Skateboarding is a physical art, one steeped in interaction with the physical environment. Whether that exploration occurs on paved streets, a skatepark, or the confines of a contest course, the experience is unique to the user and their own relationship with the landscape. For New York-based visual artist Jack Greer, there’s little detachment between his work and what he encounters on the asphalt as a skater.
Nike SB tasked Greer with creating sculptures for this year’s Go Skateboarding Day, which took place on June 21, in McCarren Park. In the past, Nike’s worked with artists and designers to create pop-up parks and even a “skate” barge that shuttled. Greer’s contributions—a resin doughnut and a coffee cup—are less spectacle and more symbolic of his relationship with the city. For Greer, creating art in a refined space, be it a gallery or a patch of pavement, is part of the challenge and inspiration—not a limitation.
“I knew that I wanted to produce sculptures that could be skated on, as opposed to skatepark obstacles that were painted to look like sculptures,” Greer tells The Creators Project. “This distinction was very important to me—I wanted the result to be much like the way in which skateboarders access objects on the street as opposed to objects in a skateboard facility. I chose to create a gigantic coffee cup and a gigantic doughnut. These two objects are classic NYC elements.”
Greer’s work spans a vast swath of visual mediums, including oil paintings, mixed-media works, installations, and custom patchwork for Nike and Opening Ceremony. The throughline in these disciplines is the spacial relationship he creates between object and environment.
In describing his installations—painted wood, foam, and resin coated pieces—for Go Skateboarding Day, there’s an eloquent simplicity that radiates from him. For a monolithic brand to tap Greer to erect a giant, skateable coffee cup in New York City speaks to a massive shift in the perception of skateboarding being innately Californian, and also to the emergence of New York City as its current creative heart. Today, skateboarding is often a commonality that drives the city’s creatives.
The sculptures being made in Brooklyn. Image courtesy the aritst.
As Go Skateboarding Day came and went, its detractors were to be expected, as they are on Record Store Day, or any holiday that symbolizes the rise of vital subcultures and how well they punched their way into the mainstream. Instead, Greer’s goal for the project was simple: “Enjoy the day, enjoy them all.”