The Skateroom | Charles-Antoine Bodson

Where skateboarding, fine art, and global philanthropy collide.

Written by

Isaac Dektor

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Skateboarding and the art world have long intertwined, with graphic artists like Jim Philips and Wes Humpston leading the way in the '80s. Skulls and pentacles reigned supreme, reflecting punk rock as the bedrock of skate culture. As skateboarding evolved from its nonconformist roots into a mainstay of the Summer Olympics, the artwork on skate decks became more intricate and diverse. However, The Skateroom takes it a step further, propelling the artistic evolution of skateboarding. By featuring renowned works from iconic artists on their boards, they transform the utilitarian deck into a mesmerizing canvas to be marveled at.

Founded in 2014 in Brussels, The Skateroom thrives at the intersection of art, skateboarding, and social impact, all under the guidance of Charles-Antoine Bodson. With a blend of artistry, philanthropy, and a passion for skateboarding, The Skateroom crafts bespoke skate decks adorned with the brilliant works of renowned artists. The list of iconic artists who have collaborated with Bodson and adorned his skate decks reads like a who's who of the art world: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Jeff Koons, Ai Wei Wei, Keith Haring, to name just a few.

Most recently, this intersection of fine art and skate culture has taken shape through a collaboration with Foundation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland. To mark their new exhibition, Basquiat: The Modena Paintings, The Skateroom developed a series of triptyques across skate decks, with work from Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 series created by the artist in Italy.

What sets The Skateroom apart is their unwavering commitment to giving back, contributing a 10 percent of revenue to organizations like Skateistan—a global nonprofit empowering and educating at-risk youth through skateboarding. “These people on the ground are doing a tremendous job for their community,” shares Bodson. The Skateroom’s reach helps to shine a spotlight on the socially minded organizations, which reflect the community at the center of skating. 

Bodson is a globally minded individual, the kind of guy who’s equally at ease sipping coffee in a West Hollywood boutique hotel as he would be embarking on an adventurous trek through the South American jungle. 

He’s carved out a unique space for himself at the crossroads of art and skateboarding, with out-of-the-box ideas like printing Andy Warhol’s self portraits on skate decks, which is proving to be a smash-hit among skaters and collectors alike. Reflecting on The Skateroom’s story, he humbly expresses, "you must understand that in the story of The Skateroom—my idea was to have an impact on the social project, and that's all."

The Skateroom was conceived in 2014 through a serendipitous encounter between Bodson and Skateistan founder Oliver Percovich in Paris. Inspired by Skateistan's success in Afghanistan and its desire to establish a second skate school, Bodson was instantly captivated by their mission and determined to lend his support. A connected art gallery owner based in Brussels, he made the bold decision to sell 80 percent of his private skate deck collection, raising funds for the cause. “Long story short, I sold 3200 decks very quickly,” he said. “I kept 800 for my daughter, the best ones probably.” 

After attending the Cambodia skatepark's grand opening, Bodson realized he couldn't return to his former career as a gallery owner—he yearned to continue making a difference. “Three months later, I was hit by the reality of the program, by the smile of the kids, by the beauty of the movement, and the interaction of what he [Percovich] had placed on the ground.” Today, with over 350 skate deck editions, The Skateroom has contributed over $1.5 million to social projects worldwide.

The social enterprise shows no signs of slowing down. Having earned B-corp status in 2019, they localized production to reduce emissions and contributed to forest conservation projects to offset wood consumption.  “I think we can change the world by engaging all our consumption to have an impact on the communities who do not have the chance to consume,” said Bodson.

The Skateroom invented a machine that enables artists to render original works directly onto the decks. “We have developed new tools of production,” he explains. “And now we are doing original decks with the artists. We have invented a machine where we can do silkscreen directly on the decks in five minutes.”

Recently, The Skateroom collaborated with Taiwanese visual artist John Yuyi to raise funds for the Kovalem Skate Club—a nonprofit promoting education and gender equality in South India through skateboarding. Additionally, in partnership with The Broad, they produced a special box set of four decks featuring works by Keith Haring.

Between new and exciting collaborations, ongoing philanthropy across the globe, and a constantly expanding business model, The Skateroom is an organization to watch. “Young people don't want to be Gordon Gekko in New York anymore,” said Bodson. “Their dream is to live a meaningful life. And it's so encouraging. This generation will change the world.” 

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Charles-Antoine Bodson, The Skateroom, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol