From 2014 to 2016 I was living directly next to Hoxton Station in Hackney, London. I had wanted to learn to skateboard for a long time and after finally procuring a deck from a friend, was off in search of a place nearby where I could purchase wheels, trucks and bearings. Only a few blocks away, I stepped into a skate shop on Hackney Road, Parlour Skate Shop, a local run by two pro skaters, Carl and Bryce.
At the time, I was working on a brief project for my bachelors degree that had directed us to partner up with others from our course and find an establishment to create a campaign or window display for. Upon entering Parlour and meeting Bryce, I was alerted to the fact that they were about to receive a shipment of merchandise from Hélas, a french skate brand. Immediately, I saw the opportunity to create a rad window display and got the okay from the shop owners to get started on the project.
After rounding up a motley crew of talented individuals from my course, Davide Virdis, Alex Williams and Luc Szivo, the concept began coming together. Skateboarding as a subculture has long had roots in DIY movements and the culture generally thrives on debauchery and hedonism. Hackney, well known for it's street art affiliations (shout out to Banksy), was the perfect setting to invite a bunch of skaters for a DIY skate session. Staking out an empty space on Gorsuch Street, a glorified alley just off of Hackney Road and Cremer Street, we lugged over 8 massive plywood boards to paint on and paint in the tones from the Hélas spring/summer 2016 collection. The plan was the paint the boards freestyle (each team member was a talented painter/illustrator in their own right) and to eventually use them to create our window display. Once these boards were painted, we alerted any skaters that we knew that we were filming a skate video and began filming people using the freshly painted boards as obstacles for street tricks.
The boards were eventually cut into a sculptural shelving unit that we designed and built to showcase the newest Hélas merchandise. The video we filmed (BLOW) was played on a 1980's television that we located at a thrift shop and incorporated into the shelving unit to round out the display.