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Deckchair – Rosie Lee

Deck Chair
A Rosie Lee project

We made a chair from skateboard decks. We took it apart. Our friends painted it, and skated it. Presenting the final Deck Chair video.

Shot at the Truman Brewery in London, the film captures the production of a unique piece of furniture that’s as inspired by urban and counter-culture as it is high-end industrial design. The artist-customised boards used in its creation feature work from some of the world's finest (and some of our favourite) illustrators, including Infinite Objects collaborator Annu Kilpeläinen; LA’s Heroin Skateboards founder Mark Foster; Parisian/Chinese freehand sketch master Yué Wu; legendary skate artist Ged Wells; and pop-culture perverting graphic artist Mark Ward.

Here’s a short film from our skate session at Truman Brewery, breaking in the artist decks before we make them into the Deck Chair v2.

ARTISTS.
Annu Kilpeläinen
Ged Wells
Mark Foster
Mark Ward
Yué Wu

SKATERS.
Jason Caines
Josh Ward-Brickett
Liam Courtney
Oisín Aitko

PHOTOGRAPHY.
Alick Cotterill

MUSIC.
Ded Tebiase

LOCATION.
The Old Truman Brewery

DESIGN, CURATION, PRODUCTION, DIRECTION.
Rosie Lee

We made a Deck Chair.
We had extra decks.
We invited friends to add art.
We added wheels.
We invited friends to ride them. 


Next comes Deck Chair MK2: the artist edition.

Photography: Alick Cotterill.
Thanks to Oisín Aitko, Josh Ward-Brickett, Jason Caines + Liam Courtney for breaking-in the decks.
Special thanks to Truman Brewery for the space.
Shouts to the artists: Annu Kilpeläinen, Yué Wu, Mark Foster, Ged Wells and Mark Ward. Scroll down for shots of the decks in all their glory.

We made a Deck Chair.
We made a Deck Chair.
We made a Deck Chair.
We made a Deck Chair.
We made a Deck Chair.
We made a Deck Chair.

Deck Chair is one of these projects, where we wanted to explore the results of combining furniture with skate.

Phase 1 saw us create an identity for the project – constructed from a King Pin Bolt, cut in half and repositioned to form the initials DC. We then took 8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers… and built a fully constructed prototype.

The 2nd phase of Deck Chair used the concept of collaboration to further explore the reoccurring question of ‘what if?’. Represented in the images here, we worked with 5 artists to sway the boundaries between skate, design, art and furniture. Finnish illustrator Annu Kilpelainen; Mark Foster, aka Fos, aka Mr Heroin Skateboards himself; Chinese-born French artist Yué;  artist Ged Wells; and 80’s Americana-obsessed illustrator Mark Ward all joined us for this leg of the journey, leaving their unique marks across 3 boards each.

Deck Chair is one of these projects, where we wanted to explore the results of combining furniture with skate.

Our 5th collaborator is Chinese-born French artist Yué. From illustration to painting, animation or even direction, drawing is always at the base of Yué’s creative process. Combining East and West, he’s been working a lot on burning subjects lately!

What was the inspiration behind the artwork you created?

The main inspiration is to draw something that can age, that exist even after being skated and the patina of time as a chair, and a random and free handrawing style but carve it in the wood, in the matter itself.I usually listen to music when I draw, so there will be a lot of references to what I’m listening to at that moment, and I browse the internet looking for visual stimulations or I flip through magazines and images I collected! It’s changing every minute: I never know what it’s gonna look like til it’s done!

Tell us about your process?

Every new medium is an excuse to explore new techniques, so the each board is a step of the learning process. The first one is the more random one: the lines lack in details, but I’ve tried piroengraving, drilling, burning… On the second and third one, the lines are more controlled. I explored colourblocking and old leaves and tried to create a main horizontal figure and a main vertical figure and different ways to organise smaller doodles! 

What is your most memorable skate moment? 

I don’t skate so I don’t have any memorable moment of my own!

What is your most important piece of furniture?

My bed.

What do you think connects skateboarding and art?

The urge to express yourself. 

What was your favourite board graphic?

