By Jennifer Glickel
SOHO — Alberto Vargas, a talented 18 year old from Queens, will launch his career as a professional photographer on Tuesday when photos of his friends skateboarding debut at a SoHo gallery alongside the work of world-renowned artists.
“SURF/SKATE,” which opens on Tuesday at Clic Gallery, uses the work of 15 artists to provide a glimpse into the urban punk world of skateboarding and the evident hedonism of the surfing lifestyle over multiple decades.
The show features mostly photographs — with some collages and paintings — by artists of varying backgrounds and levels of experience with the sports and with photography, from a world record-holding surfer to a former assistant to famed photographer Richard Avedon.
“Each artist’s work has a unique story behind it, whether it’s where they were taken, when they were taken, or by whom they were taken,” said Angharad Coates, Clic’s director of public relations.
Vargas's work has a special story of its own. Coates said the 18 year old's photographs were incorporated into the show after his English teacher visited the gallery and told a staffer that one of her recent graduates takes great skateboarding photos. The teacher was hoping to see if the gallery could help set Vargas up with an internship with a photographer.
“We looked at his portfolio and we were so impressed with his work that we asked him if he wanted to be included in this show,” Coates said.
The show also includes collages by Montauk surf legend Tony Caramanico, photographs documenting the little-known river surfing community of Munich by commercial photographer Paul Solberg and photographs of punk youth and skaters outside CBGB in the 1980s by Richard Avedon’s former assistant Drew Carolan.
“This really is a fun, irreverent show,” Coates said. “People have been saying, ‘This is rad, this is awesome, this is cool,’ of the show and that’s exactly what we’re going for.”
Accompanying the show will be a display of a number of limited edition signed Supreme skateboard decks designed by renowned pop artists Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami, shown together for the first time in Clic’s show.
“The skate decks are in keeping with the lighthearted feeling of the show overall,” Coates said. “Yeah, we’re showing a Damien Hirst piece. But it’s not just a Damien Hirst — it’s a Damien Hirst skateboard.”
Coates said that people have been calling the gallery around the clock asking when the show officially opens because they are “dying to get their hands on these skate decks.”
“SURF/SKATE” opens at Clic Gallery on Tuesday and runs through September 5th. Clic is located at 255 Centre Street between Broome Street and Grand Street.