The first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency are behind us. As during the inauguration, the art world reacts. Contemporary art brand The Skateroom unveiled two limited edition collections by artists Ai Weiwei and Shepard Fairey, who created artworks on skate decks to support art institutions and non-profit projects that empower children through skateboarding and the arts. Launching on the occasion of Art Market San Francisco, taking place this weekend in California, the two renowned creatives gave life to new pieces which involve two of their most famous images created in the past.
As one of the most famous artists-activists in the world, Ai Weiwei created his series of images titled Study of Perspective, as a comment on the authoritarian state of our society. In these pictures, he flips the bird at multiple buildings and monuments of various importance, whether landmarks or government institutions. Here, we see him showing the middle finger to the White House, now presented through a set of three skate decks, in a limited edition run of 666 hand screen-printed 7-ply Canadian maple skateboards, of which the first 66 will be hand-signed by the artist.
The sale of these Ai Weiwei skate decks will support B’Tselem, an organization which promotes respect for human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories through a variety of means, as well as Halklarin köprüsü (Bridging Peoples), a non-profit charity and solidarity association based in Turkey whose purpose is to assist in fighting the struggle against all sorts of ‘otherism’, hate speech, discrimination, racism, nationalism, sexism and denominationalism.
On the collaboration, Ai Weiwei comments: “My favorite word is 'act'. I am partnering with the Skateroom for that very reason. During the filming of ‘Human Flow’, my documentary on the global refugee condition, I had the opportunity to speak with individuals from both B'Tselem and the Bridging Peoples Association in Turkey. What these two organizations do is very valuable to society, both in fighting against injustice and in helping those that are unfortunate.”
Earlier this year, he released a poster campaign under the name We The People, on Donald Trump’s inauguration day. Now, Shepard Fairey created a limited edition series of decks by adapting one of his existing artworks too - No Future, which denounces the hate speech and propaganda delivered to an often uninformed or misinformed public. His edition for The Skateroom is available in limited edition run of 450 hand screen-printed 7-ply Canadian maple skateboards.
Commenting on this collaboration, Shepard Fairey said: ”The Skateroom collaboration is an evolution of the DIY silk screened skateboard I began making in the 90’s, as an art canvas that could go on four wheels or a wall. These new boards are more refined art pieces, but the spirit of skateboard culture is what drives this new collaboration. ‘No Future’ is a response to the election of Trump. My art is usually social and political regardless of who is in the White House, but my concerns and frustrations are amplified by the election of Donald Trump. I joked while Trump was campaigning that his slogan should be ‘Manifest Density’, a parody of ‘Manifest Destiny’, which was an embarrassingly egotistical pronouncement by rich white men that it was God’s desire for them to conquer ocean to ocean in the territory that would become the United States. Trump appealed to an uninformed electorate who looked for scapegoats and were driven by most likely one or more of the dark impulses listed in the image. I’m pushing for a future where those impulses have no place and definitely no traction. Let’s move forward, not backward!”
Both collections will be available to buy exclusively from The Skateroom online store and during Art Market San Francisco.
All images courtesy The Skateroom.