Haroshi’s Sculptures Turn Broken Skateboards into Art
By Sami Emory
Japanese artist Haroshi has stepped off his board and into the studio once again for his new series of repurposed skate deck sculptures. Still Pushing Despite The Odds, his third solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, features the self-taught artist’s statuesque reflections upon the resilience of skateboarders amid their daily grinds. Through the sculptures’ subtle color schemes and minutely carved details, the show is as much a tribute to Haroshi’s own background as a skateboarder as it is to the sport as an art form.
Throughout his painstakingly precise craft process—likened to the ancient technique used to sculpt Japanese Great Buddhas—Haroshi individually selects and then stacks skateboard decks into a solid, glued cube of recycled wood. Then, the artist chisels, carves, and shreds the boards, extracting from each shapeless block animals, faces, and even cars. Finally, he gives each sculpture a “soul” by hiding within it an old piece of one of his own, broken boards.
As a complement to his sculptures, Haroshi is staging his show in an environment of recycled relics. According to the press release, "In Still Pushing Despite the Odds, Haroshi incorporated articles of low-technology from the early to mid-1900s. Vintage items such as neon signs, dental tools and roller skates create a striking textural contrast when paired with the smooth silhouette of the skate decks and illustrate the artist’s passion for innovation."
Below, a selection of works from Still Pushing Despite The Odds: