The Skateboard as Artistic Springboard

As a mainstream pastime it’s waxed and waned for many decades, but skateboarding as an obsession always re-emerges, and along with it, the singular skating culture that prizes grit, street style, and the independent spirit. In a new exhibit, The Skateboard: Re-purposed, Parker Gallery at Tryon Fine Arts Center features work from artists who are local (Jonathan Caple), from around the country, and from around the world (Nicholas Harding of England, Folke Duncker of Germany). Cresting the latest wave — skateboard art was part of a Sotheby’s auction in 2019, and the sport entered the Olympics in 2020 — the contributing skater-makers present decks (the skateboard without the wheels) and other skateboard components in many forms. The “canvas” is miniaturized, maximized, etherealized, and decontextualized in sculpture, nature art, wall art, chairs, photos — even a crocheted piece. TFAC coordinators Debra Torrence and Monica Stevenson call the worldwide effort “a synergy of vibrant outsider art … in a one-of-a-kind exhibit.”

The Skateboard: Re-purposed opens at the Parker Gallery at Tryon Fine Arts Center (34 Melrose Ave., Tryon) on Wednesday, June 1 and runs through the end of July. The opening reception is Thursday, June 9, 5-7pm, featuring local skateboard artist Jonathan Caple. For more information, call 828-859-8322 or visit tryonarts.org. 

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