2017 ICON Award – Jim Phillips

2017 Inductees

Born in San Jose, CA in October 1944, Jim Phillips is a graphic artist best known for his surf and skateboard art. In terms of skateboarding specifically—in addition to hundreds of iconic board/wheel/t-shirt graphics—he is responsible for three of the most recognizable logos ever created within the pastime; the Santa Cruz “Dot” logo (co-created with Jay Shuirman in ’78), the Independent “Maltese Cross” logo (also co-designed by Jay Shuirman in ’78), and of course the “Screaming Hand” (designed by Phillips for Santa Cruz Speed Wheels in ’85).


Even outside of skateboarding, those three logos have become lynchpins of popular culture at large. The Santa Cruz Sentential wrote of the Santa Cruz dot in ’10 that it was, “Probably the most iconic image ever to come out of Santa Cruz County.”

After having his first published work in Surfer Quarterly in the spring issue of 1961 (His famous “Woody” comic was the winner of a surf car cartoon contest), Jim eventually began as art director at Santa Cruz in ’75. On top of the aforementioned logos, over the next three decades Jim designed some of the most recognizable (and top selling) board graphics of all time. From the Roskopp monster series, to Jason Jessee’s Neptune and Sun God, and from Jeff Grosso’s Alice in Wonderland scene to the later versions of the Natas panther—Jim’s incredible attention to detail, neo-psychedelic creativity, and richly detailed style is more or less unmatched to this day. Jim continues making art with an exclusive connection to Santa Cruz/NHS creating special edition decks and many other new products in the skateboard and surfboard markets. He is also currently battling health issues. Get well soon Jim.

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