Old masters on new boards

Caroline Zöller

Published on 29.07.2020

A French manufacturer applies art to surfboards and skateboards with the aid of silk-screen printing.

Although the skateboard and surfboard manufacturer Boom Art, based in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, is specialised in producing limited editions with art motifs, the founders maintain that “We are first and foremost skaters and surfers and used to build boards and live this culture long before the sport became cool and morphed into a lifestyle”.

Starting the art ball rolling

Boom Art decorates boards with images of the old masters. François Boucher’s rococo masterpiece The Triumph of Venus is a very popular motif alongside many Renaissance paintings. The depiction of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delight, for example, extends across no less than three skateboards. More frivolous images can be found in Wally Wood’s “Disney Memorial Orgy 1967” or in Alain Aslan’s images from the seventies. However, Boom Art also finds room for the work of contemporary artists on both skateboards and surfboards. 

The act of spreading a work of art across several boards is what makes the company’s limited editions (restricted to just ten copies) so special. In the case of skateboards, individual works may extend across as many as seven single boards which go to make up a single motif. With surfboards, it is the diptych and imposing triptychs which dominate the company’s range of limited editions. In view of the correspondingly exclusive prices demanded for such works, it is possibly a moot point as to whether these hand-made boards will ever come into contact with saltwater or asphalt – or if they will not instead probably finish up hanging on a wall in their owner’s living room. Boom Art leaves the choice entirely up to the buyer, although it does provide customers with a wall bracket as part of the deal.

Handmade using classical silk-screen printing

The skateboards are made of maple and manufactured in-house by hand in France, with the plywood coming directly from Canada from certified, sustainable forests. The surfboards are made of polyester resin and polyurethane foam which is moulded by hand. Silk-screen printing is used to apply the motifs.

Boom Art’s printing method allows a precise and detailed representation of the artworks, right down to the subtlest of brushstrokes and the original colours used. The motif is initially printed onto textile and then embedded in the surface of the surfboard or skateboard.

Nevertheless, the company is also involved in promoting surfing and skateboarding as sports. At the end of last year, Boom Art produced a skateboard series, together with the skater Guy le Tatooer, which is being used to fund the renovation of the La Digue skater park. The boards bore a motif designed by the artist in the style of the park. 50 percent of sales revenue flowed directly into the project. The manufacturer has also donated eight skateboards to be raffled off as part of a current charity campaign for the Red Cross.

Images: Boom Art, text: Carolin Zöller