Since founding THE SKATEROOM back in 2014, Brussels, Belgium-based CEO Charles-Antoine Bodson has raised over a million-and-a-half dollars to finance social projects that use skateboards as the canvas to paint a brighter future for disadvantaged youth.
Bodson, a former art gallery owner who doesn’t really skate that well, but began collecting boards as a seven-year-old when his art-loving parents gifted him his first artist adorned deck, has worked with fifty artists to create 350 editions that have helped fund more than 40 ground-breaking projects around the world.
Working with its social partners, THE SKATEROOM has helped build skateparks far and wide including Cambodia, Afghanistan and South Africa while at the same time developing education facilities and resource programs for children who need them most.
On the eve of a launch of a set of new Andy Warhol self-portrait editions in collaboration with the Brant and Andy Warhol Foundations and to aid the HHF Foundation, we caught up with Bodson in between meetings with artists and galleries at Art Basel. But first, this is how it all started for him.
“I’m here at Art Basel. Every time I walk into an art fair, I find someone I want to work with. I love artists. And I love it when someone wants to interact with us to do a project.”
“In my childhood, I collected decks. I was addicted to art cos I’d grown up surrounded by artists. At one point, about ten years ago, I had amassed around 4,000 decks in my collection, contemporary artists not skate art.”
“One day I met Oliver Percovich, CEO of Skateistan (a non-profit that uses skateboarding and education to empower children). He told me about a project – a skatepark in Afghanistan – he was looking for funding for. When I saw the beauty of his program I decided to help.”
“I didn’t want my collection to be in storage anymore, so I said I’ll donate 50k to help build it. Skateboarding was the only sport girls and women could take part in because the Taliban didn’t really know about it.”
“I sold 3,200 of my 4,000 decks, some via MoMA, keeping some back for me (including an original board used by Mark Gonzales, with drawings by Keith Haring on it) because they are my story and I want my kids to have them one day.”
“Donating that 50k, and three months later being at the opening of the skatepark in Afghanistan, changed my life.”
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