Arran Gregory is a skateboarder and artist from London
"There's so many lines to be drawn between skateboarding and making art but I guess on a basic level they are all creative outlets that I explore through my work.
I think being a skateboarder (particularly a street skateboarder) encourages creativity in people as they become interested in rethinking objects around them for the purpose of play.
Skateboarding tends to build a very spontaneous, impulse type of creativity where you see something and react to it on impulse. Like if you watch Mark "The Gonz" Gonzales' section in Video Days- everything he does in a go-to and expressive DIY way. I think it's this, DIY, go-to approach that skateboarders transfer to artistic outputs like drawing, illustration and sculpture.
Aaron Rose's documentary Beautiful Losers, (which is also a book), sums this vibe up quite well and shows how a scene always tends to support and grow its own creativity. I think individually skateboarders can be very impressionable and sheep-like in following trends etc. but overall the ethos is still very D.I.Y and outsider which is what inspires their creativity.
For me personally, I like to just approach the ideas that interest me- whether that's by making a video, a sculpture or whatever. I'm not into putting up boundaries as a creative and labelling myself as one or the other because it just limits you in my opinion.
Josh Stewart's Static video series always remind me of what skating’s about and that gets me hyped. Looking forward to seeing the Vase video by Isle Skateboards. Also I find Palace Skateboards interesting as Lev is always moving it in new directions which is good to see. Also Beautiful Losers which I mentioned earlier is always a go to for me.
Passport Skateboards and Descent Skateboards have played a part in inspiring me. I've just done a series of decks for Pulman and I'm feeling their DIY ethos. Also Passport has some of my favourite board graphics and as a company they're sick.
The Side Effects of Urethane collective, started by Toby Shuall and Rich Holland, who originally put the Moving Units blocks in Southbank put out a few super inspiring projects for me when I was younger. I remember studying art at school and doing a project on all of that at the time.
I think overall my obsession for geometry that's present in much of my work might be a product of skateboarding and spending years looking at angles and lines and objects in architecture working out what might be skateable or possible to skate.
HUNT was my last solo show in London's Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. The focus for the exhibit was the Amur Leopard, the world’s most endangered big cat.There are thought to be only 60 of these animals in the wild and so I created an edition of 20 hand made, life-sized mirror leopards to recreate an installation that would depict a third of the these rare creatures who still remain.
The name HUNT points towards an ongoing interest I have between the relationship of humans and nature. I find it really fascinating how we are hunter gatherers living in a super evolved time yet we have lost so much of our connection to the basics (i.e. hunting, surviving in the wild etc.) It was my first major solo show and I feel it went well. I'm hoping to exhibit much more in 2016.
I think The No Comply Network is a positive platform for skateboarders who want to get opportunities in the industry or somewhere elsewhere connected to skating as there are so many connections in skateboarding.
Slam City Skates really helped put my work on the map while I was studying at university. I started doing t shirt designs for them and it was a really good intro into the industry. Not always what you know but who you know sometimes. I think being a creative is a lot about the relationships you make and how you manage them as well as the actual artwork you produce, so that part will be really helpful for people.
I'm winding down now it’s nearly Christmas and HUNT is finished. I'm working on a project out in Austria at the moment which is hopefully going to be super exciting when released but at the moment my lips are sealed.
Keep an eye out for my exhibitions next year- I'm starting a mailing list soon so hopefully by the time this comes out that'll be ready to join. If not though follow my Instagram if you're interested in my work.
Many Thanks No Comply"