Product Spotlight - Toy Machine x Margaret Kilgallen

by Dan Bunn

Our benevolent overlords at Toy Machine have blessed us with a re-issue of their iconic collection of skateboard decks from 1998, featuring graphics by legendary artist, Margaret Kilgallen.

Toy Machine Margaret Kilgallen Re-issue Skateboard Decks - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

All the way back in 1998 (the year the iconic Zoo York Mixtape was released), Ed Templeton's Toy Machine teamed up with their friend and legendary artist, Margaret Kilgallen, for a run of skateboard decks featuring her artwork. Around 24 years later, in celebration of a retrospective exhibition on the late, great Kilgallen's work in the Bonnefanten museum in Holland, Toy Machine have decided to reissue this iconic series of graphics to honour the artist's legacy. The decks feature the same graphics updated to reflect the current iteration of Toy Machine acolytes, with the original 1998 line-up of Elissa Steamer, Ed Templeton, Chris Senn, Mike Maldonado, and Brian Anderson being replaced by the new team.

Toy Machine Margaret Kilgallen Original 1998 Skateboard Decks - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store
Photo: The original series of Toy Machine x Margaret Kilgallen skateboard decks from 1998, photo by Francesco Rachello from the Beautiful Losers exhibition.

Who is Margaret Kilgallen?

For those unfamiliar with her work, Margaret Kilgallen was a contemporary artist who specialised in a number of different mediums, including graffiti, painting, and installations, with heavy influences from folk art and old-school, hand-painted shop signs which you can clearly see in her choices of text and colour. Her work often depicted strong, independent women engaging in various activities, from walking and biking to surfing and fighting. Born in Maryland, Kilgallen rose to prominence in San Francisco and was recognised as a central figure in the Mission School movement based in the city's Mission District, alongside her husband, Barry McGee. Both Kilgallen and McGee were featured in the film 'Beautiful Losers', alongside widely respected skaters and artists including Mark Gonzales, Ed Templeton, and Harmony Korine (director of the film 'Kids'), highlighting their role in merging the worlds of skateboarding and contemporary art. Tragically, her life and career were cut short by breast cancer in 2001 at only 33 years of age, just three weeks after the birth of her daughter.

Margaret Kilgallen riding a skateboard in San Francisco, shot by Deanna Templeton - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store
Photo: Margaret Kilgallen skating in San Francisco in 1998, shot by Deanna Templeton.

Toy Machine x Margaret Kilgallen Skateboard Decks

In honour of Kilgallen's lasting legacy, Toy Machine have re-released her graphics, replacing the old lineup of OG's with Toy Machine's new roster of legends, with CJ Collins, Leo Romero, Axel Cruysberghs, Dashawn Jordan, and Dan Lutheran all receiving the honour of having their name on one of these timeless decks. If you missed out on the first drop back in '98 or you want to add to your collection and flaunt the new editions alongside the old, then make sure you grab these bangin' re-issues while you have the chance.

Toy Machine 'Daniel Lutheran Kilgallen' 8.38" Skateboard Deck - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

The graphics feature Kilgallen's signature colour palette with muted yellows, oranges, blues, and greens, with each deck comprising of bands of colour at the nose and tail surrounding a central character in a variety of poses. In true Kilgallen style, many of the decks feature depictions of strong, independent women in various scenarios, including tearing down a tree, cruising on a skateboard, and a lone mother with a child. Her depiction of the female form resists sexualisation and instead bears resemblance to modern styles of body positive artwork through the representation of a number of different body types and shapes, highlighting Kilgallen's lasting influence on the world of contemporary art.

Toy Machine 'Axel Crusher Cruysberghs Kilgallen' 8" Skateboard Deck - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

High Art, Low Prices

Of course Toy Machine decks are some of the best in the game, but if you're looking for something to brighten your walls rather than something to get wild in the streets on, these decks are the perfect opportunity to grab the work of a well-respected artist for an absolute bargain. If you wanted to buy some of Kilgallen's original art it would set you back a couple of grand, but for the mere price of £60 you can bag yourself some timeless artwork to hang on your wall in the form of a skateboard, and it's always there for a back-up if you snap your deck. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Toy Machine 'Leo Romero Kilgallen' 8.25" Skateboard Deck - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

Supporting A Good Cause

In the spirit of honouring Kilgallen's legacy of supporting under-represented communities, Toy Machine will be donating part of the proceeds from these decks to froSkate, a black womyn founded and queer-run skateboard organisation based in Chicago that works to provide safe, supportive, and welcoming spaces, as well as resources, for marginalised communities. So, as well as helping to support one of the longest-running and most well-respected skater-owned brands in the game (and of course us, your favourite local, independent skate shop), buying one of these amazing decks will also help to support an incredible initiative and make skating more accessible for under-represented communities in the US. What more could you want?

froSkate is a black and queer run initiative working to improve accessibility in skating for under-represented communities - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store
Photo: froSkate in action helping spread the loving of skating to marginalised groups in the US.

That's enough chit-chat though. Head to the shop now to browse the full range of Toy Machine skateboard decks at CSC, or check out more Product Spotlights on the blog. Safe.

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