Since the beginning of skateboarding, art has always been an integral part of it. Blending artistry and sport through deck design and all sorts of different media, skateboarding has collaborated with high-profile artist and even launched successful careers of a number of them.
Having great connections to their boards, skaters have always viewed artwork on them as a very important aspect. Since the skater culture is built around creative free-thinking individuals, skaters often decorate and customize these boards themselves by adding stickers or painting them in order to reflect their personality and individuality.
Skateboard art is therefore a very powerful creative force, and a number of core skateboard brands started featuring contemporary artists on their decks. One of the brands that has a long tradition in skateboarding and is famous for their unique boards and amazing artist collaborations is Supreme. Their cultural influence has been evident for the past 20 years, bridging the gap between contemporary art, skateboarding and street culture.
To conclude, since the early 1970s, when skate culture and street art became deeply intertwined, a new medium for artists was born: the skate deck. In earlier days skateboarding may was a subculture on the fringe, so simply being a skater was enough to set oneself apart from the crowd. However, nowadays we can see that the growing popularity of the sport pushed many creative skaters to find ways to individualize their boards. In the decades since, fine art, street art and skate culture have become inseparable, with renowned artists like Christopher Wool, Paul McCarthy, Ryan McGuinness, Shepard Fairey, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara reproducing some of their most famous works on the decks of skateboards, or make entire new artworks on them.
As of now, Sotheby’s will even offer a set of artist-designed Supreme skateboards estimated to sell for $1.2 million. The passionate Supreme fan Ryan Fuller made it his mission to collect all 248 artist-designed skateboard decks put out by the brand over the past two decades, and now he’s putting them on the auction block at Sotheby’s. The collection will be sold as a single lot in an online-only sale. Noah Wunsch, who is Sotheby’s vice president of global digital and market strategy, explained the set’s importance thusly in a press release: "The intermingling narratives of skate culture, art, New York City, and the evolution of Supreme’s brand is amazing to behold. We are thrilled to bring Ryan’s singular collection to auction for the first time."