Broken Skateboards, is a series of photographs that are put together both digitally and manually through various processes and then transferred on to the Broken deck of the skateboarder.
What happens to these boards as they get broken?, I found myself asking. They either get thrown away, stored away or who knows what else, maybe set on fire.
With this thought in mind I decided to utilize the broken skateboards as a source material for the physical element and a pallet for my photographic works.
As a skater myself I came to a realization that, we as skaters, skate around from place to place mostly everyday. They are a means of transportation, a way of life. As a skater in the city we conserve the use of green house gases by not riding in a car or on public transportation in general not utilizing motorized vehicles. There are so many possibilities by just skating around. The people you encounter, the places you see, the friendships that are established.
The photographs that I place on the board are a representation of the skater and the hardships and some struggles that are put into the decks and the sport. Through repetition and a series of a trick on the board it shows that there are many trials and tribulations that occur the continual efforts to stomp a trick or land it perfectly are sometimes a reason for the boards to break.
The photographs also represent time and visual element of what was. The graphic layout and design arrangement of the photographs also represent the original graphics of the skateboard. Skateboard graphics are important to the skater they tend to choose a board by the graphic just as much as the size and shape of the board. I wanted this element to stay with the "Broken Skateboard Series" I did not want to lose the personality of the skater or the board at that. Not only have I chose transparent images for the display of the decks graphics but as well the stickers that skaters choose to place on their boards which allow us to see where they were, are and maybe going.
Even Skate companies are going green, using recycled and compostable materials. The Broken Skateboard Series" is just another way of giving back to the Earth in a more creative way, a way that will hopefully influence others to use recycled materials to create a piece of art or anything at that.
“Broken Skateboards” “If everyone rode skateboards to work one day a week, we would have a much cleaner, healthier world.” - Michael Bream, CEO gravityboards.com
“Broken Skateboards” is about the illustration of a skater and the hardships that they must overcome, one being the broken deck. After days and hours of practice perfecting a trick, boards get broken and people get hurt. But, what happens to these broken decks? They get trashed! This project is a representation of the hard work done by the user of the broken boards and recycling them back to the earth in a creative and positive way.
One of my main influences would be the snowboarding industry, with magazines such as Transworld Snowboarding, Snowboarder and Pro Rider, the photographs captured my eyes and I began imaging what possibilities there could be. Living in San Francisco I do not get to see snow that often, so I have chosen the alternate sport of skateboarding due to it's accessibility. When I first arrived in the city I only messed around on skateboards, I really did not know how to ride them down the hills, I would normally sit on my but and go down. It has become a part of my life a substitute for lack of snow; my appreciation for the sport has grown bigger. I was always fascinated by skateboarders and found myself drawn to them. There is a culture out there and it involves every subculture, there are your punks that skate, hippies, jocks, businessmen and women, your everyday Joe, artists, underprivileged children who do the sport to escape their harsh living environments, it's a sport for everyone. Back in the day skateboarders were called troublemakers and punks, slackers, underachievers and illiterate. They were all stereotypes for the most part, for some they were true but not every skater fits the profile. A bad seed gone good; Christian Hosi was a well-known skater who had a drug addiction; now he has changed and is promoting a clean environment and positive realities. People like Tony Hawk who sponsors all kinds of events for skateboard awareness and helping to bring up young new talented riders. Tony Hawk and Christian Hosi helped to change the face of the skateboarding industry in a positive and influential way.
The skateboard ‘s identity is shown through the board without the skateboarder present; someone else would have used the skateboard or would not have been used at all. The skateboarder’s identity comes through the board. He sees himself through the skateboard representing his identity distilled into its basic components through symbols. The skateboarder chooses a certain board to express, him/herself through the chose of the graphic on the bottom of the deck. The marks from its scratches and scrapes, each one tells its own story like those of scars on the body, a Coat of Arms Shield or Military insignia. That’s where my broken skateboards come into play inspiration for the new generation. . These boards don’t have to get thrown away they can stay around for years to come, grand kids, great grand kids and children can one day look back on the board and think how cool so and so was.
The board would tend to get lost i.e. thrown away, stored away or just forgotten about. Something that meant so much at one point; gone just to be a faded memory. This can turn to the internal as I myself felt like trash just thrown away and forgot about, I became broken influenced by the heart held hostage even. But to be free truly free I needed to be broken, in that I found beauty. Beauty of myself inner and outer, the same thoughts cross my mind when talking about skateboarding; over looked and underappreciated both board and rider.
