Arran Gregory is an artist and skateboarder
I think art and skateboarding go hand in hand, I think they both come from a place of playfulness. It’s a very self disciplined form of playfulness. I think a lot of people who skate grow up with creative outlets and work in creative industries because they’ve managed to stay in touch with this side of themselves.
I think overall my obsession for geometry that’s present in much of my work might be a product of skateboarding and spending years looking at angles and lines and objects in architecture working out what might be possible to skate. Skateboarding tends to build a very spontaneous, impulse type of creativity where you see something and react to it on impulse.
Like if you watch Mark Gonzales’ section in Video Days- everything he does in a go-to and expressive DIY way.
I think it’s this, DIY, go-to approach that skateboarders transfer to artistic outputs like drawing, illustration and sculpture.
The Side Effects of Urethane collective, started by Toby Shuall and Rich Holland, who originally put the Moving Units blocks in Southbank put out a few super inspiring projects for me when I was younger. I remember studying art at school and doing a project on all of that at the time.
Aaron Rose’s documentary Beautiful Losers, which is also a book, sums this vibe up quite well and shows how a scene always tends to support and grow its own creativity.
I think individually skateboarders can be very impressionable and sheep-like in following trends etc. but overall the ethos is still very D.I.Y and outsider which is what inspires their creativity.
Josh Stewart‘s Static video series always remind me of what skating’s about and that gets me hyped.
Also I find Palace Skateboards interesting as Lev is always moving it in new directions which is good to see.
For me personally, I like to just approach the ideas that interest me- whether that’s by making a video, a sculpture or whatever. I’m not into putting up boundaries as a creative and labelling myself as one or the other because it just limits you in my opinion.
Slam City Skates really helped put my work on the map while I was studying at university. I started doing T-shirt designs for them and it was a really good intro into the industry.
Not always what you know but who you know sometimes. I think being a creative is a lot about the relationships you make and how you manage them as well as the actual artwork you produce, so that part will be really helpful for people.
Throughout lockdown I started working on a scorpion. I’ve been modelling it from wood and am still developing the form of it now. It’s an idea I’ve had in mind for a while as a personal project but the timing just felt right with all that’s been happening in the world right now.
No shows planned right now what with Covid measures in effect but I’ll hopefully be exhibiting The Scorpion next. I’m also working on a couple of public artworks that have been shortlisted so hopefully I can share that soon.
I think The No Comply Network is a really great way of empowering skateboarders to use their own network for sure. Skateboarding as a subculture has an almost infinite amount of creativity flowing out of it so it’s a great place to archive some of this energy.