Skateboarding is an art form that is often overlooked, and even more-so misunderstood.

Skateboarding, like art, is a self initiated expression.  Not reliant on a team, there is a special connection between the skater and their board.  Similar to the way a painter has a special connection with their brushes.  Although, a skater expresses themselves through complex physical movements by means of balance, grace, and guts.  And instead of producing a piece of art by means of a pushing brushes across a canvas, a completed piece for a skateboarder is a complex trick (with your board) that is landed with grace and style.

As one can imagine, because of this, skateboarders are highly creative people when on and off their boards.  This is not just apparent in the individuals who often take on other forms of artistic expression such as photographers, visual artists, designers, free spirits, art directors and much more… but even more so when you see the environments that they like to surround themselves with for inspiration.

For instance, spend 10 minutes in a skateboard shop you can get a real sense of the culture.  The walls are always decked out with top-notch photography and graphic design, art on each skateboard deck, beautifully edited skate videos, cutting edge fashion, and the latest in music.  It’s practically a contemporary art gallery for the youngsters.  Mind you, everything is being sold for commercial reasons, but if you take a moment to actually analyze the real culture behind what they are selling, you will realize that skateboarding is a sport/pastime/life style that breeds creativity.

This week we put the spotlight on one of our favorite local photographers, Adam Moore, and one of the desert’s top skateboarders, TC Graves.  The casual interview is conducted by Adam Moore as he gives us a sneak peak into the life of a Coachella Valley skater, a.k.a. a “desert rat.”  As TC Graves talks throughout the interview (while simultaneously driving a forklift at work), we come realize all love and passion that is necessary for one to survive the blood, guts and extremities that come along with being a skater.  I

t’s not an easy job… however, the outcome can be quite glorious.  The beauty, grace, and performance art of it all is captured through the lens of Adam Moore.

So, without further ado… I present to you, Adam Moore and TC Graves….

* * *


Desert Rats: TC Graves

An interview between photographer, Adam Moore

and skateboarder, TC Graves

all words by Adam Moore of A Moore Photo/Shoot Them All

I remember TC from back in the day, super tiny dude, couldn’t grow a patch of hair on his chin if his life depended on it. Squeaky little voice and a total skate rat, always reading a skate mag, always talking about skating. I remember the first time I saw some of TC’s footage: it was this run at Chino, he did a little something on the two stair and his hat came off and he caught it so stezzy, he continued his run and front-side pop shuv it, so clean and so steezy… even as a little guy. Not much has changed for TC except now he is taller then I am and can grow a little scum-stash once in a while. He still skates everyday and now eats handrails for breakfast and gets boards from Arto. So that is why I decided to catch up with TC at 3:30 in the morning I mean what better time for an interview then when your passed out cold, or so I thought…

Adam Moore: Hey TC, where you at?!

TC Graves: (Laughs) I’m at work!  Working the graveyard right now at Smart & Final. Fucking been doing this for over 2 years now!

Adam Moore: For the people who don’t know you, who the hell are you?

TC Graves: I’m T.C. Graves, I’m nineteen years old. I was born in Germany, on an Army base, and I have lived here in desert for pretty much my whole life. Fucking lived in Yucaipa for a little, man… fuck that! Rather be out here with all the homies!

Adam Moore: How would describe skateboarding in the desert, for people who have never been here before.

TC Graves: Skating in the desert is hott, man! In both ways! It’s the shit ,dude! The people out here are sick. But the people that don’t skate, and don’t understand it, suck.  And that is just how it is out here in the desert…

Adam Moore: How about spot wise?

TC Graves: Ah, man …. we have some real sick spots out here.  When people come out here, who are not from around here, come skate they are always stoked! But, personally, I’d rather try and go out of town to skate because the weather is better. At least for the summer, but the spots out here are sick, man.

Adam Moore: So you’ve been skating with Arto Sarri recently?

TC Graves: (Laughs) No, not really. We where out skating this gap by White Water Park one day… you know the one Jake oiled?… and I was trying my trick for a while and my homie Rey was like “Dude there is Arto right there!”  I was just like “Oh shit!” As soon as I seen him I fucking landed my trick and I was so hyped. My board was all messed up, and he was all like,  “dude, that was sick here’s a board I used it to cut my vegetables on it.”  It had all these knife cuts into it…it was sick, man.

Adam Moore: Who else have you gone out and skated with?

TC Graves: Oh, dude, Geoff Rowely was out here a couple of days ago, with Johnny Layton and Matt Bennett. Went and skated Red Banks with them. Oh, and Steve Forstner too! Skating with all those guys was a trip and a pleasure!   So fucking sick, man!

Adam Moore: That’s sick, dude!  Alright, besides Waka Flocka, what else gets you hyped to skate?

TC GRaves: (Laughs) Oh, man! Besides Waka Flocka? Some Gucci Maine, some Bad Brains! Yeah, pretty much those three.  When I listen to music I get into it for a while!

Adam Moore: How about Jared Huss, does he hype you up to skate?

TC Graves: Oh, dude! He is the fucking best, in the world! I have seen that guy do so much crazy shit that I thought I would never done before. He is just the greatest man!

Adam Moore: Could not have said it better myself man, he fucking rips!  Alright, one of the first photos we shot for this was at the college – what was up with that?

TC Graves: Dude, no joke, I had a dream about that shit!  When I woke up I was like, “Fuck man, I have to go do that!”  It was just one of those days and I got it.   Some days just work out like that.

(All of the sudden … really loud I hear a… “Beep! Beep! Beep!”)

Adam Moore:  Hey! What the fuck is that, man?!

TC Graves: Haha! Oh yeah I’m working the Forklift right now, moving boxes and shit, trying to finish on time haha! Trying to get out of here and go skate tomorrow. I mean today haha! Trying to skate all day everyday!

Adam Moore:  You’re fucking crazy, TC.  Hey, where else have you been able to visit thanks to skateboarding?

TC Graves: Oh, dude, I got to go out to Arizona a few times with the homies!  That shit was fun as fuck!  But, like, both times I got hurt.  It was all good though, at least I had fun while doing it.

Adam Moore: How did you get hurt?

TC Graves: Well, lets just say re-fliming tricks is no fun.

Adam Moore: Do you have any plans for the near future?

TC Graves:  Fuck, man… just skating!  That’s my life – skateboarding.   Hopefully, try and send my tape to One in a Million and go to New York.  Looks sick as fuck.  Other then that, just skate, man.  I could give a shit less about contest, as long as I’m having fun that’s all that matters to me.

Adam Moore: Anyone hooking you up right now?

TC Graves: I just got a box from Converse – fucking best thing I’ve ever gotten in my life, man!  Of course, I ride for the local skate shop, as well. So I’m real hyped on that.

Adam Moore: Any shout-outs?
TC Graves: Oh man…. Epidemicthe Fuk Face crew, the Fun House click and all the mother fuckers on a board!

Adam Moore: Oh, and last but not least…. Would you consider yourself a “Desert Rat”?

TC Graves: Fuck yeah, man!

* * * 

Interview conducted by Adam Moore

All photos taken by Adam Moore of A Moore Photography

to find out more about A Moore Photography, check his work out here:


* * * 

if you are Coachella Valley artist that would like to interview another desert artist/athlete/community member/cool person, then please email me and let me know…