In September 2020, we released our first collab deck, GFK Bar x Kalvin Panther: Edition One. We sat down recently with Kalvin for a chat.
GFK Bar: What's up, Kalvin! You ready to do this?
Kalvin Panther (KP): Ready.
GFK Bar: Where are you from?
KP: Bend, Oregon.
GFK Bar: You still live there?
KP: Nope. I'm in Portland now.
GFK Bar: Portland's been in the news a lot lately. What’s it like?
KP: Fucking weird.
GFK Bar: There are some serious rippers there. You ever run into any of them?
KP: I'm not out a ton these days, but I see [David] Gravette out from time to time, mostly on a bicycle (haha). [John] Rattray is up here. I've seen Silas Baxter-Neal, which was incredible. Back in the day I'd see a lot of heavy hitters at Burnside. Brent Atchley was there a bunch, probably the dopest style I've ever seen at the park. Legendary.
GFK Bar: Rad. Speaking of Rattray, we first heard of you when he posted one of your "Wu Murray" prints on Instagram. It was love at first sight: we had to have one; bought a couple of the shirts too. And everywhere we went wearing them, people wanted to be our best friends. Conversation starter, for sure. When did you come up with the idea?
KP: Haha, I don't know. I spent years drawing pop icons and making prints and stuff. I do other styles of visual art, but people always love the pop-icon stuff. So, of course, I had to do Bill [Murray] and just decided to slap the Wu-Tang hat on him and people were hyped. It was a few years ago, but people still trip on it, which is super rad.
GFK Bar: Where can people purchase your art?
KP: I'm stacking originals right now, in case the world ever opens up again, but prints and tees are available at kalvinpanther.com. People can see some stuff on my Instagram too.
GFK Bar: Your Instagram is @kalvinpanther, right?
KP: That's me.
GFK Bar: I understand that you typically go to art shows. Have you been able to attend any events since the pandemic started?
KP: Nah, strictly virtual.
GFK Bar: Sucks you haven't been able to show off any of these decks! You stoked to have your art on a skateboard?
KP: Oh, yes, it's definitely a life hammer. Super stoked.
GFK Bar: Which one did you set up first?
KP: Haha, I haven't set one up yet!
GFK Bar: So what's your current setup?
KP: A Black Sheep shop deck with Indys and Spitfires. Usually on the mobber, though: a big Real "Heavyweight."
GFK Bar: You recall your first setup?
KP: Ah, man. . . I got some shitty hand-me-downs, like no-nose boards, but the first brand-new, like, actual setup was, like . . . I have no idea what the company was, but it said "fruit and fiber" on it and had a fruit graphic (ha!). I wanted the deck with the naked chick on it, but Mom wasn't havin' it.
GFK Bar: Where did you get it from?
KP: I'm sure I got the first first from my older brother, and my mom got me the ol' fruit and fiber for my birthday.
GFK Bar: How long have you been skateboarding?
KP: Dude, like 25 years, which is kinda crazy now that I'm thinking about it.
GFK Bar: Favorite skateboarder?
KP: Shit, so hard to say. There are so many rippers just blowing minds right now. But over the years it was, like, Tom Penny, Stevie [Williams], Quim [Cardona], Kareem [Campbell]; anyone with dope unique style; or people who look so casual, like Antwuan [Dixon]. I love watching Brandon Westgate skate. Way too many to mention, but I can say my favorite person in the skate world is Gonz [Mark Gonzalez]; Gonz is a hero of mine, for sure.
GFK Bar: What music do you listen to?
KP: A lot of, like, psych rock and trippy pop music right now. Definitely a ton of rap, mostly older, like, underground shit. No EDM, no screamo.
GFK Bar: Do you listen to anything in particular when you're working?
KP: Not really; depends on my mood that day, but I listen to a lot of podcasts while I work.
GFK Bar: You’re a big fan of the outdoors, right? Where do you like to go in Oregon?
KP: Oregon is so rad. You can point in any direction and hit a different type environment: desert, beach, mountains, rainforest, whatever. So all over, I guess.
GFK Bar: No favorite spot?
KP: Man, everything has its magic. I'm mostly up in the mountains on the river, though. Wherever the fish are biting, and there's not a bunch of kooks around: that's where I'm trying to be. But, like, this summer I caught fish and camped in every zone. Middle of the desert, salmon fishing on the coast, mountain streams on top of Mt. Hood. It's been epic. A lot of Oregon is currently on fire right now, and it's awful. A bunch of my favorite zones won't be the same for a long time.
GFK Bar: It's so tragic, dude, but at least Bear is safe. What's up with him?!
KP: Haha, Bear is the number-one homey! He's half cat, half bear, half man. He's the best.
GFK Bar: Apart from Bear, anyone you want to give a shout out to?
KP: Shit, man, all the crew. All the homies know who they are. Big ups to anyone and everyone who's ever supported or encouraged me. I've gotten love from literally all over the world, and it's so rad.
GFK Bar: Good. You deserve it. Anything else you want to say before we wrap this up?
KP: Just that I hope everyone's hanging tough through all this global weirdness. Times are super tough. Don't be too cool to lean on your friends and family: that's what they're there for. And fuck Trump.
GFK Bar: Nice chatting with you, Kalvin. Stay up.