If street art is the art of the masses, writ upon the public sphere—then skateboarding is the ultimate example.
Early skateboarders took to the streets, finding curbs, abandoned pools, culverts, and underpasses to practice their art, which combines athletic skill with endless options for creativity. Today, public skateparks around the country provide even more concrete canvas for a skater to paint, and Breckenridge is no exception, with the Breckenridge Recreation Center’s recently remodeled skatepark abuzz with activity all summer long.
On August 11-12, 2018, Breckenridge Creative Arts embraces the artistic side of skate culture with Concrete Jams: Sk8 + Jazz, a new event combining live improvisational demonstrations by professional skaters Bucky Lasek, Jordyn Barratt, and X Games legend Andy Macdonald with a live fusion of jazz, funk, and hip-hop by Denver’s The Other Black. Co-presented by the Rec Center as a part of the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, the event is free to all and includes open skate sessions before and after the demos, as well as a children’s workshop on Friday, August 10.
“There’s a lot of creativity in skating—especially in skating bowls and parks,” said Barratt, a recent high school graduate and X Games medalist who won the VANS Combi Classic in 2017. “There are so many different obstacles, curves, hips, and heights. You can go back and forth, carve it to the right, carve it to the left. Everyone can skate it completely differently,” she said. “I feel in skateboarding you can choose how and what you skate,” added Lasek, a repeat X Games gold medalist who is widely considered the number one vert skater in America. “Some choose an out-of-the spotlight form and others choose a more mainstream approach,” he said. “Skateboarding is an art form either way—it carries a unique expression of your own style, very much like art.”
For Lasek, creativity is present “the moment you first step on a skateboard, choose which way you stand and then which foot you choose to push with, followed by your path and inspiration. Skateboarding is very much in the moment and you have to improvise all the time,” he said, but it “does come down to relying on skill. There’s nothing like making back-to-back tricks that in the moment you make look easy, but in reality they usually each take many tries to make. Contest runs are usually the culmination of these magical moments.”
Both Barratt and Lasek have taken part in demos that combine live music and skateboarding before—a scenario that promises for good energy, a good crowd, and a good skate session. “Having a crowd and live music really pumps me up,” said Barratt. Often, it means she’ll try a trick she hasn’t done before over a certain obstacle, or take a trick she knows to greater heights. She hopes guests will walk away from Concrete Jams “knowing that skating is something creative and good for people to do,” in contrast to the bad rap it sometimes gets. “Also, girls and guys can do it,” she said.
“I would hope they visually get their minds blown—and take away what skateboarding has to offer as an outlet to so many,” said Lasek. “Maybe even pick one up for themselves and have a go.”
Photos courtesy of Andy Macdonald, Jordyn Barratt, Wes Watkins/Other Black.