With Alien Workshop’s comeback in place, the question of Gilbert Crockett, Tyler Bledsoe and Jake Johnson’s board sponsor situation has lingered. Well, it isn’t Fucking Awesome or Hockey, or Krooked, or Polar.
Mother Collective – or m,other – is a new board outfit based of out of Ohio with Crockett, Bledsoe and Johnson riding for the company. It was concieved in June, shortly following the Workshop’s closure.
“We had ideas about doing something straight away but we all needed a sabbatical. Each of us took the summer off to re-group and figure out where we wanted to be. No pressure. We all wanted it to happen organically, if at all. After a few months of talking, everyone was on board with Mother,” says Chad Bowers, the man behind the company and ex-Alien Workshop team manager.
“We started working out specifics, the vibe, graphics… I wanted the team to have a say in their graphics so they sent me drawings, photos, ideas, friends’ work. I fucked with everything over a month or two while getting a small office and warehouse set up with my wife and a couple friends.”
It should be made clear that aside from the people involved and the company’s base of location in Ohio there are no missing links to be drawn between Mother Collective and Alien Workshop. It’s an entirely separate entity and as all three of the riders were pivotal figures in the last days of the Workshop, it will be exciting to see where the brand goes.
The riders are reflected in Mother’s graphics in a personal sense. Jake Johnson’s debut graphic, ‘Catherine.’ features a portrait of his own mum and Gilbert Crockett’s cowboy-themed board, ‘Shitkicker’, is a painting by his close friend, artist and fellow resident of his hometown Richmond, Virginia, Will Gaynor.
“Gilbert, Tyler and Jake are heavily involved in every aspect of the brand from the graphics, future riders, vision, whom we sell to,” says Bowers. And though it would be logical to assume so as the last, unhomer, former Alien Workshop rider, Omar Salazar isn’t involved with Mother. (Or any other board company right now due to currently being side-lined with an injury. But time will tell.)
In regards to the company’s place in today’s industry where the “small brand” currently reigns, “It’s strange because we all look at Mother as this really small thing. But the team and where we come from sort of makes it a little larger than it really is. I guess that’s a good thing,” says Bowers.” I’m the dude behind the scenes who pushes the buttons and brings it all together. We have a small team in Ohio who make everything happen. Without them we’d be treading water.”
Mother Collective will be hitting skate shop walls very soon with Keen taking up distribution duties in the UK. By the time you’ve read this, it shouldn’t be long until you can find yourself further acquainted with the company.
“If people want to know what we’re about, look at the graphics and the skating. Ultimately, we want Mother to be judged on our action, not “being cool”,” concludes Bowers.” Long-term, we want to build a network of skaters, shops, distributors, friends, artists and other brands who want to be involved and contribute. We’re not trying to compete with other brands, that shit’s stupid. I guess, in the end, all of us want to save skateboarding and give a little back.”
[no more corporate blues]
Originally published in Sidewalk Magazine Issue 221 (April/May 2015) under the headline ‘A Generation Of Boys Raised By Women’