Getting to know Ben over the last couple of months has reminded me of the instant connection that having grown up skateboarding provides you with those who have come up the same. Literally, from the second he hooked up with the crew it has been on. The culture of skateboarding has been so full and influential on those who really are about it. Ben Allen is sure enough about it. Dude is rad to hang with. Dude crushes spots. All kind of spots. Good people. – DOM B
Welcome to artformskate. For the readers out there how old? and where from?
I’m 30 and I was born in Brooklyn NY
Where you at now?
Walnut CA, or should I just say LA
If you are in Walnut I’m not gonna let you say LA.
What is going on with Kitch?
It’s my long time homie Geoff Dermer’s company in
Vancouver. He’s hooked it up proper since I’ve been out here bro status, holla
if you you want some footy dog
Can you talk about your footage a little bit? I’ve shown it to a couple people and the comment is always about how you skate really diverse obstacles.
I grew up in two places. I was sent to boarding school for behavior modification in CT up there I would skate indoor big masonite parks with people like Chris Krupa, Tato Feleciano, Cook out, and Tim Upson. I was obsessed with lback d’s on vert and learning how to handle my liquor when I skated. Then on the weekend’s I would come home and skate NYC with Ray Wong, Rodney Torres, and the OG heads like Hamilton, Keith Harrison, Mike Wright and a bunch of others. I feel really blessed to have been a part of NYC mid 90’s street skating pre 9/11. I think that’s why my footage is all over the place, both area’s influenced the styles I found aesthetically pleasing and wanted to personally emulate, and also why I found myself rocking dickies with fat tounges at the same time.
How long a period does this footage cover?
2004-2008 There were some periods in there when I wasn’t concerned with getting stuff, some times I would be hyped to go out and get stuff. It’s hard for me to get motivated unless I had something to film for.
I know you had a back issue that took you out for a while. What was the deal with that how long have you been back on?
Last august I basically woke up one morning and couldn’t walk due to sharp pains rifling down my left leg making life in Brooklyn aside from skating pretty much impossible. I waited about 2 months for it to go away with no luck and finally got an MRI and was diagnosed with a hariline fracture in my L5 vertabrae causing the corresponding disk to slip and constantly torture the nerve ending’s in my lower back. It was on and off before that but it would feel better and I’d skate, so it was bothering me for much longer but officially I didn’t skate from August until December.
Were you fiending really hard to skate the whole time you were off the board or were you kind of able to get away from it a bit? I’ve definitely seen reactions from being totally over it to being totally obsessed with getting back on in others who have had injuries that kept them from skating.
Honestly, it was one of the darkest periods of my life. I had a bunch of other stuff going on that was a result of my back, I couldn’t work and had to move back in with my parents for the first time in 5 years, I spent a lot of time alone before that because it was hard for me to get around and I didn’t want to burden my friends who were skating and active with my crippled ass. I can say during that period it was painful for me to see anything having to do with skating. I’d see a video or a mag and try to skate on my back just pushing down the street and I couldn’t. My social life has always revolved around skating so for me to try to socialize at this point would have made me feel worse, I had a few friends who knew what was going on with me and would check in to see how I was doing but I didn’t like talking about it and it was hard to express how scared I was to potentially have to face the rest of my life with out skating so I ended up spending a lot of time alone and drunk or reading comics. I met J around that time so I started getting into the things she was into like art and photography which took my mind of skating a bit plus I finally had some one to talk to about what I was going through, if it wasn’t for her I would have found much less constructive coping mechanisms.
How does it feel to be back on?
I feel great, and I’m super hungry to go handle some dirty business
Hows L.A. so far?
Sick, I like it no cement parks out east.
What brought you out?
A woman, my skateboard problem was in remission for a while but it aggressively returned upon relocation.
When did you first pick up a board, and what sparkedyou to get on?
91, it was weird I knew how to ride it before Istepped on it, I had
bonelesses of mom’s jeep in a week.
Who was the O.G. crew?
NY James Crosby, Jake Devries, Sasha Braverman, slug, Aaron Armisto, Tim
Durdaller , Joe Greto, Jon Rina, Andy Stohl, Chris Walsh CT Flesh Eater, Riddick, Krupa, Cook Out, Benny, Tato,
96-02 I miss getting hated on for skating.
East Coast top fives in the 90’s? (skaters)
Burton Smith, Ben Liversedge, Drake Jones, Keith Harrison, Tim Upson
East Coast top fives present?
Ralph Murphey, Nick Sassa, Jose Pereyea, Chris Krupa, Dave Caddo
If you could ride for any company who would it be?
The correct answer was artform but…
Best slice of pizza below 14th st?
Best NYC bust spot?
The forbidden banks in mid town
What do you miss in N.Y.?
Skating through the streets. The architecture, not eating at chain restaurants, Brooklyn lager, the bowl, friends
What do you not miss?
The bowl, crappy weather, the price of smokes
Five reasons LA sucks?
Higher evening douchebag factor, chain restaurants, gangs, helmet tickets, finding a job
What are you psyched on in L.A.?
Being with my lady, new homies, new spots, being sparked on skating
Since you came out seems you are becoming an art and
Have you lost your edge?
It’s J’s fault I’m becoming cultured, although sometimes at night I pretend I’m passing out on a strangers floor miles away from home sourounded by pbr cans and cigarette butts with a hoody for a pillow.
Just for my own personal file of things to laugh about, got a good James
The first time he picked me up to skate he was pushing a teal blue caddy and rocked a full blow out fro, my mom asked me if he
Meth or Red?
Nas or Jay Z?
I shouldn’t dignify that with an answer but Nas
I should justify that last question but I won’t.
Sundays or Smiths?
Bert or Ernie?
Oscar the Grouch
Ollie in or Wallie in?
Now a personal question. Do you love your mother?
Anything you want to let the people know about?
I’m hungry motherfucker and I’m coming for that fluffy little sandwich
Thanks and Shouts?
Jeaneen, westchester heads, og CT crew, NYC heads, SB
cats, Geoff Dermer, Billy Bakker, Ryan Brennen, Jon Bocksel, Tim, Thomas
and Jim, the Carlino Family, Mike Mattheson, skateboarding, comic books,
Low Pro Hero quote?
Free the Gate Keeper