Subliminal Projects' New Show Explores the History of Creative Culture in Skateboarding

May 19, 2018 - Jun 16, 2018Subliminal Projects, Los Angeles

Subliminal Projects' latest is a skate-art retrospective titled DIY: The History of Creative Culture in Skateboarding, curated and created by Jürgen Blümlein of FauxAmi Exhibitions and The Skateboard Museum (Berlin), Todd Huber of Skatelab, the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, and FACT. The exhibition will feature skateboards, clothing, zines, various ephemera and artifacts integral to the legacy of DIY culture in skateboarding. In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, Subliminal Projects founder Shepard Fairey will release a limited edition print.

"This D.I.Y. skateboarding art show is very personal for me. I began drawing when I was little, but the real turning point in my life is when I started skateboarding and listening to Punk rock in 1984. At the time there was a very punk, D.I.Y. (Do-It-Yourself) mentality in the culture of skateboarding. Skateboarding provided a physical and creative outlet for my aggression and frustration. Early on I made my first stencil. I had decided that the factory graphics on my board were too slick so I painted my board fluorescent orange and spray-painted a black Thrasher stencil on the bottom of the board. I had cut the stencil with a kitchen knife and soon I realized that I could use paper cut stencils not only for spray-painting but also for screen-printing. Basically, D.I.Y. skateboarding led me to the art techniques and “question everything” mentality that have been the foundation of my work ever since." –Shepard Fairey

The skateboard of today is an evolution from its original makeshift creation by scrappy and inventive adolescents who took wooden boxes, or boards and attached roller skate wheels to the bottom. As the skateboard itself began to evolve into a commercial product, self-adornment of the boards was common, as kids desired to create their own identities and make their boards distinctive.

By the 1970’s, skateboard culture had developed not just as a sport, but as a creative community of subversives. Artists such as Wes Humpston and Jeff Ho hand-painted their boards, and skateboard graphics became an intrinsic part of subculture.

During the 1980’s, the industry’s popularity took a turn and the death of commercial skate parks across the country lead to the emerging scene of DIY backyard ramps and sidewalk jump-ramps, setting the platform for street skating, which dominated the scene in the 1990’s.

Skateboarding has always been associated with counter-culture and disruption, regardless of the ebbs and flows of its popularity. As a byproduct of that mindset, an ethos of anti-establishment and anti-mainstream commercialism has remained a constant; this attitude is not only expressed through the act of skateboarding itself, but in the form self-published zines, DIY clothing and brands built out of garages, design, fine art and music. DIY: The History of Creative Culture in Skateboarding is a tribute to the skaters, artists, writers, and musicians who utilized the Do-it-yourself philosophy to pave the way for a unique culture to emerge worldwide.

The exhibition was made possible and sponsored by Vans.


Andy Howell, Andy Jenkins, Andy Takakjian, Bill Barminski, Brian Flynn, Cap10, Chad Muska, Claus Grabke, Dan Adams, Dan MacFarlane, Dave the Chimp, Dietsches O.M.S.A, Dirk Jacobs, Dirk Vogel, Duane Peters, Eric Jacobs, Flying Fortress, Fritz Klein, Garry Scott Davis, Glen E. Friedman, Gonzalo Azumendi, Grant Brittain, Harry Blitzstein, Henry Davis, Herr Schulze, Jason Adams, Jason Jessee, Jeff Ho, Jeremy Fish, Joachim YoYo Schutz, John “Parky” Parkinson, Johnny “KMNDZ” Rodriguez, Julia Gröning, Keith Haring, Lance Mountain, Marc McKee, Mark Gonzales, Matt Groening, Matthias Bauer, Mike Ernst, Natas Kaupas, Nathan Pratt, Neil Blender, Oliver Scheibler, Pasha Sorokin, Paul Sunman, Pelle, Ralf Kussowski, Ray Flores, Ron Cameron, RxCx, Sean Cliver, Sebastian Palmer, Shepard Fairey, Simon Woodstock, Skot Werner / Sacred Tee´s, Spank., Starsky, Steve Alba, Steve Caballero, Steve Olson, Steve Saiz, Stëvil Kinëvil, Tim Leighton Boyce, Todd Bratrud, Ulrich Kattenstroth, Vince Tattu, Wallride, and more.