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'NO TREND' Explores a Group of Skaters Who Also Make Art

A group exhibition at the Ace Hotel New York explores the phenomenon of the skateboarder-artist.

The connection between skating and having an art practice is a curious match made in creative heaven. NO TREND, an ongoing exhibition at the New York outpost of the Ace Hotel, showcases the work of seven talented skaters who are artists, too.

A varied smattering of works fill a corner of the hotel. Photography, arguably the medium with the most direct connections to skateboarding understandably makes the most appearances, with highlights including portraits of skate legends Mark Gonzales and Steve Rodriguez by Cole Giordano and Allen Ying, respectively, and a large, vibrant shot of skaters bombing down a hill in India during sunrise by Jonathan Mehring. 1:1 casts of Air Jordans by Lou Sarowsky and an intricate graphic work of white-washed Trump supports by Winston Tseng are also in the mix as well.


Waiting To See How We Fucked Up 'Merica Again, Winston Tseng, 2017. All photos by Ben Sisto and courtesy of the artists.

A lot of these works relate directly and in some cases indirectly to skateboarding. "If you're a part of skateboarding, it's just a part of how you are wired. You can't stop thinking about it and it influences you, sometimes without being aware," tells Anthony Pappalardo, the curator of NO TREND (and a skater in his own right).

Collages by Tyrell Winston

The mystery of the ubiquitous skater-artist hybrid is a curious one. Pappalardo has his own opinion on the matter: "As far as skaters ending up in visual arts, it's partly that skateboarding—outsider of the competitive circuit—is very much a visual and performing art, and documentation is a massive part of it," he explains. "The people who film, photograph, and document the entire process, as well as create graphics or art direct are just as integral as the people on their boards, so for a lot of skateboarders, getting into fine art or sculpture is just another medium within their practice."

(left) Mark Gonzales shot by Cole Giordano, (right) Steve Rodriguez shot by Allen Ying

But the curator argues against the automatic labelling of these individuals as artists: "That being said, I think all of us really resist the tag of 'artist', because it's so common for people that are into skating to get in on this 'self-expression' thing after being in it for a while," adds Pappalardo. "I guess it's a lot like musicians who suddenly decide they are painters, kind of forgetting that some devote their entire life to mastering the arts. Have you seen Ringo Starr's paintings? That shit is exactly what I'm talking about."


Air Jordan casts and painting by Lou Sarowsky

(left) Skate the World by Jonathan Mehring, (right) portraits by Pep Kim

NO TREND installation view, 2017

NO TREND will be showcasing the art of skateboarders at Ace Hotel New York until Sunday, March 26.


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