Oyster #95: Mark Gonzales
I like to bone women, but I like to look at a man.
For Oyster issue #95 Joseph Allen Shea interviewed Mark Gonzales, iconic skateboarder and artist. Gonzales gave us his take on pretty much everything:
Without intending to, Mark Gonzales has achieved a legendary status, not only for his skateboarding prowess and prolific art practice, but also for his aloofness and unpredictable antics. Having worked with him for three years before we even exchanged words - all correspondence had been through his wife - this summer in Paris I was able to pin him down long enough for an interview, albeit a rambling and slightly random one.
Joseph Allen Shea: Your background is skateboarding, but I also think you could say that you've been a proponent of the crossover between skateboarding and art. It's a popular belief that they do go hand-in-hand, skateboarding and creativity. Would you agree?
Mark Gonzales: Definitely. Skateboarding and creativity go hand-in-hand for sure.
So, you think it's quite an artistic pursuit, skateboarding?
Yeah. Well, it opens your mind, you know? Especially if you invent tricks - to invent a new trick, especially nowadays, is rare. Everything's been done, you know? You do it one way, then you reverse it. And then in art you can always think of things like that too. A lot of artists are obsessed with turning things inside out, or flipping them over, upside down. It's so childlike.
You're also reappropriating existing structures; changing the elements, or the materials, that you're dealing with.
Well, a lot of the artists are changing now. A lot of the? not the artists are changing, but [rather] the methods with which they create their work are changing.
And do you think this is?
I don't think it has anything to do with skateboarding.
What about publishing and mass-producing? Is that important to you and your practice, or is it just something that comes afterwards?
Well, books are, like, the best. You know, you should see my library collection.
Yeah. It's in San Francisco and New York.
So big you had to spread it over two cities?
What's important about books?
As a kid, I always enjoyed looking through books. That was my favourite thing. And when I came across naughty books, I was always tempted to go back to them, but I was scared; I'd hide them and put them back and pretend that I didn't see them.
You missed the opening of the show [Public Domaine, a group show at La Ga