‘For me, he is the undisputed master of creating sculpture from broken skateboards and he should have been in the book.’
Can you tell us something about France that no one knows?
I think that this will shock some people, but we are not the ones who invented French fries, our Belgian neighbors did! French Fred, yes. French Fries, no.
You started ‘The Daily Board’ blog in 2006 referencing more than 3000 skateboards to date. Where does your passion for art around skateboarding come from?
I think it started the day I set foot in a skateshop. I found myself in front of a wall of skateboards with very strong colours and illustrations. I was immediately mesmerized by it, even though at the time I didn’t think it would become such an important part of my life. Afterwards, with the power of the internet, I was able to dig even deeper into this world and discover older skateboard graphics, both really old school boards and series that were released a few years before I started skating. For a while, I had the ambition with The Daily Board to try to reference absolutely all the graphics that existed. Faced with the immensity of the task, I had to look at the evidence and chose to only present to people the ones I find the most interesting.
Any boundaries what you can and cannot do in terms of skateboard art?
I don’t think so or I try to push them away. I like to put myself in a frame and explore it until I have to go beyond it. In what I do as an artist, in the beginning, I thought I had to make a board in the shape of a jar but still be recognizable. Gradually, I moved away from that. I started creating jars with several skateboards, with other shades of wood and now in sculptures for some see pieces of skateboards cast in resin. The material of the skate is less and less identified in my work, it’s now more subtle things like holes for screws, breaks or grind marks that identify the old life of the material. So, I feel like saying that the only limit is the one you give yourself and when you want to, you have to go beyond it.
‘The material of the skate is less and less identified in my work, it’s now more subtle things like holes for screws, breaks or grind marks that identify the old life of the material.’
For your blog, you have conducted quite a few interviews yourself. Which one stands out for you personally?
It’s hard to say, each one really resonated with me and was super inspiring to read. The first one that comes to mind is that of Mark “Fos” Foster, the founder of Heroin. His background is remarkable, his pencil stroke and artistic vision are just as remarkable and on top of that, the person looks incredible.
Do you see a conflict between having boards hanging on the wall vs what they really are meant for? To be used as actual skateboards.
In my opinion, I don’t see a problem. At a young age, I had a hard time skating boards where I loved the graphics. I started to split my interest a little bit, skating boards with graphics I didn’t like and keeping and hanging on to the boards I loved. When I was younger, my means were more limited and I remember skating 2,3 boards that I wanted to keep and regretted it. I recall a yellow and black Cliché board that just had the logo of the brand with the Europe and the “e”. It wasn’t even an elaborate graphic, but rather a logo board and yet I remember keeping it for 3 years on the wall and then skating it during a period when I couldn’t buy another board. Afterwards, I thought I shouldn’t have.
Some of the boards are traded like Picasso. What is your personal Picasso skate deck and why?
That’s a very good question! I’m not a big collector of decks, and the notion of rarity is not that important to me. I’ll value a nice design more than an ultra- limited board. Besides, I’m often not a big fan of a single board. I really prefer series/sets of boards even from two, that one deck. For example, I recently bought a series of boards from the collaboration between the English brand Cafe and the artists of Printed Goods that I really like (https:// www.thedailyboard.co/fr/actu/printed-goods-x-cafe-skateboards/). However, if I had to choose only one skateboard artwork, which for me has the value of a Picasso, I would choose “The Last Fiesta” by Pale Horse (https:// palehorsedesign.com/the-last-fiesta-12-skate-deck-artwork). The work is composed of 12 skateboards that represent Jesus Christ surrounded by his 12 Luchador apostles for a last meal. In addition to the incredible illustration, its enhancement by an imposing wooden frame that integrates physical elements around the frame. This is truly a complete piece that I would love to display at home!
‘However, if I had to choose only one skateboard artwork, which for me has the value of a Picasso, I would choose “The Last Fiesta” by Pale Horse.’
Your blog let to your book ‘Skate Art’ which only took two years from idea to publication. What was the most challenging part in this entire time?
The first difficulty was to make a drastic choice among all these boards and series that inspire me. Each of the boards published on The Daily Board appeal to me, for one reason or another: the provocative side, the fun side, the originality, the composition, etc. So, to make my selection, I had to make a first pass, then a second and finally a last one with my publisher to get the final curation. It was very frustrating. After that, the biggest challenge was of course to get all the images in high quality as well as the authorizations to use the images from the artist, the brand and/or the photographer. This was clearly the most time consuming and difficult part. A lot of exchange by email, sometimes by phone, with many different interlocutors. Sometimes I even had to have some series photographed (by my friend Cédric Bougnoux, whom I thank) because there were only poor-quality mockups.
You financed the book by raising EUR9,317 through a Kickstarter campaign. Is this all it took in terms of investment? It does not sound like much considering the quality and quantity of the content in the book.
The model for creating my book was quite atypical. I wanted to self-publish it at first, but then I decided to go with a publishing house. My publisher, Éditions Cercle d’Art, was very motivated to do the project, but they wanted to see if the project would appeal. So, I prepared a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of financing 50% of the production cost of the book and that’s what I managed to get!
Is there anything you wanted to cover in the book, but it did not make it for whatever reason?
Yes, I am particularly fond of the work of the artist Haroshi. I contacted him several times in English and even in Japanese, but despite that, I never got an answer from him. For me, he is the undisputed master of creating sculpture from broken skateboards and he should have been in the book. Too bad, it will be for the next volume!
‘For a while, I had the ambition with The Daily Board to try to reference absolutely all the graphics that existed.’
What is the best way to put up a skateboard on the wall without Tiger Claws?
The classic clear fishing line of course! I spent many years with this technique, but I often couldn’t get my boards to line up correctly. That’s one of the reasons we created the Tigerclaw Supplies brand.
What is on your wishlist?
Skate in California, go back to Japan, releasing a Skate Art II book and creating ever larger skateboard works.
Last question. If you could interview one person, who would it be and why?
The great Andy Jenkins of course! In his 30+ year career, he’s done so much for skateboarding that he’s clearly the next person on the list. Between his art direction work for Girl and all his brands, the creation of the Art Dump collective, his collabs with great brands, Uma Landsleds, he is the creative par excellence!
‘The great Andy Jenkins of course!’