Cat Wall is difficult to Google. She is a Melbourne-based artist and copywriter. Born and bred in the world’s most isolated city, she made the East coast shuffle in late-2012, where she kicked off on her current path – a career that, much like the girl herself, can be described as short, creative and somewhat overwhelming. Cat’s illustration work ranges from intricate hand-drawn ink work to digital illustration and hand-painted murals. In her spare time she listens to soft folk covers of Miley Cyrus songs and adds to her list of potential names for dogs she is yet to own.
Damo: What’s your first memory of the Screaming Hand?
Cat Wall: The Screaming Hand is older than I am, but I grew up with two skate-obsessed older brothers, so Santa Cruz, the hand, the entire culture – it’s something that’s been present in my life since I was a kid, pouring hours into California Games on NES and quite literally eating gravel after bailing on tricks beyond my capability.
Damo: How does it feel to be selected to be involved in the project?
Cat Wall: Mate, I’m stoked. It’s an absolute privilege. I still harbour dreams of becoming Peggy Oki but unfortunately my extreme level of incoordination has other plans for me, so if I can pay homage through my art work then that’s pretty much the next best thing. To be invited to join such a lineup of unapproachably talented Australian artists to celebrate arguably the world’s most iconic skate graphic is a total fucking honour.
Damo: Why did you choose to represent the image in this way?
Cat Wall: My niche is digital portraiture. People are intensely fascinating and capturing character and heart through illustration is a really beautiful thing. So when it came to the brief for this show, what better way was there to embody the spirit of the Screaming Hand than to, well, literally embody it? My piece is a portrait based on a photograph by the remarkable Nicole Reed. It reveals hero behind the Screaming Hand. Jim Phillips is undeniably a legend in both the skate and art communities and, for me, this show is as much a tribute to his work as it is the graphic. It was a lot of fun, but I’d be quite content to never have to draw facial hair ever again – “screaming hand” is an entirely accurate description.
Damo: What do you think the future may hold for such an iconic image?
Cat Wall: Icons are icons for a reason, right? The beauty of this graphic is in its capability to embody something in such a simple, timeless way. The Screaming Hand is so deeply entrenched in the history of the skate scene that it’s not going away at any point in the near future. Give it a few years and Santa Cruz will be rolling it out onto their latest release of hoverboards.