Haroshi's work first came to my attention in 2010 when he was commissioned by Nike CEO Mark Parker to use his unique style to create a sculpture of the iconic Nike Dunk. Haroshi makes pop art from pop culture and in particular the skateboard deck, he uses used decks to recreate other objects, the result is impressive to say the least. The concept might sound simple, or even a little contrived, but the result is so well crafted you can't help but become fascinated. I spoke to Haroshi about his art.
Adam Bryce: Tell us how your interest in skateboarding began?
Haroshi: Seniors at school and friends were already skating and it seemed very cool to me!That's why I started.
AB: And your first experience with art?
H: What could that be? Maybe woodwork I used to do when I was a kid? I would make that with my grandfather. Since I always was sickly and often hospitalized, so I was always inside producing something.
AB: Did you always want to be an artist?
H: I have always thought that people known as artists were special. I thought they just exist in books and that's why I have never admired them. Not the least to become one myself!
AB: Your skateboard sculptures have become very popular and iconic of your work? What do you think about the fact that this is how people know of you?
H: It makes me very happy! There is nothing that could make me happiest than having more people to look at my works.
AB: Where did the idea come from to work with skateboards as a medium?
H: To tell the truth my parter looked at old boards that I used to ride piled up in a corner of the room and wondered if something interesting could done out of them. I thought there couldn't be anything interesting in that, but when I started it was actually fun. Even now I create together with my partner.
AB: The shoe sculpture you created for Mark Parker at Nike was the first time I had seen your work, how did that project come about?
H: I got an e-mail directly from Mark. At first I thought it was a joke. Maybe this is a cheat? LOL. But then I told Mark that I wanted to make DUNK by using decks from pro riders at NIKE. After that those decks were really shipped, so it wasn't a lie and I got convinced. I was asked to produce a DUNK sneaker but I created an all used-up DUNK because that the most cool image I have on skate shoes.
AB: By bringing skateboarding to art, it makes art more accessible to everyone, do you think this is important in this day and age - to cut down the barrier of fine art and traditional wealthy art buyers and open up art to everyone?
H: I don't have such high visions. What I want to say is that there are brilliant things, even more than selling something for 1 million at Christie's, or even more than something that costs one thousand USD. In simple words, I don't care about fine art or street art.
AB: What are you working on next?
H: It's a secret. But I'm creating something sick!
AB: The colors of your sculptures almost seem uniform with each piece, is this planned or an organic process?
H: I am just producing works that I like.
AB: What makes skateboarding culture so important to you?
H: That's the culture that made me become an adult. If I didn't meet with a skateboard and it became culture in my life, I think it would have been so sad. My friends wouldn't be there, and I wouldn't have done art. My life is about that!
Photographer - Images courtesy of Haroshi