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Mike V Creates By The Sword Skateboards with JRF

July 20, 2010 4 min read


Legendary professional skateboarder, Mike Vallely has created a new, independent skateboard company, By The Sword Skateboards. Vallely has partnered with artist and long-time skateboarder, Jason Filipow (JRF), who will serve as Creative Director for this start-up brand. The two have worked together on a number of projects in the past, but this is the first time Vallely and Filipow have combined their collective talents and passions for skateboarding.

As a co-sponsor of Vallely's upcoming 'Glory Bound Tour', By The Sword Skateboards is debuting their first product offering, a deck entitled "DIY or DIE".  The graphic, designed by Filipow, speaks to the inspiring and empowering abilities of authentic, do-it-yourself initiative. The boards feature a bold, three-color graphic, which have been manufactured and screenprinted in the USA. The "DIY or DIE" board will be ridden by Vallely during the tour and will be available for purchase at each of the tour stops.

The 'Glory Bound Tour', which is also sponsored by Good Fight Entertainment, Landshark Wheels, Fuel TV and, features Vallely skateboarding alongside Duane Peters, Bill Danforth, Kristian Svitak and Cyril Jackson. It is scheduled to make more than 25 stops at skateparks across the United States from July 18, 2010 through August 18, 2010.

Mike Vallely, also known as Mike V, has been an active and relevant professional skateboarder since 1987. He has played a defining role in the evolution of street skating, skateboard tricks, shapes and graphics. He has traveled the world as an ambassador for skateboarding, asserting the authenticity of skateboarding as a creative pursuit and a form of self expression. He sees this new brand as an extension of his work as a professional skater.

Vallely states, "The DIY spirit that has driven me as a skateboarder and as a professional skater hasn't always lined up through the years with the reality of who my sponsors happen to be. It's always been something that has weighed heavily on my mind. My own independence in skateboarding has been crippled at times by the demands and whims of my sponsors. I'm just not interested in that game anymore. It's simply time for me to put my money where my mouth is and to truly do my own thing."

"Once I decided I had to do this brand, and that I had to do it independently, it was important for me to find the right artist and designer to help shape this vision. I had to look no further than Jason Filipow."

"Through my years of knowing and working with Jason, he and I have really connected. In many ways, By The Sword is just an actualization of the conversations Jason and I have had about skateboarding and how much we love and value it. To us, skateboarding is still a sacred, ritual act. We want our products to speak of and represent these ideals."

Jason Filipow, also known as JRF, has been an underground creative force within the art and design world for many years. With a long history of involvement in creative pursuits, Filipow began designing and making his own stickers, t-shirts, stencils and 'zines as early as 1985. A passionate and dedicated skateboarder himself, Filipow  has followed Vallely's career from the moment Vallely burst onto the scene by appearing on the August 1986 cover of Thrasher Magazine.

Filipow recalls, "When Mike appeared on the cover of Thrasher, I identified with him immediately. Here was a fellow East Coast kid, who was boldly pioneering his own type of skating; one that didn't rely upon the inaccessible, and sometimes nonexistent, terrain of backyard ramps and pools. His skating thrived within the sprawling, suburban wasteland of shopping mall parking lots, curbs and walls so familiar to the skateboarders outside of California."

As Creative Director, Filipow employs a variety of aesthetics and techniques to help bring the brand to life visually. The "DIY or DIE" deck is his first completely independent, and widely-distributed, skateboard design. He states, "Skateboard graphics are such a crucial ingredient to the act of skateboarding. They must possess that unique visual and visceral punch that gets you stoked and begs to be sessioned."

"Working together with Mike to forge the foundation of By The Sword has been an amazing experience. Starting it completely on our own has been challenging, but the reward of retaining complete creative control makes it all worthwhile. We have the freedom to guide our brand and our products in any direction we wish. It's that kind of freedom that really speaks to the spirit of skateboarding."

Since 2004, Filipow has lived and worked in Los Angeles, balancing a workload of commercial design and fine art. As former Creative at Studio Number One, Filipow's client list included Honda, Adidas, Nike/Air Jordan, Fox Pictures, Swindle Magazine, Obey Clothing, Independent Film Channel, Dangerbird Records and Fender Guitars Custom Shop.

Currently working as a freelance designer, Filipow has most recently worked with House Industries, Six Stair Productions, Royal Elastics, Obey Giant Art, Poster Child Prints and Hurley International.


For more information on By The Sword, visit them online at

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