The worlds of skate, fashion and art are by no means strange bedfellows and skater/artist/designer Louis Slater has clearly proved that, balancing his label, SEX Skateboards, with his striking artwork.
For Slater, there’s a no bullshit approach that stretches across all mediums (“I just spray painted the SEX logo on a t-shirt and it just grew from that to what it is today,” says Slater below). But don’t confuse that for a lack of thought; Slater’s paintings provoke contemporary issues with a nod to some of the artistic heavyweights of our time – think Francis Bacon dealing with the shitstorm that is Brexit.
There’s a boldness and depth to his work that proves this guy means business, but there’s also something subtle about his complete approach that offers a fresh and unconstrained twist. After seeing his latest paintings, we got five minutes of Slater’s time to talk about his label, his art and the Sheffield skate scene – making sure we had all bases covered.
Jane Fayle: Is there a story behind why you chose the name SEX?
Louis Slater: I like the word sex , I like the Sex Pistols, and I like how it offends people.
Jane: How would you describe the skate scene in Sheffield?
Louis: There’s tons of young skaters and also girls skating right now. Then there’s still all the old crew that have been about skating forever – it’s pretty cool. It’s a varied scene with everyone doing there own thing, which is nice.
Jane: You recently collaborated with Dogtown Skateboards, how did that come about?
Louis: I distribute Dogtown in the UK and I hit them up and they were down. Dogtown is the best.
Jane: Your inspiration didn’t just come from skating, but from the art scene too – who would you say your favourite artist is and why?
That’s a tough one, I don’t really have a favourite and I’m influenced by different artists. But I went to the Miro Museum in Barcelona and I love his work, mainly because of how simple it appears.
Jane: It’s been said that your influences come from both music and the works of legendary names such as Picasso, Francis Bacon and Jonathan Messe – to name a few. Now a year on, do you still feel that these are major influences that resonate in your work?
Louis: Their art has influenced me and has lead me to where I am and what I create. But, since I said that (like I said earlier) there are other artists such as Miro, Cy Twombly and Anslem Kiefer – I like their stuff.
Jane: If you could have one person right now wearing your label (dead or alive) who would it be?
Louis: I don’t care about that, I like all the people that choose to wear SEX, it shows something about their personality – that they’re moving forward in this fucked up society.
Jane: How would you describe the role that politics and contemporary society play in your work, especially within the current political climate? One painting in particular that stands out is the Trump with a masked statue of liberty putting Maccie’s fries on his head…
Louis: I’m not going to let politics dictate my art, but the day I did the Trump paintings he must have been on my mind. I don’t really want to get involved in that circus. I did two or three Trump paintings and that’s enough airtime he’s getting from me for now.
Jane: Can you please tell me a bit about your studio, how do you like to work and what’s a typical day in the studio like for you?
Louis: I paint where I work my day job. No real studio space, I paint after I finish work and on weekends.
Jane: Who are you listening to at the moment?
I listen to the same song every day, usually for a month or so. Right now it’s Rolling Stones Miss You (long outtake) from 1978. I listen to it on YouTube every morning and then sometimes throughout the day.
Jane: So, what’s coming up next for SEX?
No idea, it could end tomorrow…