From kitchen tiles to iPhone cases, recycled skateboards are turning up everywhere -- instead of ending up in landfills. Japanese sculptor Haroshi -- who is also an avid skateboarder -- began collecting old skateboards some years ago as part of his passion, and his art pieces, meticulously made out of recycled decks, are a natural evolution of that.
His creations are born through styles such as wooden mosaic, dots, and pixels; where each element, either cut out in different shapes or kept in their original form, are connected in different styles, and shaven into the form of the final art piece.
But stacking these decks to create sculptures aren't as easy as you think: contrary to popular belief, no two skateboards are necessarily the same, since their shapes differ according to factory, brand, and popular skaters’ signature models. Haroshi's skateboarding obsession has meant that he has acquired an "almost crazy knowledge of skateboards," which means he is "able to differentiate from thousands of used deck stocks, which deck fits with which when stacked."
Interestingly, Haroshi's method and spiritual philosophy echoes that of the builders of the traditional wooden "great buddhas" of Japan, since "90% of Buddha statues in Japan are carved from wood, and built using the method of wooden mosaic; in order to save expense of materials, and also to minimize the weight of the statue."
Even more fascinating is the hidden facet of Haroshi's works, which emulate the Japanese tradition of giving "soul" to a sculpture by adding a symbolic "heart" within the mass:
Also, although one is not able to see from outside, there is a certain metal object that is buried inside his three-dimensional statue. The object is a broken skateboard part that was chosen from his collection of parts that became deteriorated and broke off from skateboards... To Haroshi, to set this kind of metal part inside his art piece means to “give soul” to the statue.
It's truly inspiring to see people turn their interests into not only a way of life, but also as a means of creative expression -- sometimes with unexpected results. To see more of Haroshi's incredible sculptures, check out his website.