Fabian Jean Villanueva, THE SKATEROOM’s Artist Liaison, discusses his current Top 5 editions and the relationships behind them
Fabian Jean Villanueva works as the bridge between THE SKATEROOM and the artists we collaborate with. As an art lover and believer in the power of authentic human connection, he nourishes long-term relationships based on trust, friendship and a shared vision.
“We always say that THE SKATEROOM is a human adventure. We are not just merchandisers – we are in touch with the artists and we work together hand-in-hand. The quality of our relationship with them is part of the DNA of my position, and of the company itself. ”
As one of the people involved in each collection from its very earliest stages, Fabian is here to share his current favorite editions and their deep significance.
Raymond PETTIBON - No Title (I see the…), 2019 Hand-Signed – THE SKATEROOM
This collection was created long before I arrived at THE SKATEROOM, but I had the chance to be there when we launched it. It was very exclusive, hand-signed and in a close collaboration with the David Zwirner gallery. I’m a huge fan, I used to listen to a lot of Sonic Youth when I was a teenager and he is the one who made their visual identity. It was a holy grail for me to work on this. The entire time I was thinking to myself – am I really doing this?
I want to give my respect to Raymond’s head of studio, Sozita Goudouna, who became a close friend. Both of them will be forever in my heart – Raymond as the artist and Sozita as a fabulous person, very high-class curator and a really close friend and supporter of THE SKATEROOM.
Popeye Skateboard - Jeff KOONS x THE SKATEROOM
To me, Jeff KOONS is the Michael Jackson of the art world. It was the first project I had to work on when I joined THE SKATEROOM. It’s a collection that I love – Popeye is a character which was really a part of my childhood and Jeff was an artist I spotted quickly as a teenager in the 90s. What I love the most is that I was able to set up an interview with him and an event in New York. Everything happened in less than two months, it was the first project I had to work on which set a high bar. We were able to build a true relationship of trust with Jeff Koons and I’m proud to be a large building block in this.
Lamyxer Original Artwork - Marc Leschelier - LAMYLAND x THE SKATEROOM
My encounter with Michèle Lamy was one of a kind. Today, she is a friend and a big supporter. Thanks to her I met Marc who is now also a close friend. I love his practice, the way he is using textures, concrete and his architectural way of design. This incredible piece, which could be as awful as it is iconic, was just a fabulous achievement. The event we hosted with Marc and Michèle in Brussels was probably the biggest event I have organized in my life. It lasted all night long and it’s still in the memories of everyone. The street was blocked, filled with people and the atmosphere was just terrific.
Dry Land (hahaha painting), Hand-signed - Claudia COMTE x THE SKATEROOM
We worked with USM on this collection. I’m a huge fan of USM, so having the possibility to work with such a fabulous brand was incredible to me. Claudia became a friend, she’s a super engaged artist. I love this series because you can see this dry land which is exactly what’s happening now with global warming and this will get worse and worse. She also uses irony to stress this urgency even further. On a macro vision, we were able to bring in a brand, organize an incredible launch in Milan, develop a bespoke collection with this fabulous artist, and visit her at her Swiss studio. The output was just fantastic, and the fact that it’s funding a social project for refugees (I’m a son of a refugee) is something very special.
Portrait Regular, Handsigned - Anastasia BAY x THE SKATEROOM
I’m a big fan of Anastasia. At the time when we developed this collection, my son was just born and she surprised me with an original hand-painted skateboard art deck which was not part of the series, but using the same technique.
I love the fact that she only created original artworks without any hesitation. People are dying for her work and she was not even expecting anything. She said – guys, I want to make this with you. And she made six. That’s a big commitment from an artist. She will be forever a friend of THE SKATEROOM and one of our most successful collections because we were sold out instantly.