Tuesday, January 29, 2008
BERLIN SKATE ART EXHIBIT
BOOTLEG: Tell me a little about yourself.
Besides organizing Built to Expose. I also work for Built to Destroy skateboards. I’m responsible for artwork and do promotion for them. Because I am a graphic designer and painter myself I have two decks of my own in the exhibition too. Pretty proud of the 'skate or fry' deck I did with a friend of mine. We actually fried a skateboard; we made a special frying pan for it and filmed it all.
I have a graphic design education. But also I did a lot of booth building for tradeshows, set design for theater and parties, interior design for shops. I also have a t-shirt brand with a friend of mine
called Braque. We make limited edition t-shirts that are for sale at a couple of skateboard shops in the Netherlands.
BOOTLEG: What was the origination of the show and how difficult was it to put together?
The exhibition didn't start out as big as it is now. It all started when I met Curse Mackay at the Riff Raff tattoo and art show in De Hague in the Netherlands. He organized the Rides of Passage, an art
exhibition from the U.S. His exhibition, with painted snowboards, was going to be a part of another art event during the Museum Night in Amsterdam. He asked me and Aziz Badrane from Built to Destroy Skateboards to organize a Dutch addition with Dutch artists on Skateboards. We thought that would be a great idea because Aziz and I both know a lot of artists and tattooists. Rides of Passage finally didn't make it to the Museum Night but Built to Expose did. And since then it
has been growing. Every time we do another show I ask more artists to contribute a skateboard. It started with 18 decks at the first event. In Berlin there will be over 70 decks from more than 60 artists.
BOOTLEG: Is Built to Destroy the main benefactor of the art exhibition?
Without the support of Built to Destroy Skateboards Built to Expose wouldn't have been possible at all. They supply all the decks for the artists to work on and finance the whole production side of the
exhibition. Eastpak Benelux helped out with a little extra cash on the exhibitions in Amsterdam and Huizen in the Netherlands and Antwerp in Belgium. We also asked five artists to do something with a Built to Destroy deck and a skateboard backpack from Eastpak. Great to see what an artist can do with such a combo. There was even a female artist, Babette Jong, that made a complete outfit to go along with it.
BOOTLEG: Who organized the art show & how long has it been going on?
From the start in November 2005, I have been doing most of the organizing. I am the one that keeps contact with all the artists and does most of the promotion. I hang all the decks at the shows.
Yasha from Strychinin Gallery (New York and Berlin) is now a great help in setting up shows. She organized the show in Berlin. We are also working on plans for the exhibition to go to Barcelona and New York.
BOOTLEG: What themes are there and is there any categorizing for the artwork? Is everything mixed together or separated by inspiration?
No themes or anything. Everything gets mixed together. I only ask the artist to start out from that same shape, the shape of a skateboard. Where they end up is all up to every artist and the inspiration they have.
BOOTLEG: How are artists chosen for the show?
I try to get artists that are very different from each other. The great thing about such an exhibition is to see what different artists do when they start out from the same shape. It started out with
people I already knew or knew of. Some of them were already doing work for Built to Destroy Skateboards or Independent Outlet skateboard shop. Some are skateboarders. Some are musicians.
Tattooists, graphic designers, illustrators, graffiti artists. From then it was a totally natural growth. Artists that were in the exhibition suggested people. Friends suggested others. A total snowball effect thing....
BOOTLEG: How closely related are the artists to skateboarding?
Some are. Others not in the slightest. Although there are more that used to skateboard than I thought at first. I have heard, 'I used to skateboard when I was younger' loads of times when I asked artists to contribute a deck to the show. And of course when I hear of artists and am told that he or she does skateboard or used to, it is certainly an extra.
BOOTLEG: Has the exhibition remained in Belgium & Netherlands always? Is the show in Berlin a sign the exhibition is growing?
It is certainly growing. The involvement of Strychnin Gallery has given Built to Expose a more international boost. As I said Yasha, me and Built to Destroy Skateboards are working on plans for Barcelona and New York. With a few more sponsors I will be able to publish a book of Built to Expose too. That would be great!
BOOTLEG: Do you accept submissions or is the work chosen?
In the exhibition there are a couple of artists that already had skateboards they had done and asked me if those could be included in the show. But mostly I ask someone to be a part of Built to Expose
and then send them a Built to Destroy skateboard. When they have finished it they send it back to me.
BOOTLEG: Does the show incorporate skateboarding or music into the exhibition?
The exhibition only included dj's and music on the opening nights. Aziz the owner of Built to Destroy skateboards is a great DJ and he and several others made sure that openings were great parties also. In Antwerp we were part of an event with bands like the Urban Dance Squad playing, dj's and about 1500 people having a blast. In the room where the skateboards were, Aziz was behind the turntables from 11pm to 5 am, with anything from punk to old soul music. He kept people
dancing the whole night too.