From giant inflatable buttplugs to tearing Trump a new one, it’s been a wild ride since we hooked up with Paul McCARTHY back in 2016. Here’s to many more years to come.
Happy birthday, Paul McCARTHY.
After 5 years, 21 art editions, and an endless back-and-forth of WhatsApp messages with Paul McCarthy and his son Damon, we felt like it was time to mark one of THE SKATEROOM’s deepest and dearest collaborations with a bit of a tribute. So this one’s for you, Mr. McCarthy – a countdown of five years of friendship and creative collaboration with one of THE SKATEROOM’s favorite artists.
A FRIENDSHIP TAKES FLIGHT
Damon McCARTHY, Paul’s son, grew up skateboarding. It was, and is, one of his many passions. It was actually Damon who really persuaded Paul to join THE SKATEROOM in our social impact model, after showing him the work of Skateistan. A friendship was born, and we began throwing ideas around – what work could Paul create to raise support for such an innovative NGO, via our model?
So Paul McCarthy’s FLIGHTCASE came into the world, and alongside it the PROPO editions, a revisited series of photographs transposed onto skateboards. The launch was huge and, in collaboration with MoMA, we raised support for Skateistan’s school in Cambodia, just as Paul and Damon had desired.
THE AGE OF TRUMP
Paul McCarthy originally created the Trump visuals as posters for the Women’s March in January 2017. These new editions are an honest depiction of McCarthy’s feelings towards Donald Trump’s presidency. To mark our second collaboration with Paul McCarthy, these editions were launched right on time to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration.
With sponsorship flowing towards Skateistan’s Cambodia skate school, we turned our collaboration to South Africa, and a new skate school in Johannesburg that the NGO was opening. Both locations are thriving today thanks to the work of Paul McCarthy.
The 2017 Collection
BLOWING UP PARIS
The story of Tree, Place Vendôme 2014, isn’t one you’d forget in a hurry. Nor is it one that McCarthy has let go. 24-ft high, Christmas green and shaped like a buttplug, Tree[…] was briefly installed in the Place Vendôme in Paris in October 2014 as part of the Hors les Murs exhibition at FIAC.
McCarthy is no stranger to controversy in his work, with previous pieces celebrating the defamation of icons and myths that earmark Western capitalist society. Snow White, George Bush, Pinocchio, can all count themselves victims of his signature brand of iconoclasm. However, not even McCarthy expected that less than a day after its installation his work would be gone – left in a deflated heap. Despite receiving approval from the relevant organizations overseeing public art installations in Paris, even before the piece was destroyed McCarthy himself was accosted by a member of the public, who slapped him in the face before running off.
Not satisfied with this finale, together with THE SKATEROOM and HighSnobiety’s ‘NOT IN PARIS’ event, Paul revived his inflatable masterpiece, this time on skateboard, in aid of NGO Skateistan South Africa.
Last but definitely not least, earlier this year Paul joined our WEEKEND OF ART, SKATE & SOCIAL CHANGE, submitting his first original unique artwork to the What Are We Skating For? exhibition. The event was a riotous success and, although neither Damon nor Paul could be there in person, the spirit of his work was woven into the very fabric of the night, a spiralling delight of iconoclasm, social-engagement and down-right mischievousness.
“You can play with reality” – An interview with Paul & Damon McCarthy.
So what does Paul and Damon McCarthy have to say about their five years of empowering social skate projects all over the world through THE SKATEROOM’s social impact model? Find out for yourself in this interview.