Skateboarding isn't just appealing because of the cool clothes, the tricks, or the presumed adrenaline
(I cannot skateboard); but because of the culture and the community that it builds. One thing I have always noticed are the tight knit relationships that come out of skating, and with a trust that is founded on creativity, it is much easier to express yourself to those around you.
Certainly there are pre-assumed, grand media-driven notions that skateboarding and the "skate-kids" are rebels, a hazard to "good" neighborhoods or communities, and just lost adolescence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Look at the skatepark that recently opened on 84th & National Avenue in West Allis; you would be hard pressed to find a greater melting pot in this entire state. Any time of the day, be it hot or cold, that skatepark holds a collection of boys and girls, old and young, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, and everything in between. Now certainly we can't assume that such a gorgeous example of people coming together is anything but good for a community can we? (No, we can't).
Such a diverse gathering will necessarily contain mountains of creativity, and one of those awesome creators is Pat Murphy. A sketch artist raised on skateboards, Murphy instills a mentality formulated by the simplistic, aesthetic, and nirvana-like lifestyle of the skateboarding scene. At first glance some of these drawings speak for themselves, but some reach beyond what is clearly in front of your eyes. Many of these works come across as flawless expressions of the developed human mind; people regretting how they have lived out their days and longing for a life they love. Despite what these pictures may mean to any individual, it is clear to see they are simply bad ass.
Read our interview with Pat Murphy below and follow his Instagram for more of his creations.
MM: How are you doing?
PM: I'm doing well, I just started a new job so I'm just working a ton, trying to save up some cash and get a sick spot to live.
MM: What influences you to make your own reinterpretations of brand name objects and create an almost, mantra-like association with the images that you create?
PM: To be honest the whole beer cans and other stuff for heads all started because I'm really bad at drawing foreheads, or just the tops of heads in general. I'd always put hats on whatever I was drawing to avoid it, then one day I tossed a beer can up there and it was way easier. It's just kind of evolved into all kinds of other stuff based on friend's interests. A friend would be super into a certain beer/animal and I'd just draw that for them. It's nice cause theres so many different beers and animals out there so there's a ton of options. I can keep mixing it up to an extent without straying too far from what I really like to draw, which are faces.
MM: Many of your drawings feature middle-aged or elderly men. What is the motive behind that?
PM: I've always just really liked drawing wrinkles on people's faces ever since i was little. It's just an easier way to draw faces; it kind of helps me break them up and it's just more fun to draw. I'd rather draw some old guy with insane bags under his eyes than draw a younger healthier looking person, if that makes any sense?
MM: What role has skateboarding had in your life and how has it carried over into your artwork?
PM: Skateboarding has been the most influential thing in my life. I'm the person I am today because of skateboarding and the people it's lead me to. I can probably trace anything I do back to something I learned from skateboarding. It's great because there are so many people that skate/have skated so it's been a cool way to meet people and you can kind of build relationships off that alone. Almost all of my favorite artists are in some way associated with it, and there are so many different skateboard brands with different art directions, so there's all kinds of different artists you can get into. One of my favorites is this guy Ben Horton and he does almost all of the graphics for this board company called $LAVE. I'd probably never found out about him if it wasn't for my love for skateboarding. The only gallery show I've ever had was all because of Aaron Polansky at Sky High skate shop, who used to run a gallery out of the back of the shop and was kind enough to let me show my art there, which I'll always be grateful for! Making the boards was just one time for a friend and it seriously took me like 3 years to actually do it, if someone wanted to get one though, I'd be down for sure! Skateboarding has just lead me to meet all kinds of different people who inspire me and my "work", which is rad. I'll forever be grateful to skateboarding and all the things I've learned and continue to learn from it and the people who do it.
MM: Any story you want to tell about your artwork?
PM: One time I drew this Virgin Mary and she was holding a can of Coors instead of a heart or whatever usually goes there and it was out on the kitchen table at my parents house and my mom turned it over when her friends came over cause she didn't wanna bum anyone out.
MM: Something you want the world to know?
PM: People need to take more time to support the people that support them. Take the time to appreciate the people doing cool/good things for your area!
MM: Favorite spot/thing to do in MKE?
PM: I just like hanging out with my buds and skating and camping or whatever. Favorite Milwaukee spot is Sky High skate shop in Bay View, the owner Aaron is always doing great things for others!
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