Michael Vine, a Senior Graphic Designer at ChaseDesign, sees the world – and especially urban terrain – through the eyes of a skateboarder. While you or I might see granite steps in terms of architecture or accessibility, Mike sees them as something to ollie. (Personal best: 11 steps, the YMCA, Dayton, Ohio. “I was asked to leave,” he recalls.)

Mike kick-flips off a loading dock circa 1991-92

Mike began skateboarding at the age of 9, after seeing Back to the Future. “With that movie, every kid in America wanted to be Marty McFly.” During summer vacations, he and his friends would skate 10 hours a day, every day.

Mike busts an ollie melancholy down a gap

Today, street skating isn’t merely a sport or a pastime: It’s a lifestyle and a culture, and deck art – creating graphics for the underside of the board – is a big part of it. But like Tibetan Buddhist sand painting, deck art is a perishable art form. Graphics, screenprinted on a wood deck, take a beating from board slides along metal railings and concrete walls or steps. However beautiful the graphic, it’s basically toast after three months of street skating. However, many people collect the decks not for skating, but for their artistic value.

Mike began sketching his own deck designs in high school and continued at Bowling Green State University (where his student ID allowed him to skate the campus without being asked to leave).

More recently, Mike has been creating decks in Photoshop, often incorporating his children’s names and artwork into the designs.

True to the lifestyle, Mike is still skating, but today describes himself as “more earthbound.” And his children must wear helmets and pads.