Jim Phillips’ screaming hand! That gold and blue Supreme board from back in 2008 or 09, a lot of Geoff McFetridge boards…

Have you seen him?

Who dat?

Our 5th collaborator is Chinese-born French artist Yué
Our 5th collaborator is Chinese-born French artist Yué
Our 5th collaborator is Chinese-born French artist Yué
Our 5th collaborator is Chinese-born French artist Yué
Our 5th collaborator is Chinese-born French artist Yué
Our 5th collaborator is Chinese-born French artist Yué

Our fourth artist is Annu Kilpelainen, a Finnish illustrator with a love for all things ludicrous. Her work ranges from abstract yet intricate murals to eye-meltingly colourful art pieces and illustrated insights to daily urban life, all laced with her technicolor imagination. Her growing list of clients and projects includes The Sunday Times, Battersea Arts Centre her own ‘zine and a colouring book on Evolution coming out later this year.

Here’s what Annu had to say on the Deck Chair collaboration.

What was the inspiration behind the artwork you created?

I wanted the artwork to have movement and be fun and be a bit chaotic like skating. 

Tell us about your process?

Skateboarding requires determination but as well with it comes the ability to relax and have fun. I wanted to show this in the artworks. For the bottom side of the decks I created an everyday scene of girl letting loose on washing dishes – who ever said that can’t be fun? There’s splashy textures to go with the scratches and marks you get from skating. And on the top of the decks I created an abstract pattern, it’s birds eye view of possibly the best skate park in the world with endless amount of curvy ledges and little spots.

What is your most memorable skate moment?

I’ve got to say, I am way better at snowboarding but I got in to skating through that too. Think the most memorable moment has to be learning to skate and hulahoop at the same time. It looks stupid but its actually quite fun.

What is your most important piece of furniture

I think definitely my table, it’s a massive old piece of board found outside my old house. It’s damaged already so few extra paint drops make no difference. It was actually the first piece of furniture I got in London.

What do you think connects skateboarding and art?

Freedom of expression and style and also the fact they are really for everyone and anyone can start skating or doing art just by getting a board or couple of pens.
But also both require countless efforts before you master them and as there’s really no rules there’s endless possibilities to always learn something new.

What was your favourite board graphic?

Finnish Control Skateboards (goes by the name CTRL now, mostly doing streetwear) was massive in Finland in the late 90s. And I was really into the whole ideology and visuals they had. All the graphics either has some funny jokes inserted or cool colours and patterns.

Have you seen him?

Hah, yes and no, on a constant search.

Our fourth artist is Annu Kilpelainen
Our fourth artist is Annu Kilpelainen
Our fourth artist is Annu Kilpelainen
Our fourth artist is Annu Kilpelainen
Our fourth artist is Annu Kilpelainen
Our fourth artist is Annu Kilpelainen

The third artist we’d like to introduce is Mark Foster, aka Fos, aka Mr Heroin Skateboards himself. Aside from owning a renowned skate company, Fos is an Art Director at Altamont apparel, a design graduate from Goldsmiths’ and he also has his own radio show in Los Angeles, a city he now calls home. All you have to do is read the answers to understand why we approached Fos for this project. 

Here is a series of questions to help understand the thinking behind his pieces. 

What was the inspiration behind the artwork you created?

I used colours and images that I’ve been developing for a few years now, that tie into the art direction for Heroin Skateboards.

Tell us about your process?

A lot of the time when I’m in the zone painting things pop into my head, song lyrics when I’m listening to music, or ideas and I write them down on the work. I can’t really predict how the piece is going to come out, its very spontaneous.

What is your most memorable skate moment?

