Haroshi Skateboard Decks

Haroshi Skateboard Decks

Haroshi, a Japanes based artist lends talent to On Deck skatepark fundraiser

By Cory Walsh

The On Deck 8 opening reception will be held on First Friday, May 3, from 5 to 10 p.m. at the Brink Gallery, 111 W. Front St. A selection of about 45 skateboards will be up for auction to benefit the Montana Skatepark Association. Online bidding started on April 21 at montanaskatepark.org/ondeck and will continue at the gallery.

His most flamboyant artwork at this year’s On Deck skateboard auction won’t be for sale, but it will be worth a look: “Skull,” by Japan-based artist Haroshi is a wooden mosaic of a cranium, crafted entirely from used skateboard decks. The unbroken horizontal layers even include full eye sockets.

The teeth are actually made from skateboard wheels,” said Chris Bacon, president of the nonprofit Montana Skatepark Association. The piece, part of a January exhibition at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York City, is on loan for the auction, although it’s not up for bid.

The braincase of many colors will be on view at the Brink Gallery on Friday, May 3, along with about 45 custom decks tricked out by artists from Montana and across the United States. Those pieces of repurposed art will be available for auction, benefiting the Montana Skatepark Association.

In its eighth year, the fundraiser’s proceeds will go toward an expansion at the MoBash Skatepark.

Bacon said the new features will be modeled after a renowned spot for street skating in San Francisco. The “China Banks” replication in Missoula will have steep brick walls that allow for better flow in that corner of the park, Bacon said. He added that “As a skateboarder, it’s going to be kind of a unique feature.”

The banks were actually part of the park’s original design, but the construction was postponed because the organizers didn’t want the construction of the entire park delayed by one facet, Bacon said.

In addition to “Skull,” Haroshi also contributed a deck for the auction. “100% Skateboarder Gradation” shares a mosaic motif and color palette.

“There were local people that are really big supporters of On Deck, and they have acquired some Haroshi pieces and they kind of loaned them to us for the show,” Bacon said. He added that: “As an organization, Haroshi has been really excited about what we’re doing,.”

The other decks cover the spectrum from street art to expressionist brushstrokes to high-end graphic design.

Robert Mars, a graduate of the Parsons School of Design who’s based in New York, contributed a deck called “Freedom,” that incorporates ’50s-style typography and sign art.

There’s also a visually rich piece by Matthew Curry of Washington, D.C. His design work for the electronic act Thievery Corporation has won numerous awards. Two of those projects were nominated for Grammys for best record packaging.

Will Beardless, a Montana native now based in Portland, Ore., contributed a hypermodern-looking collage of abstract images.

While bids have been open online, they’re not the best indication of what might occur at the gallery on Friday.

“The night of, the bidding really kind of takes off,” Bacon said. “There’s always some surprise ones. Some of the boards just look better in person than you can tell online.”

Entertainer editor Cory Walsh can be reached at 523-5261 or at cory.walsh@lee.net.

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