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 David Reed design for Mekanism skateboards
One of David Reed’s designs for Mekanism skateboards

DAVID REED DESIGNS BROKEN SKATEBOARDS

Feb. 2, 2012

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No one expects anyone who buys an expensive artist-designed skateboard to actually use it. So for his collaboration with French art-deck purveyor Mekanism, painter David Reed went ahead and cut the decks in half and mounted them on wooden frames.

Past Mekanism collaborators have also manipulated the boards into less functional forms, like Olafur Eliasson’s silvery 13-ply decks rippled like water or Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker’s slender boards that passed through an inkjet printer. Reed has gone even further, chopping the decks in half and inverting the nose and tail, so that the front and back actually face each other on the frame. The right side of each skateboard is streaked with big black and white strokes meant to recall Reed’s cinematic, split-screen paintings from the 1970s. The left sides are painted into various layered, coiling folds of blue, reminiscent of the loops and flips a skater makes in the air.

"The boards are a beautiful, complex shape, but I found them difficult to paint on because no matter what I did they always seemed so enclosed, always turning inward,” wrote Reed in an email to art advisor and Mekanism owner Fred Maechler. “I like paintings that have an open boundary to the world.  I thought of cutting the board so I could paint some of my paint strokes coming off the board and out into the surrounding space."

Maechler, who gave up selling regular skate gear seven years ago to devote Mekanism exclusively to artist projects, said he originally approached Reed in 2006 to make 50 boards. But Reed, who has said it takes him a long time to complete a painting, feared that would take him forever. In the meantime, Maechler enlisted Anselm Reyle, Dirk Skreber, Josh Smith, and a dozen other artists to design decks before approaching Reed again with an offer to do just 10 boards.

The 10 limited-edition decks go for €6,400 apiece, on sale via info@mekanismskateboards.com.

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