Rough cement and rusty kinks. Gettin’ gritty in ol’ Virginny.
Nate Benner | Kickflip Fakie | Photo by Dave Mull
After a long day driving from Baltimore to Appomattox, Virginia, our cousin-in-law, Noah, insisted we session his garage even though we didn’t roll in until midnight. His super mellow mini-ramp and this pressure sensitive light-up box thing that his hardcore band uses gave us some late-night regalement before hittin’ the hay.
For the past three years I’ve been working at a prep school in Massachusetts. Students here are academically motivated and follow a pretty rigorous daily schedule. For many, there’s not too much that’s unscheduled. Perhaps it’s because of this that the desire to be wild is sometimes even stronger. Maybe it’s something innate in us. Whatever the reason, all I know is that this spring, there are a lot of kids coming out to skate and just be wacky fairly often after classes. The 19th century wild man of the woods, Henry David Thoreau says, “I would not have every man cultivated any more than I would have every acre of earth cultivated.” This is the uncultivation of kids at the Academy. This is kids being wild, and really, just being kids.
Birds, wind, bricks, and grass hill bombs. Baltimore was a fun quick stop.
Fall in New England for many means leaf peeping. Leaf peeping, v. The act of driving north to Vermont from New York or New Jersey in the autumn in a sport utility vehicle with an I heart Vermont bumper sticker to gaze at picturesque foliage and go outlet shopping. For many New England kids though, the turning color of the foliage means work. It’s the season when the old man sends you out to do a little bit of raking. Well, a ton of raking sometimes. When we were younger, this work had its benefits though. When you were finished, you always had a pile of feather-light crunchiness in which to jump and perfect the moves of your wildest imaginings. We used to even put a bike ramp up to freshly raked piles.
“This series of 9” x 6” woodblocks is an exploration of geography. The blocks were printed in varied arrangements, each time trying to find a new relationship. Boundary lines or borders are both maintained and transgressed, identities kept and altered. The lines, shapes, and movements of the prints are informed by the landscape around us: the pines that border this campus, traces of the tide along the shore, shafts of light cast across the road in the morning, leaves and small rocks gathered against a building by the wind.”