Skateboardings Most Notorious Enforcer: Jesse Martinez Talks to Chris Nieratko | Venice history, gentrification, Crips, +
The man behind Made In Venice is Jesse Martinez, skateboardings most famous enforcer. He’s been through some unjust decisions in his life and talked to Chris Nieratko about everything Dogtown on the two-year anniversary of fellow Z-Boy’s Jay Adams passing. Jesse opened up about growing up with Crips, Venice gentrification, the skatepark, and much more…
“The Dogtown/Zephyr skate teams of the ‘70s may have sparked the Venice Beach, California skate scene, but it was the unruly ‘80s Venice locals, headed by Jesse Martinez, that doused it in gasoline to see how high the flames would go.
Born in 1965 and raised in a Venice Crip family, 50-year-old, Jesse Martinez, found salvation on his skateboard. But not without bringing some of his homelife with him. While most pros of his day were rocking day-glo spandex and surf trunks, Jesse sported Crip blues and full cholo gear in advertisements. He needed no marketing gimmick, his background set him apart as one of skateboarding’s most notorious enforcers. His brawls are the stuff of legend. While riding for the wholesome Bones Brigade he knocked a guy out at a demo for slapping Lance Mountain. Another time, in self-defense, he threw a guy down a set of stairs at Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth.
At a time when skateboarding was making a shift from backyard ramps to street skating and searching for an identity, Jesse became the poster boy for the code of the streets. His documented defense of both himself and his local scene empowered an entire generation of skaters.
The new documentary, Made In Venice, (Directed by Jonathan Penson. In select theaters now) focusing on the 20-year battle to get the most expensive skatepark in the world built could have just as easily been a documentary about Jesse Martinez with the skatepark as the back drop. Jesse is infinitely more interesting and charismatic than any 16,000sq. ft cement plot and the truth is for more than three decades Jesse has been the lifeblood of the humble Venice community. By the same token, the Venice scene is what keeps Jesse alive and I think he’d truly die without his role as steward to the old neighborhood.
I caught up with Jesse in back alley in Venice on the two-year anniversary of the passing of original Z-Boy and our dear friend, Jay Adams, to discuss his love for his city and the many opportunities to get off the streets of Venice that he’s passed up on over the years.”
Interviewed Jesse Martinez for @vice about the #Disneyland incident, knocking out the guy at the Boston @powellperalta demo, selling his @worldindustries shares, why the @cityoflosangeles won't pay him to clean the #venicebeach skatepark & why he continues to do it anyway. (Link in my profile.) 📷: @juicemagazine's @juicedan