Last updated on 02 Dec 2020 - 3 min read
“I don’t think it’s a sport as such. It’s a lifestyle and it’s one which promotes creativity and individualism.” – Sonny Day, Designer
Skateboarding culture is a huge grey area when it comes to public opinion, some people love it, some people hate it; what can not be denied, however, is the creative effect it has had in many of today’s creative outlets. Music, fashion, art and videography have all been affected by skateboarding culture in some way or another. You wouldn’t think that a sport well known for its stereotype of being up to no good could spark such a creative impact in many areas however for me personally it did just that. What does this have to do with individuality? Everything.
The art of a skateboard is for the individual and is a way to express themselves. Skaters have great connections to their boards, they know that it is part of their own identity. If you look at any pro’s style, you see that every deck is a reflection of them. A perfect example being the difference between Nyjah Huston and Lizzie Armento; both professional skaters with very different creative forms of art and style.
Nyjah Huston being sponsored by Element Skateboards and Lizzie Armento being sponsored by Birdhouse Skateboards each have very different deck designs representing them and their personality. Nyjah having a more minimal and clean look to his decks while Lizzie has more of a full art look. An even better example is Tony Hawk, also sponsored by Birdhouse Skateboards and having his own line of countless deck designs all representing him. The skull bird is a staple for not only Birdhouse but for Tony Hawk, that is his design and identity, if I go in a shop and see a skull bird on a deck my first thought is Tony Hawk. The deck designs are just the beginning, people have their favourite brands, styles and art that can all be mix and matched to the individual.
I am one of those individuals, skateboarding culture has been apart of me for the majority of my life and has affected my taste in all things creative. Being the impressionable 5-year-old playing Tony Hawk’s pro skater with his older brother having to take in every trick, every song, every clothing choice and most importantly every deck design(can I just say that tony hawk still has some of the best soundtracks for games to this day); it kick-started my exploration of all things creative, every brand has their own styles to represent them. Santa Cruz with the screaming hand which is insanely iconic, Thrasher with their flames and the checkerboard of Vans; they’re all iconic. I am only able to speak from my experience but without skateboarding, I wouldn’t have experienced a whole subculture of individuality and creative artform, playing Tony Hawk’s with my brother was just an introduction to what would hold many opportunities for myself.
It introduced me to videography and video editing, the first video I ever created was clips I recorded myself on a flip camera down the local skatepark and most importantly it introduced me to design, I would always design my own decks with my own style(weren’t ever very good but the thought was there). I still remember the first deck my parents brought me, a World Industries deck that had a little red devil with a smiley face in the middle and that was it, I worshipped it. It was a very minimal design and to this day minimal designs are my go-to.
Skateboarding is a sport like nothing else, it promotes creativity and free-thinking. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I am positive it is the same for many others and many more to come. It is a culture built around creative individuals, whether it is designing a brand new deck on Photoshop, adding stickers to their board or even painting on a board instead of a canvas; it is an art form to be reckoned with. Without the creativity and artistic freedom, I don’t think the culture would’ve had the same impact as it has had in today’s climate. Skateboarding isn’t the only sport that expresses creativity however it is the one I know. I hope people continue to appreciate and evolve the art, it’s always fun to see what the next creative trends are.