Posted by:on February 3rd, 2016
A reader named Rossco sent me a link to a Jason Jesse Sun God mini board that his friend Stephane Rouget had carved out of stone… Yes, out of STONE. A stone cutter in this modern age belongs to be a club whose membership has got to be getting smaller with each decade. Marrying an ancient technique with the fleeting graphic arts of skateboarding certainly caught my interest. After checking it out, I decided to ask Stepahne for a short interview to find out more about the project. The board is a carved on a 1:1 scale, and includes concave and a kicktail. It’s more or less an exact replica, outside of the thickness. Thanks to Stephane for taking the time to answer some questions.
[Photos of Stephane: Ben Perry]
So what’s your background in skateboarding?
I am from the Natas Kaupas (street on fire is still a favourite of mine), Jason Jessee generation. I felt in love with the skate sculpture when i was 16 after seeing the Suicidal tendencies video of guys skating in a house and out into a pool… hooked ever since! I also ran in the 90’s a local fanzine called Osbone… Happy times.
I stopped for a while and came back to skateboarding in my thirties when I moved to Cornwall. Skateboarding was very much part of my lifestyle with surfing.
How did you become a stone cutter/carver?
I have learn to be a graphic designer the old way, doing calligraphy, drawing fonts, etc, so to understand the dynamic of letters we had to carve the roman capital as part of our studies… It did not took long to get addicted to the letter cutting. Having a curious mind did not help either, and from letter cutting I slowly but surely found my way into stone carving and stone masonry.
What possessed you to carve the Jason Jesse board?
Stone masons have been carving green men for centuries and for me the SUNGOD design is very close to this (especially the carving of Belenos in Bath). Stonemasonry is a very old trade, mainly concentrating on restauration, preserving the past and passing trade from hand to hands really. I thought that I was in between 2 cultures, an old one (stone masonry) and a very new and very creative one that is looking at the future (“the “extreme sports) and the Jason jessee carving is linking them both together… making my both cultures one, and not two distincts and separate things…. it defined me in a weird way at the time…??? Cringe…. Hoping it makes sense?
How long did it take you?
I started to carve the shape and concave 2 years ago and finished in december 2015. But I did not carve it everyday. It probably took me a month to do. I did the sun god once and learning on the way i got better at doing the hair and beard so i did it a second time over what was done earlier!!!
Can you go into the process and materials choice a little?
The process was simple. I bought the original board. Took all the measurements, including the degrees of the tail, nose and concave, thickness… then i cut the outline of the board on the stone (profile). Then i had to transfer the design into the stone. The main problem was that Jim Phillipps did draw a fake 3D effect using screen printing techniques, which applied in real 3D doesn t work. So i had to find the real 3d way to do the hair/flame etc… That was very challenging. The beauty was in Jim Phillipps Lines, they are all amazing, not one line is broken or does feel odd to the hand, pure organic flow… I have so much respect for his flair and technique! The choice of stone was very simple: the best one available in the UK: Portland stone basebed. It catches the light and take high details! It is a beauty.
Why are you selling it?
I am selling it because i am moving out of my workshop and will work more with Cornish granite… I would not be sad not to sell it, at the same time the carving represent a time of my life which i have moved on. Somehow looking at it is looking back at the past, and i want to look at the future, and why not do another one!
I would have never believed that being a skateboarder would have define who i am, how i look at life and what i do so much… Saying so I don t skate anymore, I mainly surf, but the skateboarder mind frame will never leave me and I still look at steps, curbs in the street… and what i see is opportunities, tricks, ways of using them that 99% of people walking there will never see, comprehend, only a skateboarder will. We use environment and things in ways that they weren’t meant to be – which is probably why skateboarders are very creative or in creative industries…. it is a mind frame… and a stone is not meant to be skated with… really?
Thanks to Ben Perry for the photos.
Squirrel Bait – Sun God – 1985
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