Darren Blocksidge is a heavy shredder local to the Worcester area. The first time I met him, he turned up to a competition at the skatepark in Leamington and just blasted around the park with some of the fastest and gnarliest tricks I’ve seen down there. Little did I know he is also an extremely talented artist! I took the opportunity to ask him some questions about art, skateboarding and the links between.
First things first, can you give a little introduction about yourself, as a skateboarder and artist?
So, my name is Daz, I’ve been skateboarding for around 13 years. I skate mostly blocks, stairs and gaps – I like a good challenge. I’ve been creating art since I could hold a pencil as a child. I’ve always painted, but the last 3 years I’ve been pushing my oil painting, and pushing creatively to get into a headspace of surrealism! I see both art and skateboarding as surreal. Art and skateboarding definitely go hand in hand, can’t live without them!
Where did you first learn to skate?
Always been a Worcester lad, so I grew up skating here. I grew up skating with my good friend Charlie Tyndale, and we always just pushed each other with dares to do silly things on our boards!
What’s the scene like round Worcester?
The Worcester scene used to be amazing, but it has slowly died off over the years. Mainly because we lost our skate shop, Spine, owned by Chris Bourke. We still have a fair few skateboarders in the city, but not like it used to be, which is a massive shame.
Were you about when Perdiswell skatepark first opened then?
Yes I was – crazy how time goes by! Haha
What came first: your interest in skateboarding or art?
It would have to be art. I’ve been doing art since before I could ride a skateboard. Skateboarding came to me when I was around 13 years old, but I’m so addicted to both.
How did you get into oil painting?
I’ve always been really inspired by artists such as Turner, Kay Sage and the mighty Zdzisław Beksiński. I’ve always found the Dystopian Surrealism world a beautiful place.
Is art something you’ve pursued professionally, or do you like to keep art and your day job separate?
Oh man, I’d love to be a professional artist but unfortunately I have to keep the day job for a steady income. My day job is pretty much painting anyway – I paint canal boats for a living, so I’m doing some kind of painting/art all the time.
How does skateboarding impact the art you produce? Does it inspire anything you’ve made?
Well, I see skateboarding as a very surreal thing, so I’ve always been inspired by that. My illustrations are more inspired by skateboarding than my oil paintings. I’ve created DVD covers for skate videos, and other designs for skateboard companies over the years. It’s always rad to do a nasty skateboard illustration!
Which companies have you produced artwork for?
Mainly friends. The Wizards Key: they are my good friends from Canada, they kick ass and skate hard, so definitely worth checking out! I do all the artwork for Cornmarket, and I’ve done some for A Third Foot.
Who are your favourite artists within the skateboarding world?
100% Ed Templeton!!
What’s your favourite board graphic of all time?
It’s so hard to choose! I really like Vision’s boards, they all are so good. I like Blast skates too!
Is skateboarding art?
Of course! What isn’t art?
Which famous surrealist scene would make the best skate spot?
I’m saying “The Lugubrious Game” by Dali.
I just googled it and it looks like a legit Barca ledge spot!
It would be a mental spot to skate!
Anyone you want to thank?
I’d like to thank you! Also Stanzilla, Jord Lightowler and Chris Bourke! The list goes on, you’re all epic!! Big love!!