"For those who are not already aware, SkatePal is a charity that aims to spread the love of skateboarding in Palestine.
Since 2013 they have been building skateparks and providing skateboarding lessons to young people across the West Bank. The charity works with local communities to help provide access to new equipment and tools, as local skateboarders currently rely on donations from outside the country.
Earlier this year, we teamed up with SkatePal and arranged one of the first ever skate trips to Palestine. The plan was to run a skate workshop and perform a demo for the kids at SkatePal’s park in Asira Al-Shamaliya. Alongside this, we aimed to skate around various cities and towns in the West Bank with some of the local skaters. To help provide a comprehensive insight to the trip, Sam Ashley at Free skate mag interviewed the Isle team, cinematographer Jacob Harris, Charlie Davis and Theo Krish from SkatePal – and some of the local Palestinian skaters that joined us during our time there."
(words by Sam Ashley at Free Skateboard Magazine)
If you haven't seen it yet, check out our special collaboration Curiosities board designed for SkatePal. 100% of the board sale profits will go to SkatePal, so grab one and support an incredibly worthy cause.
For our latest Artist Series, Isle has worked with Oliver Laric on a set of eight boards and three tees. The Austrian-born artist currently resides in Berlin and his recent work explores the additional value that arises through copying and cultural transfer.
Nick Jensen spoke with Oliver Laric about his work in an exclusive interview for Solo Skate Mag. Read an excerpt below, along with images of the new Isle boards and then continue the journey at oliverlaric.com
"Have you ever seen it on YouTube when people perform over their favourite hits? I always thought – why do they do that? I would be embarrassed, but perhaps if I considered myself to be a cool and talented rapper/singer, then I would think otherwise. This came to me when I saw Oliver Laric’s first solo exhibition in London back in 2008. He compiled multiple YouTube clips of amateur acolytes rapping over 50 Cent’s In Da Club, Candy Shop and How We Do. It made me laugh and drew me in – I was fascinated. Oliver brings new relationships to things that I would have otherwise missed. I admire his work and I am delighted to be working with him on our next series for Isle."
– Nick Jensen
Hi Oliver, I remember when I contacted you, you already knew about Isle – and you have quite an extensive knowledge about skateboarding in general. Did you use to skate? And what interests you about it?
I was skating from when I was 11 until I was 16 or 17 and it was central to my life. It all ended with a complicated fracture of my right arm. At some point, I did have naive ambitions to become pro, which never became a reality, so doing board graphics now is a delayed dream come true.
Who are your favorite skaters?
While I was still skating, I was following Jamie Thomas, Brian Anderson, Kareem Campbell, Tom Penny, and Ricky Oyola, among others. As of late, I enjoy watching Bryan Herman, Neen Williams, Lem Villemin, Tom Knox, and Diego Najera, among others.
Most of the artworks you chose for the Isle boards are from your Transformation and Kopienkritik series. Why did you choose these?
The motifs depict transitional moments, somewhere between A and B, that are inherently adaptable, so they can simultaneously exist as skateboard graphics, sculptures, and videos.
Were there any problems or new opportunities in translating your existing artworks?
The vertical format is not easy at all and I do have a different appreciation for regular board designers from this experience.
A lot of your work involves animation. Characters morph from one state into another. Has it been a challenge to use elements from your animations as static images for the boards? Does skateboarding bring a different kind of momentum to your ideas?
A still from a video omits information, but it also has potential to produce speculative information. I like the idea that a single moment in time can imply an imagined before and after.
Does the worth of an artwork, the monetary as well as the artistic, differ whether it’s printed on a skateboard or it is a photo print/sculpture in a gallery? And do you enjoy the thought that people will be sliding and marking your artworks now?
I’m very excited to see how the graphics will change through that kind of usage. My favorite public monuments tend to be those that don’t exist in a vacuum but keep getting modified by nature or graffiti. To me, there is no predefined hierarchy of values between the different iterations of the work from skateboard to museum.
Walter Benjamin argued in his famous essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction that reproducing an artwork through printing or photography was to take away from its aura. Do you think about artworks in terms of aura?
I completely disagree with that thought. If anything, reproduction seems to amplify aura. Every T-shirt, lighter, and napkin depicting the Mona Lisa acts as an invitation to make that pilgrimage to the Louvre.
I feel like skaters relate aura to style. A certain thing that can’t be reproduced. There is only one Gino, for example. Do you agree?
People certainly seem to attempt the reproduction of style. I felt like that was the case when Tom Penny appeared. I noticed an influx of skaters trying very hard to look relaxed. Every skater emulating Tom Penny seems to amplify his aura. It’s hard to articulate style and even harder to quantify, which might be the issue with formats such as SLS.
The increase in new technology and the accessibility of information has changed skateboarding dramatically. Do you think this changes the quality of our experiences?
I wonder if there are any studies on the effects of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on technical progression in skating and if there has been an observable increase of multi-trick-ledge-combos in skate videos following the release of the game. There are obvious benefits to accessibility, but I guess there is an element of pressure to participate and a continuous need to document and spread material that demands affirmation.
Read the rest of the interview at Solo now: http://www.soloskatemag.com/en/oliver-laric
Fresh from the lens of Jacob Harris, the Atlantic Drift series is back again. Tune in to the fifth episode below...
And just in case you wanted to see them all again, the previous four episodes are below...
The Carhartt WIP x Isle Skateboards x Raphaël Zarka project launched last Thursday at the Protein Studios in London.
An unconventional encounter between maths, art and skateboarding, the exhibition utilises film, sculpture and photography, documenting a series of performances, at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Institute of Contemporary Art of Singapore and Sainte-Croix Museum in Poitiers.
The project originated with Carhartt WIP approaching us to work on a collaborative collection. To bring the vision to life and add a unique aspect to the project, we invited artist and fellow skateboarder, Raphaël Zarka to get involved. Raphael had been researching the work of 19th Century mathematician Arthur Moritz Schoenflies, who had developed his own three dimensional models. These specifically captivated Zarka's attention, inspired with their sculptural potential and inspiring his own work which featured within the event space, surrounded by large format images of Isle team riders Sylvain Tognelli, Nick Jensen and Chris Jones.
As an added element, Dan Magee created PAVING SPACE: an unconventional encounter between maths, art and skateboarding. The film documents the series of performances, with behind the scenes insights from both Raphael and the skaters. See the trailer below – we'll post the full edit up shortly.
Chris Jones turned pro for Isle at Colin Read's 'Spirit Quest' premiere in London last night, much to the delight of everyone in attendance. Aside from being one of the nicest guys out there, Chris has continually put in time killing it on his board and we're extremely proud to add him to our pro roster. His two new boards are due to hit stores in the next couple of weeks.
Chris's section in 'Spirit Quest' should serve as a reminder just how good he is: be sure to check out the film when it drops shortly, as it's one of the best we've seen. Thanks to all who everyone who helped out (Wes, Bryce, Fraser, Jacob, just to name a few) and everyone who attended the showing and the after party.