Skeith DeWine, Redefining Skateboarding Culture through LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Representation

Skeith DeWine, founder of the California Leonardo da Vinci Institute of Discovery, is an artist and an Italian Renaissance historian, who has combined his knowledge of the two for his “Out In the Streets” series of stunning and beautiful photographs and paintings on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ skateboarders. This community, he says, are often neglected in the sport.

“I became really concerned with rewriting the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities into the historical narrative of skateboarding,” he tells us. “I have known for several decades that there are gay and BIPOC athletes, but we rarely hear about them or their personal narrative.”

He draws a direct connection from Renaissance art that employs a fisheye view technique, such as the Camera Degli Sposi, to 1960s album covers, like “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the Byrds.

He has applied that technique in his photography, using outdated technology such as old low-resolution digital cameras, Nintendo Game Boy Cameras from the 90s, and forgotten polaroid emulsion processes, beginning with his portraits of Sk8 N Meet, a skateboard club whose members describe it as a group “for people of color who identify as female, queer, trans and/or nonbinary.”

“I aim to reimagine the past as if LGBTQ+ and BIPOC skateboarders had always been an integral part of the skateboard world, with no disparities, only acceptance,” DeWine says. “Through black and white, fisheye photography, and grainy effects, viewers are already inquiring about the whereabouts and ages of these skateboarders.”

The  paintings in the series are mostly portraits of individuals who have contributed to the BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ Community but are also skateboarders or have a connection to the skater world, such as James Franco, who DeWine cites has having fought for LGBTQ+ rights and having written Palo Alto, an early book in his life on skateboard culture. 

The paintings, inspired in part by old Atari, Nintendo Game boy and Colleco Vision 8-bit graphics, are created through both digital and analog means, first hand-drawn, and, photographed, digitally manipulated and then re-painted by hand. 

The effect, as you can see, is vibrant and beautiful. 

Bam Margera
Beto O’Rourke
Brian Anderson
Brittney Griner
Leo Baker

^^^

Original images by Skeith DeWine. Written content by Oblivioni. If you wish to contribute to the “Out in The Streets” skateboard project, kindly contact Grace Kirialla of Creative Visons Foundation at Grace.kirilla@creativevisons.org or Skeith DeWine at Dewine9@aol.com.

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