As destructive as skateboarders can be while screeching through the concrete jungle, during downtime, a great many of them turn to art, creating works with pigments, light, stone, wood, sound, and words.
Is there a common factor underlying destruction and creation? Is it chaos, freedom, or simply boredom? Does skateboarding attract creative people, or does it make them?
Mark Gonzales, who has been called the most influential skateboarder of all time, weighed in on this subject June 2016 interview with Rolling Stone.
“Skateboarding gives people a way to use their brain more,” Gonzales said. “The brain is a muscle and when you use it and find new ways to do tricks in different ways, it's the same type of creative process used to discover new ways to repurpose things and do things in different and better ways.”
In the same interview, Gonzales went on to trace this psychological process back to Hawai‘i:
“Skateboarding is derived from the Hawaiians—from surfing. That's why early skateboarding was called sidewalk surfing...When James Cook landed there in the late 1700s, he saw someone surfing near his ship and thought he had stolen something from his ship and was trying to get away. But then he saw that the surfer was doing it over and over for the sole purpose of enjoyment—which was probably hard for James Cook to understand that someone would do something just for enjoyment rather than duty.”
This exhibition presents a small, talented sample of skater-artists living in the islands today, and shows the ways that the pastime they enjoy on the board informs their creative time off it.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website