“Broken Skateboards” started out as a documentary of a day in the life of a San Francisco skateboarder. These transfers and configuration of the story line did not illustrate the repetitive nature of the sport meaning the trials and tribulations a skater had to undergo to master a trick. The skateboard itself is a graphical physical element of skateboarding through the design and graphic on the bottom/base of the deck. I transitioned the transfers to incorporate a single trick photographic series of the skateboarder completing the trick he broke his board mastering in a more graphical layout that illustrates the repetitiveness of the sport through a mirror image of the series. Although the design was much more uniform and organized enhanced the graphical nature of the sport, it did not do justice to the actual photograph itself or the skateboarder for that matter.
Through much debate and deliberation I have sub come to the idea of just incorporating the entire sequence or line in a layout more accustomed to the skateboard magazines such as Trasnworld and Skaterboarder and their articles that demonstrate how to learn a trick through a sequence of shots. Both the board and the skateboarder are visible to the viewer. The person the board is about comes forward and steps away from fading into the background as the previous designs have done. The board itself represents the repetitive nature of the sport in that it is in itself broken. How did it get that way? By many trials and attempts. The board color and the skater’s clothing connect them on a more personal level. One thing skaters are about is style when showing off a connection with the color of the board and the color they fly, not all boards will match the clothing of the skater but there will be a few that do all the time.
A problem that occurred when considering the methods of transfer was cost and waste. What was more feasible to transfer the images, the more economical and environmental friendly way! Through a series of experiments, tests and trials much like the skater must go through to conquer their trick I underwent until I came up with the final medium of using digital ground on plastic. This allowed me to not be as wasteful and allowed me to compose the images in Photoshop as oppose to by hand, transfer after transfer. The ability to create a full-length smooth skateboard image was ideal and gave the photograph a cleaner, more clear perspective of the skater and allowed the texture of the board to come forward and still accessible to touch.
Nature is a way of life, we need to give back to it and respect it. We all go through cycles that are ever changing. All material goods come from the earth through various processes. However, some of the things we make are harmful for our environment while others may not. We are using too many resources at a rapid rate. I have always had a respect for recycling and try my best to do so when possible. We take more from the earth than we give back. This thesis project will represent the idea of giving back to the earth in a positive and creative way. Skate companies are now setting out to help the environment with their “Go-Green” image by using less harmful yet recyclable materials, renewable energy sources for factory operations, using renewable resources such as hemp to replace the wood and collaborating with local manufacturers. Skateboarding is helping lead the pack to a cleaner earth.
I have enjoyed my development of skills acquired through personal experiences and education and I continue to build upon these tools everyday. The idea to combine my passion for photography and sports has pushed my project from just a skate photo to a new creative and more personal direction. Both of which have driven me to adapt and express myself in a new visually stimulating way of photography. Skateboards that have been rode so hard, they have broken and they have nothing better to do than go towards art. The idea of using the broken decks is the idea of giving back to the earth in a creative way and appreciating that which most neglect with grace. It will also illustrate the passion, determination and hard work that a skater puts forth to fulfill a goal. The use of digital ground on plastic gives the board a visual image that illustrates the trick that broke the board the original graphic and the skater. The final output consists of sixteen broken skateboard pieces. The shots were taken at variety of different times during the day, in skateparks, on streets in front of schools and in parks in and around the Bay Area. It is a fine art documentary project; much like piecing a puzzle together. The tricky part was incorporating the images in a way that is visually stimulating and also displays each photograph's own persona as well as the skater's.
This is a fine art project shot with the Canon 40D and 5D Mark II. The reason for the choice of the two cameras was that the photographs were shot with the equipment I personally owned at the different time periods of shooting. The reason for digital instead of film is that it allows me to capture more images then film, no one is perfect and tricks are at times hard to land, also because it is a more economical and greener then developing film and printing. The images are not large enough to lose resolution when printing on plastic using Digital Ground. Why this unique process? It reminds me that the process is painstakingly long and takes a toll on your printer but it is the process that makes it resemble the tricks of the skateboarder and the compiling of the images in Photoshop. The board represents the physical and the motion, the photograph represents the moment, frozen in time and place recalled step by step. This is a new experience that will help me grow as an artist and a person. As I step outside I visualize new ways of shooting and angles to shoot, extrusive time and the relationships my subject may have with nature. The idea of printing on broken skateboards is what makes my project unique. My thesis project creates a stronger passion for photography, skateboarding, the earth, art and how they can all work together to inspire a better tomorrow. It will influence people to take action through conservation and creative thinking as well as a positive and beneficial way of giving back to the earth. My skate photography will inspire action in people to do more.