Ok so I’ve written briefly about Ray Barbee before and here’s why. He is absolutely one of my all time favorite people. I don’t really fan out over anyone (except maybe Gonz). I am however more likely to get riled up like JoJo the Idiot Circus Boy when I come across someone like Ray, than say …(insert random Us Weekly celeb here). Ray Barbee began to influence my skating back in the Public Domain days. To see someone my age, with similar style, skating street, keeping it fluid, and basically stringing together trick after trick…was mind blowing. I followed Ray through the years, and always admired the way he was true to himself, and the way that he grew as a person. For those that don’t know, music and photography are very important to him as well. Ray is a positive person with an incredible outlook on the world. Often in skating the people that get press and highlights are the complete piles of shit. We all love a comeback story, but it just seems like the glamorizing of self destructive behavior is so rampant in our world.
I’m all for bucking the norm, and punk rock ideals influenced me tremendously in my life as well. I don’t think you need to be a lazy, negative, gutterpunk to carve your own DIY path though. You can be a responsible father and husband. You can save your money. You can live in moderation. You can be an educated postmodernist. You can be an artist. You can think for yourself…. Too many good people in the world of skating have been lost to apathy, drug use, and lack of forward thinking. Sometimes when you throw tons of money at 15 year old kids (that have had little guidance in general) this type of thing can happen. We all have free will though, and we all truly care about skateboarding. People like Ray Barbee should be highlighted more often. Take a look at Chris Nieratko’s newest Adventures With Chris, check out Ray’s Independent At Home, and watch the all too short Epicly Later’d. For the young skaters out there please just think for yourself, don’t be a pile of shit, and keep doing what you love. Thanks Ray.
photo courtesy of stussy.com