Dave is a skater and artist who makes illustration, music and videos. I do many things that fall under the broad description of “art”. Today I am writing a song and planning to go out painting graffiti tonight, all the while in quite considerable pain from wrenching my back skating bowl yesterday. I’m 42, and not as fit as I was six months ago. At this age you have to make much more effort to keep everything in shape or you do stupid things like pull a muscle. Soon as the pain is gone I’ll get back to the morning exercise regime! I don’t plan to quit skating until I can’t walk any more, so I had better make sure I stay fit!
I started skateboarding in the 80’s when street skating was first being born and all these new ways to use a skateboard were being invented. I find it amazing that kids starting out today have this whole broad palette to work from that we didn’t have. Or rather a bigger box of tools to use. Having more tools doesn’t necessarily make you as creative as when you have to be inventive, but it seems like skaters now are going impossibly fast and high, with ever greater technical precision, so the creativity continues. I’m firmly convinced skateboarders are at the peak of human evolution, and the fact that they can be there without the training regime of a regular athlete is amazing!
My creative process is firmly rooted in what skateboarding taught me – if you want to do something, just do it. Don’t wait for permission. For example, I’m writing and recording songs right now. I have zero musical training, other than a few guitar lessons 25 years ago. But so what? Skateboarding is about just getting up off your ass and doing things you want to do. I’ve built bowls and ramps, performed on stage as a dancer, compiled books, directed pop videos, exhibited paintings in museums – all things that have come from the simple fact that skateboarding has led me to believe anything is possible.
I can’t really say that any specific things “inspire” me. Ideas just pop up from all over. But there are many things in the huge world of skateboarding that make me feel good – like a Ron Cameron graphic or seeing someone like Grant Taylor doing impossibly big tricks – and feeling good is really helpful in being creative. Anger and rage and upset can drive artistic productivity, at least energy-wise, but it’s feeling good, having love for life and the world, that make you relaxed and able to be truly creative. Skateboarding has always made me feel better about my life.
Anything that supports and encourages creativity is a good thing. The world is full of problems that require creative solutions. I’m so stoked the last few years with the DIY park scene. That people seen as losers and scumbags can come together to create these amazing spots for their community, without money or permission, without the plan to make a profit, gives me hope that humanity can come together to solve it’s problems and make a better world for all.
Since 2011 I’ve built a bunch of skateable sculptures inside and outside galleries and my aim is to create a whole “Dave the Chimp” concrete park.
Actually, my ultimate aim is to create the “Disneyland” of skateparks, with different areas designed by different artists from the skateboard community, so as to make an insane sculpture park/theme park, that is challenging and fun.
Building things to skate that are coming from an artistic vision of something that is influenced by skateboarding but isn’t specifically a piece of skatepark furniture creates an object that requires the creativity of anyone that interacts with it. An art piece generally doesn’t require too much creativity of the person viewing it, but if you can create something that causes others to create, you’ve made some kind of perpetual motion machine, a forward motion, a ripple of human exploration flowing through time.
You create creative energy. The first kid to strap a roller-skate to a piece of wood did this, and I’d like to continue their legacy. Now all I need to do is find a few billion euros and I can get to work!