As a teenager artist Brian Alfred, who has done murals for Rag & Bone is known for his paintings, animation and collages of the role of technology in society, was deeply embedded in skate culture. “I loved the stickers, the shirts, the graffiti, the magazines, all that stuff,” says Alfred. In 2011 Alfred started a Brooklyn-based company called Woodpoint & Kingsland that fused art and commerce, partnering with artists “to create a platform for art and clothing to merge.” Alfred recently found a way incorporate his passion for skateboarding with Woodpoint & Kingsland with a series of artist-designed skate decks.
“Artists designing skateboards has been done before, but we really wanted to take it to the next level,” says Alfred.
So the Alfred called on artists in his inner circle like Diana Al-Hadid, Kevin Appel, Jacob Hashimoto, Laurel Nakadate and Tomokazu Mastuyama and gave them free reign. He also went beyond that, expanding into reaching out to artists whose work he admired, along with younger, emerging artists. “I try to be diverse in the artists I choose — abstract painters, figurative painters, photographers, sculptors,” says Alfred. “If I respond to the work and feel it would make a good fit, I try to make it happen.”
Jacob Hashimoto painted a bright, graphic flower-inflected design, while Laurel Nakadate came up with a more involved concept. “She had the idea to have one of her photographs printed out on the deck, then did a performance handing the deck back and forth with her hands covered in black paint,” explains Alfred. “The result was a hand printed deck on both sides over the photo.” Diana Al-Hadid took the remnants of her sculptural pieces and incorporated them on to her skate deck. “It’s so thick and dense,” says Alfred. “It also is a good example of how the artists just seem to come at the project in a slightly different way that their normal work”. Alfred also participated in the skate deck series, painting a clear blue sky over an airport on his board.
Ranging from $400 to $3,000 each, these one-of-a-kind decks are much more affordable than buying an actual canvas or sculpture by the artists. Just don’t try to do any Darkside Grinds, Pop Shove-Its or Ollies on them — unless you don’t mind damaging the art. “I doubt too many people who would buy a one-of -a -kind handmade deck would skate it, but that said, not one artist has expressed the desire for them not to be used,” says Alfred.
For more information, visit woodpointandkingsland.com.