Offbeat

Japanese Artist Haroshi Creates Art from Old Skateboards

Haroshi

                                                                                        Image: Lacoste / Facebook

For artists, and fashion designers as well, it’s not uncommon to use recycled products for their projects. It could be anything from making jeans out of plastic bottles or turning keyboards into shoes. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that an artist has been using skateboards and making them into art.

Japanese artist Haroshi has spent the last ten years making amazingly detailed wooden sculptures out of old, thrashed and broken skateboards. Since Haroshi has been an avid skateboarder since his teens, he’s familiar with all the parts of the skateboard deck, such as the shape, concave, truck, and wheels. He also regrets throwing away any of the broken skateboard parts, so he decided to use them in art pieces.

To Haroshi, his art pieces are equal to his skateboards, and that means they are his life itself. They’re his communication tool with both himself, and the outside world.

Haroshi’s signature three-dimensional wooden mosaic sculptures involve a lengthy process which first includes handpicking each piece of the board that he wants to use. He then layers the pieces on top of each other, cuts them down to size, shaves off excess debris and paints his creation. The process concludes when it is coated with a glossy finish.

This creative style is similar to the way traditional wooden Japanese Great Buddhas are built. In Japan, 90% of Buddha statues are carved and built from wood using the wooden mosaic. This is done save money on materials, and also to minimize the weight of the statue. Both of these factors go hand in hand with Haroshi’s style of using skateboards as a means of recycling.

Haroshi also gives each piece a “soul” by inserting a metal piece that has broken off from a skateboard. This is reminiscent of Japanese sculptors of Buddhas since the 12th Century who would give their statue a heart by placing a crystal ball inside.

Earlier this year, Haroshi debuted his latest show, “Virtual Reality,” at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York City. The show payed homage to Plan B’s legendary second skate video and there’s a cool interview with the man himself conducted by X Games. It’s worth a read.

And, here’s a video that captures the meticulous process followed by Haroshi:

For more info on Haroshi, and the latest updates on his art, check out his site Haroshi.com.

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