Opening a skateboard mag when I was 13 or 14 and it completely changing my life. Seeing Eric Dressen do a demo in my hometown, Bury in 1988. Skating with one of my heroes, Animal and him teaching me wall rides in about 1989. Skating Manchester every single weekend from 1987-1992, skating Stockwell skatepark in London for the first time, bunking the train from Deptford and skating Southbank every night for years. Skating all the way down the south bank of the thames when it was completely deserted and you could skate anything you wanted. Skating Eiffel tower banks in 1996. Breaking my wrist and deciding to start a skateboard company called Heroin. Going to Japan for the first time and skating and meeting people who would become my friends there. Skating with all my friends in London for the past 18 years usually at Stockwell. Waking up from a dream that I had about doing a new trick that I had never thought of, laughing and thinking I’d never be able to do that trick, going out and learning it and filming it for Video Nasty. Every skate trip I’ve been on. Paris, Barcelona, Tokyo, Osaka, Gran Canaria, Scotland, Madrid, New York, Wales, Cornwall, Prague, Lisbon, Lyon, Le Havre, Los Angeles, Las Vegas. I’m still having skate moments that will be burnt into my brain forever. 

What is your most important piece of furniture?

We got a really great chair from a swap meet in L.A. recently that I like a lot. Probably my drawing desk in my office though really. It’s not that special, but it’s where I do all my work.

What do you think connects skateboarding and art?

Creative thinking, its all from the same place. One day I could stay home and paint, the next day I could go and skate or film, or write a novel, or draw a board graphic. What’s the difference? Thats why I hated art school, “What do you want to be an illustrator or a fine artist? you have to choose now and thats the only path you can go down for the next 20 years” its insanity, David Lynch started out as a painter and now he makes amazing films. 

What was your favourite board graphic?

Too many to mention. My favourite that I’ve done is the Antwuan Black Jesus, because of the time and place and having done a board for a legend. I love the Jason Jesse Neptune, the Santa Cruz Spidey, all the Neil Blender graphics. If I could have any board it’d be the Sean Young Spider board from Antihero from around 1995. Loved that thing.

Have you seen him?

I have.

The third artist we’d like to introduce is Mark Foster, aka Fos
The third artist we’d like to introduce is Mark Foster, aka Fos
The third artist we’d like to introduce is Mark Foster, aka Fos
The third artist we’d like to introduce is Mark Foster, aka Fos
The third artist we’d like to introduce is Mark Foster, aka Fos
The third artist we’d like to introduce is Mark Foster, aka Fos

The second artist we’d like to introduce in our collaborative phase is Mark Ward. His fascination with skateboarding and the magical 80’s Americana era makes him a great addition to the project. Mark has exhibited his artwork in various cities in Europe and America gathering genuine interest for his distinct aesthetic.

We’ve asked each artist a series of questions to help understand the thinking behind their pieces…

What was the inspiration behind the artwork you created?

I wanted to get across that excitement I had as a kid looking at the decks on the skate shop wall – all shiny and new! Taking influence from Andy Takakjian and his work for Vision, I created 3 abstract bright glossy based patterns that are dripping off the decks.

Tell us about your process?

I stare at a wall for what seems like forever going over ideas in my head. I sketch some down and then work out what works best. I then draw everything by hand and then bring it into my mac for colouring up and further detailing.

What is your most memorable skate moment?

The most memorable but not the happiest was when I broke my knee. I flipped a set of stairs to only then be run over by a cyclist as I landed. Probably the cleanest flip I’ve ever done to the most awkward limp home. Apart from that, any time when you land something new. That feeling of progression never gets old!

What is your most important piece of furniture?

Probably my desk. It’s nothing of note but, I found 3 meter squared desks with bolt on chrome legs for £30 in a charity shop. They look great ( when not covered in paint) and take up the width of my studio.

What do you think connects skateboarding and art?

That feeling of independence. You do it for yourself. Progressing at either one gives you that feeling of satisfaction. 

What was your favourite board graphic?

Too many to mention. I like the classics. The Alien workshop spectrum logo had a weird hold over me as a young teenager. I bought the reissue recently - I can’t explain it. Nice geometry and bright colours maybe?

Have you seen him?

On the regular when I started out. Not recently - maybe I should pay him a visit. Anyone got a video player?

