The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

Today is Tuesday, October 16: Open 10am-8pm
Directions & Admission

← Back to Past Exhibitions, Past Exhibitions 2017

Screaming Hand: August 5, 2016- March 26, 2017


3rd floor, Art Forum

Celebrate 30 years of the Screaming Hand igniting youth and skateboard culture.

The iconic Screaming Hand image turns 30 this year. Explore original art by Phillips and 200 other contemporary artists inspired by this fundamental image of skate culture.

Graphic artist Jim Phillips is best known for his surf and skateboard art. Born in San Jose in 1944, Jim has been a local resident of Santa Cruz for most of his life. He was Art Director at NHS in the 1970s and 1980s where he created thousands of decks, t-shirts, stickers, product illustrations and advertisements.

MAH members get in free.
Join today.

I’m often asked where I got the idea for the Screaming Hand…like I had a store where I could get images. Sometimes an idea just pops in my mind, and I’ve trained myself to be receptive. Screaming Hand dates back to high school where I liked to spend my time drawing epic surfing and skate-board pictures and give them to my friends.

In typical surf scenes, I would draw a big wave and a goofy surfer with sight gags like circling shark fins or a clenched hand sticking out of the water like a drowning guy. That intrigued me after I saw a drowned guy at the beach, snot coming out of his nose after some men tried to revive him, the first dead person I ever saw. Stuck in my mind, I drew the clenched hand on my book covers and notepads.

Fast forward, and NHS is forming a wheel line and asked for a logo for Speed Wheels Santa Cruz. As I sat at my drawing table and clenched my left hand, I penciled a sketch, thinking about how powerful the hand is, how artists have used it in gestures to express emotion. Then I thought about it being even more expressive if it had a mouth right on the palm, and how much more if it was screaming! I got pretty worked up and knew my drawing would make a cool logo, though it took some time to talk the manager into it. We made stickers and T-shirts, and soon the Screaming Hand proved itself as a powerful icon that certainly earned its own way.

-Jim Phillips
Presented in partnership with NHS, Inc.

Exhibition Related Events

Dive deeper into Screaming Hand with one of these special exhibition-related events. 

Friday September 16th 6:30-8PM

Saturday October 22nd 7-10PM

Friday November 18th 5-8PM

Friday December 16th 5-8PM

With thanks to our generous sponsors