All eyes on deck: The Skateroom INDEX-bound for first DUBAI SHOWCASE
A social enterprise that finishes skateboard decks with artworks of world famous artists is heading to INDEX.
The Skateroom was started in 2012 by Charles-Antoine Bodson, a skate fan who sold his massive personal collection of artist-adorned boards to get the firm rolling; and Oliver Percovich, an Afghanistan-based skater who’d five-years earlier launched Skateistan – a development initiative that combined skateboarding with education on the streets of Kabul, and has since spread internationally.
Its goal is to empower youth using art and skateboarding, with profits from board sales going towards Skateistan and other non-government organisations that back local and educational initiatives.
After collaborating with international artists, the skateboards are sold and used either as intended, or with their wheels removed and adorned on walls as stunning pieces of interior décor.
The Skateroom is heading to March’s INDEX on what will be their first visit to Dubai, so we caught up with the team to find out just exactly how they operate as a social enterprise, and what our visitors can expect from their stand…
Is this your first foray into Dubai? If so, are you excited by it?
We are eager to introduce our editions to Dubai, the main cultural hub of the Middle East. We are confident this opportunity will open many doors to explain our socially engaged business model and foster future collaboration with Middle Eastern artists to launch in partnership with regional cultural institutions in the years to come. We are also hoping to meet local artists and new distributors in the region.
How have your artist collaborations come about and who have you been most excited about working with?
It really depends! We make selections of artists we like and simply reach out to them, explaining our concept and mission. Sometimes, they contact us showing interest in doing a limited edition; sometimes we work with galleries and/or institutions who want to be part of the adventure.
One of our most exciting collaboration to date was with American artist Paul McCarthy, with an exclusive launch event at the MoMA in presence of the artist during the Armory Show in 2015. Through this collaboration we funded the entire construction of Skateistan’s new skate school facility in Johannesburg, South Africa, with US$250,000 raised.
We also work with the Andy Warhol Foundation, with who we share a very strong bond in promoting art to the greater public and helping those in need.
What is it about the deck of a skateboard that makes it work as an art piece for interiors? Why does it work so well?
We believe it’s like a 21st century totem. We specialise in doing triptychs (one image set across three decks) which ultimately have a format that works really well with interiors. Given the shape and material, it really pops out on a wall! The importance is also selecting artists and artworks that will work in a wide variety of environments (home, work, kids, adults, restaurants, hotels etc.)