With precision and crazy skill, Haroshi selects, stacks and bonds old broken skateboards to create timber layers that he uses to unbelievable effects. The variety of colour found naturally in the laminated construction of discarded skateboard decks overlap to make beautiful and very unique ply art-works once carved.
Perhaps the most interesting of Haroshi’s techniques is the detailed mosaic of skateboard ply block-work. Coincidentally, this method has been used throughout Japanese history to create most of Japan’s wooden Great Buddha statues (of course not using skateboards). One particular Buddhist craftsman from the 12th century, Unkei (運慶) would place a crystal ball, called shin gachi rin (心月輪), at the heart of each of his carved buddha forms to give his sculptures their ‘soul’. Haroshi uses a metallic object from one of the broken skateboards; buried deep in the centre of each of his art-works, again giving the objects a heart, and a ‘soul’.
A friend of ours, Brandon Shigeta, a photographer based in LA was lucky enough to shoot Haroshi’s Tokyo studio for Hypebeast in 2010 and I have been waiting since then to see his works in London. Check out PAIN, at StolenSpace Gallery, on Brick Lane, until 3rd November.