What is skateboarding to you? For many, skateboarding is merely defined as the board with four wheels.
For those who skate, they will tell you that skateboarding is more. Skateboarding is life and the pursuit of a creative passion that leads them to finding ways to express themselves artistically throughout the skatepark or through actual art.
In 2005, legendary skateboarders Pat Ngoho, Lance Mountain and Steve Olson started an art show series called Love + Guts. The Love + Guts art show symbolizes the parallel between skateboarding and art and was a main feature point throughout the Dew Tour in Long Beach, June 29-July 1, 2018.
“Skateboarding is an expression in creativity,” said Pat Ngoho. “This group (Love + Guts) is a group of friends first, skateboarders second and artists third. We found joy in skateboarding and the art of creativity in designing new tricks and ways of skating. We have always retained that DNA of being artists and through the years it has translated into the art we draw and paint. It was so natural to create an art collective.”
Since its’ inception in 2005, Love + Guts has exhibited in Brazil, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and throughout the US and Europe. Love + Guts other artist include Steve Alba, Christian Hosoi, C.R. Stecyk III and Steve Caballero.
“I am not an artist, I am a skateboarder,” said Lance Mountain. “I would draw and paint when I was younger, but this is different. I have always seen my art as an extension of my skateboarding. Skateboarding was my first and purest true art form. In skateboarding there are no specified court or arena dimensions that must be adhered to. You did not have to try out or be a specific speed to be able to play. Every skate course, park or sidewalk is different. It is a blank canvas waiting to be created through your expression of skateboarding. You can do whatever you want with that open canvas.”
Sometimes the art of the canvas and the art of the skateboarding would blend together as one.
“Early on in my career, one of the companies I skated for allowed me to draw the graphics on my board,” said Mountain. “I would use drawings that my son created when he was five. It was a personal expression of my life using the art of my son and my creations of art that would replicate his drawings. Skateboarding is much more than contests. Skateboarding is a place that allows for creativity. Skateboarding has grown and evolved through so many phases. Just like art has. The parallels that exist between skateboarding and art are numerous and waiting to be explored on a personal level. Every person is different.”
Even though the course or skatepark is a static feature, every skater views the course differently.
“The concrete has been built for over 100 years by people, but it took the mind of a child to figure out what to do with it.” – C.R. Stecyk III
From his transformative articles in Skateboarder Magazine in the 70’s to his innovative developments of the Z-Boys skate team, Stecyk III is as influential in the growth of skateboarding as anyone out there.
“Skateboarding like life, is a performance art supplying context to our daily lives,” said Stecyk III. “Every piece of art is different, just like every skateboarder is different. Art is self expression and so is skateboarding. In many ways it is also a unifying experience. Skateboarding and art create dialogue. You learn about people and bond over commonalities. In a time where there is so much divisiveness, having a place that can unify and allow for self expression and appreciation of ones personal self is desperately needed. Since I began skating in 1958, skateboarding has done nothing but change and progress for the better. If by showcasing the art and our skating influences another person to find an outlet for their passions then we have succeeded.”
The art is more than just skateboarding. Each piece of art showcases the life and interests of each of the skaters that adds a human element.
“We are more than just skateboarders,” said Ngoho. “Each of our pieces represent important parts of our lives and the history of our lives in the sport and the opportunities it has brought us. Lance (Mountain) pays homage to his family and the sport. I have an abstract nature to mine. Steve (Caballero) shows his love for other sports including motor sports and Christian (Hosoi) brings his faith to his art. Diversity is what makes art so great. It can teach us a lesson that you do not have to conform to one state of being. You can enjoy all aspects of life and find a way to show your own personal passions and find common ground with others.”
Encouraging others to be themselves is a theme deeply rooted in the Love + Guts art showcase.
“Everything in life reflects our personalities and attitude and it shows in many different ways,” said Christian Hosoi. “Skateboarding allowed you to build an identity. Skateboarding is a lifestyle. It breeds commitment and dedication. Art is the same way. You have to be committed to applying the concepts of creativity, commitment and dedication to whatever art form you pick be it canvas art, music, fashion and even skating. Love + Guts allows us to showcase our lives. We connect to the community through the raw nature of what we do. Thats a connection that is hard to replicate. Having a strong raw emotional connection encouraging others to be who they are brings everyone closer together. We want to create that emotional inspirational message to move people.”