DIANE ARBUS skateboards (drawings). photos by DIANE ARBUS
Best known for his appropriations of images and his zine-like publications, ASHER PENN plays with the small ARBUS portrait photographs, as they had appeared in her first Aperture monograph and his desire to be a skateboarder, by drawing skateboards and skate logos on them. The result is challenging, sincere and reinvigorated a critical moment from the history of the photographic book.
I always wanted to be a skateboarder. I still do. There is something normal about skateboarders. Maybe it is because they all kind of do the same tricks… They look nice. They don’t look weird. Their clothing has logos and graphics for skate companies. They’re special, but in a conservative way.
When I was 16, on a trip to New York, my Dad bought me the DIANE ARBUS Aperture monograph. I spent a lot of time looking at it. I felt like I could relate to the subjects and the photographer at the same time. The beginning of the book had her talking about all these ideas about photography. You could read it over and over again and still not entirely get it. It was inspiring. (…) This year I started thinking about mounting photographs in grip-tape on skateboards. I liked the idea of a skateboard being a kind of frame. I didn’t want to use my photographs. Almost all the skateboard decks and t-shirts I can remember used other people’s photos, logos, characters… I felt like I was keeping with that tradition of the medium. The first name that came into my head was DIANE ARBUS.