Straight Glossin’ by Mark Ward…

The second artist we’d like to introduce in our collaborative phase is Mark Ward
The second artist we’d like to introduce in our collaborative phase is Mark Ward
The second artist we’d like to introduce in our collaborative phase is Mark Ward
The second artist we’d like to introduce in our collaborative phase is Mark Ward
The second artist we’d like to introduce in our collaborative phase is Mark Ward

The first artist we’re proud to introduce is Ged Wells. He’s been involved in the international skate scene since the mid 80s and went on to found his own skate company. Ged can now boast of exhibiting his work in both London & Tokyo with over 30 solo shows. All very fitting to Deck Chairs’ concept of swaying the boundaries between skate, design, art and furniture.

Since challenging each artist with a simple ‘what if?’, we’ve asked them a series of questions to help understand the thinking behind their pieces.

What was the inspiration behind the artwork you created?

First thoughts were around the associations of a traditional deckchair, the requirement to relax with no obligations, a deckchair is a statement of empowered idleness, a secure bubble, this parallels nicely to the Sloth, idleness is its very being. So to build a small narrative; a Sloth hunter painted on the opposite side of the boards, a bit like an lazy killing machine version of Elmer Fudd. 

Tell us about your process?

To create a jungle texture, I  used multiple colours of spray paint and a variety of stencil objects, from lentils to toy lizards, to build layered textures. Pencil and ink drawings were then projected before finishing in acrylic by hand. 

What is your most memorable skate moment? 

Cant find one moment; as for most, best moments can be progression, in making a new trick. 

What is your most important piece of furniture?

Coincidently; a black deck chair handed down from my great grandparents. 

What do you think connects skateboarding and art?

Individual directional impulses in response to aesthetic, physical gratification with a fixation towards ambiguous goals.

What was your favourite board graphic?

My friend Nick did this hand painted 'My Mums’ pastiche graphic in the mid 80s, this was a budget brand like 'Happy Shopper’.

Have you seen him?

Yes, I saw him at the Southbank last year, he now goes by the name Ben Jobe.

Sloth Hunter by Ged Wells…

The first artist we’re proud to introduce is Ged Wells
The first artist we’re proud to introduce is Ged Wells
The first artist we’re proud to introduce is Ged Wells
The first artist we’re proud to introduce is Ged Wells
The first artist we’re proud to introduce is Ged Wells

To introduce is to present and establish an acquaintance. To collaborate is to work with one another in a project.

For the second phase of Deck Chair, we’re pleased to announce the introduction of our collaboration with five artists over the coming weeks.

The concept of collaborating will further explore the reoccurring question of ‘what if?’ and will look to further sway the boundaries between skate, design, art and furniture.

Watch this space as we feature each artist in more depth and their contribution to the project.

To introduce is to present and establish an acquaintance. To collaborate is to work with one another in a project.

We’ve got wood.

We’ve got wood.

8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers… Phase two of our Deck Chair project is now complete and we have a fully constructed prototype.

8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers…
8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers…
8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers…
8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers…
8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers…
8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers…
8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers…
8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers…
8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers…
8 Decks, 74 Bolts, 8 Bushings, 4 Cup Bushing Washers, 136 Washers…

The logo for our Deck Chair project has been constructed from a King Pin Bolt, cut in half and repositioned to form the initials DC.

The logo for our Deck Chair project has been constructed from a King Pin Bolt, cut in half and repositioned to form the initials DC.
The logo for our Deck Chair project has been constructed from a King Pin Bolt, cut in half and repositioned to form the initials DC.
The logo for our Deck Chair project has been constructed from a King Pin Bolt, cut in half and repositioned to form the initials DC.
The logo for our Deck Chair project has been constructed from a King Pin Bolt, cut in half and repositioned to form the initials DC.

Rosie Lee is a London-based creative agency. We work for a number of clients but also carry out a range of self-initiated projects. These projects can begin as a simple idea, a discussion or a simple ‘what if..?’

Deck Chair is one of these projects, where we wanted to explore the results of combining furniture with skate. The initial idea was borne out of a comparison between the ergonomic curves of a board and the curves of designer furniture… but once we started developing concepts, we realised that we could do so much more, crossing over into the broader aspects of skate culture, including photography and art.

This blog will record our ongoing adventures with Deck Chair, the first phase of which is our design for the chair. These renders and drawings demonstrate our initial consideration of skateboards as furniture.