Meeting NY Art Collector Eric Berkowitz
For New York-based collector Eric Berkowitz, skateboard art editions are not just static pieces, but immortalized memories of moments which he shares with his two young children.
The walls of his hallway tell stories, weaving a rich tapestry of their family’s life – all infused with a passion for skateboarding and a commitment to giving back.
Hi Eric - could you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’m a dermatologist. I live in New York. I like to think of myself as being fairly active. I have two young kids, both of whom are skateboarders. It’s been a collection that we started with them, or rather – for them. It grew from there.
What kind of art do you collect?
A lot of new and emerging artists. Stuff that speaks to me or relates to a moment I’m having, or experiences I’ve had. If I see a piece I relate to, I try to go after that. The skateboards spoke to me on a lot of different levels.
Are you a skater yourself?
I used to be.
Once a skater always a skater!
The drive is definitely still there. I just don’t heal the way I used to laughs
But your son and daughter skate so it’s nice that you can share this together.
I love taking them to skateparks and watching them skate.
How did you come across THE SKATEROOM?
I came across it through an auction house. There was a collection being auctioned, which was really interesting and it made me think of my son. Then I looked up THE SKATEROOM’s website and from there it was very easy. What I really liked is that a lot of it was for charity causes, so it was a way to teach my kids about the gift of giving back. And so we find pieces that they really like and say – this is what this is for, this is the cause it supports… So we were able to combine something that they are passionate about, with a way to give back to the community.
How many editions do you currently have in your collection?
I don’t really remember. We filled the hallway with them, but it’s still something we’re trying to collect and find pieces that relate to us. For example, the Raymond PETTIBON No Title (The Raised Hands…) of a man playing baseball was something for our son. We also focus a lot on female empowerment to encourage my daughter with skate decks by (and of) women.
For THE SKATEROOM, as well as for the social projects we work with, skateboarding is really a tool to send a much larger message. It’s really nice that this approach has translated into your personal collection. Which editions speak to you the most?
Skate culture spans everything. We have pieces which talk about music, some which are more political, some which tell stories – many of which defined my youth. Going back to those editions which bring back so many memories and really touch the core – I think it’s a really cool thing.
Do you have any preference towards investing in limited editions over more traditional artworks?
To me, it’s about accessibility. Making the art accessible, seeing what it’s about, trying to get someone interested and intrigued by it and to instill curiosity in younger minds. Getting them excited by it, so that when they go to a museum and hear a specific name again they’re like – I recognize that! It’s a platform. No one person, not even a museum, can have every art piece, so for me and my hallway, it was just an interesting way to display it. It contains different colors and different personalities. At any given point we can take some of them off and replace them with different ones, and it changes the entire vibe of the hallway.
It’s quite a statement to enter a hallway that’s filled with skate decks. What is the feedback that you’re getting from first-time visitors?
The people that see it are always like – wow, this is very cool. When you see it from afar it’s already interesting, but when you look closer you discover so much more. On one side of the hallway it’s my daughter’s wall, on the other side it’s my son’s wall. My daughter’s side is a little bit more feminine and more dominated by women skateboarders. My son’s side has more harsher types of decks.
It sounds like the editions are not just art pieces but really snapshots of your kids’ personalities, hobbies and childhood memories.
I like the cause and what the decks represent. The beautiful thing about skateboard art decks is that they really strike a chord in terms of memories. We have a bunch of them up but there are so many more that we don’t have up. And I still enjoy the process. When you buy one, it’s about that moment that it represents and that it will continue to remind you of!