Skateboards are for skateboarding, which is an art in itself, but the painting and decorating of skateboard decks has become a fascinating subset of contemporary street culture.
The style ranges from spraypainted urban graffiti to 60s-style Op Art to epic, elaborate portraits and landscapes that wouldn’t look out of place on the back of a customised surfing van.
This deck is by a Cape Town artist who calls herself Motel 7, and who got her start painting walls in Woodstock and shacks in Khayelitsha. Her style is Punk Gothic, with a touch of Mexican Día de Muertos and wide-eyed Japanese Manga.
The deck doesn’t have wheels, which is just as well, because otherwise I might be tempted to take it for a ride, and that wouldn’t end well.
Skateboarding, like Hip Hop, Heavy Metal, Punk, Southern Rock, and Vinyl Records, is one of those 70s cultural phenomena that just won’t go away, proving my pet theory that the Seventies were the greatest decade in the history of style, even though it didn’t much feel like it at the time.