelland is in many way similar to the previous photo with the graffiti and grime and Huf. But is also is a lot more quiet and contemplative. It's just Huf, the wall, and a lot of air.

CCS: You work in a couple different styles and mediums. Why did you go with the hand-drawn sketchy ink style for these?

JJ: I like to think of my hand-drawn stuff as a tool for understanding things in the same way that a skater uses their board to experience and make sense of the space around them.

CCS: Favorite Keith Hufnagel trick or clip or photo?

The kickflip on Black Rock is always the image that comes up when I think of Huf.
Clip wise, skating to Althea and Donna in that FTC video was just a perfect combination. Keith’s style combined with the innocence and joy of the song.

Huf at Blackrock, SF
The HUF x James Jarvis 'Up' shirt features the Black Rock spot in the financial district of San Francisco. Let it be known that Black Rock was a ledge spot. The actual namesake sculpture was just part of the background. That is until Hufnagel went and skated it like a bank with the backside kickflip. Gabe Morford took the photo for a Real ad.

From a Chromeball interview with Huf: "I remember people running up and dropping in on it. But no, not too many people were doing the quick ollie up and then doing tricks. People would skate the rock but it was a bit of a harder thing to do things on because it was so steep. Whenever you ollied onto it, it felt like running into a wall. And it’s slick, too."

CCS: Did you ever shop from the CCS mail order catalog back in the day?

JJ: I remember poring over the board shapes in the old California Cheap Skates ads in Thrasher. It all seemed a very long way from South London in those days.

CCS: What you working on next? Any shout-outs?

JJ: I really need to tidy my work room. Shout out to Keith, Haroshi and Jun.

Hufnagel & Gabe Morford
The final image used for this collab is on the James Jarvis hoodie, long sleeve, and is fridge magnet is from Gabe Morford's showstopping photograph of Huf's dumpster ollie on a makeshift ramp to ramp in some random SF alleyway.

Gabe, speaking to Transworld about this photo: "I think we just wanted to do something different that day. We ended up taking that wood from a construction site and the dumpster just happened to be there in the alley. We pushed it out and put it all together, literally just leaning these planks against the dumpster… I’m not sure I realized how sketchy it was at the time (laughs). We only got to skate it for a little bit because the guy from the construction site saw us somehow and freaked out. I remember him yelling at us and taking the wood back, but we’d already got what we needed."

Huge thanks to James, the folks at HUF, and everyone involved in making these amazing photos and illustrations and apparel items happen.
Make sure to jump on the HUF x James Jarvis collection while the getting is good.

Check out more great stuff on the CCS Instagram page.
You can see more of James Jarvis' awesome artwork on his website and IG account.
And don't forget to get in on the skate action from the HUF team.

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