There is little wonder why so many skateboarders make art. Both outlets serve similar purposes, they offer the access to freedom of expression and can both be solitary activities; the onus is on you to create, nobody else. ‘426㎡’ is a reflection of the community itself. The work conveys a diverse understanding of what it means to make art and how we as skateboarders don’t limit ourselves to any medium or subject matter. From Arran Gregory’s abstract use of geometry to Jon Horner’s playful characters, the art of skateboarding is as multifaceted as the culture that inspires it. ‘426㎡’ will display this diversity of creation in a two week exhibition, showcasing some of the most well respected artists and illustrators from skateboarding and beyond.
Questions people often ask skateboarders are ‘When did you start skating?’ or ‘Have you ever broken any bones?’. Skateboarders will remember these specific moments because they are important milestones . Another frequent question is ‘What was your first skateboard?’- Memories immediately flood back to your younger self, glaring at hundreds of skateboard decks with different sizes, different artwork; endless choices. It is at this point you have to decide the chosen one, objectively looking at the art on show, syphoning through each deck or ‘artwork’, until one captures your imagination. Of course other factors do come in to play, the riders on the team or have they just release a great video? However, none of that matters if the artwork isn’t up to scratch. From the beginning it is clear that art plays a pivotal role in the identity of skateboarders and it is no surprise that it has resulted in a diverse creative community. Featured artist Arran Gregory states; ‘I feel it's the ethos behind street skateboarding which carries with it the constant need to re appropriate what's before you and apply your own vision- that's like a catalyst for the creative mind.’
Southbank has been the beating heart of the London skate scene since 1973 and exists as the oldest continually skated spot in the world, frequented by people from across the UK and around the globe. It is a unique space where seasoned pros rub shoulders with local skate rats; a place where creative talent can be nurtured and allowed to thrive.
The title ‘426㎡’ takes its name from lost sections of Southbank long since hidden away from its skateboarding roots. Long Live Southbank has created a unique opportunity to breath new life into this hallowed ground; all 426㎡ of it. Artists from across the world who express themselves through different mediums and who all have a relationship with skateboarding, particularly Southbank, have contributed works to help raise the funds needed to open up historic sections of Southbank once again. All proceeds from ‘426㎡’ will go straight to the fundraising pot and ensure Southbank continues to inspire future generations of creative individuals.