Some would say skateboarding is an art form in and of itself. The way skateboarding enthusiasts, both young and old, figure out how to roll, and sometimes float, over wood and concrete has become something that challenges both gravity and logic. Like artists who work in other media, skateboarders look at the world through unique eyes, seeing possibility where the rest of us see a wall, a curb, or a ditch. The world is their canvas and the tools of their trade -- skateboards, trucks, wheels, and, in the case of Hippie Steve, some acrylic paint -- become their greatest form of expression.
Every once in a while, an artist comes along that combines multiple mediums with style and grace that, like the most exceptional skateboarders, defies normal convention and captures the true essence of what he or she believes with pure honesty. Phoenix artist Hippie Steve has discovered a way to merge his love of art and skateboarding, while not wasting a single piece of each his passions in the process. Whether he's on his board, painting on canvas or discarded skateboards or equipment, sculpting with pieces of skateboards, photographing his fellow skateboarders, or writing about his multiple interests on his iSkateboard.com blog, Hippie's Corner, he is always portraying his singular vision.
"Acrylics is my favorite thing to paint with, but my favorite thing to work with is just the skateboards," he says. "I'm a skateboarder myself, and the idea of using the used skateboards and the fact that they had been all around town before I actually made it a piece of art is really cool to me. It's like giving it a second life."
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The 32-year-old, who prefers to be known only as Hippie Steve, is driven to create art on a regular basis and will rarely be found sitting still. Recently, he created an Imperial TIE Fighter (Star Wars fans know what we mean) out of pieces of skateboards and also a DSLR camera mount out of both skateboard trucks (which are pieces that attach the wheels to the board) and pieces of old decks. As a photographer, it was a natural progression for Hippie Steve to create a usable tool out of old parts to help get steadier shots while taking pictures some of our more talented local skateboarders at valley skate parks and backyard ramps.
Relatively new to the art scene, Hippie, as his friends call him, has only been painting since 2009 and photographing since 2011. Over the last several years, he has been a regular contributor to AZPX.com, which is both a local skateboard company and huge contributor to the skateboard scene in Arizona, and has shown his art at skate shops like Cowtown and Sidewalk Surfer, as well as last year's huge Phoenix Am skateboard competition in Glendale. On April 11, 2014, Hippie Steve's art will be featured at the Firehouse Gallery during its "Phoenix Toy Art Show."