Haroshi isn’t just a boarder for sport, he truly loves skateboards and is an expert when it comes to their parts and how they work. He still skates and has a great appreciation for decks of all shapes and sizes, from their shape to their trucks to the wheels. His affection for these simple objects even compels him to walk around searching the streets for broken skateboard parts so that he can transform them into his lively art.
To create his mosaic-style sculptures, Haroshi selects and stacks the combination of boards that he thinks will work best. Once they are layered, the decks are cut, shaven, and polished. While his choice of materials may seem quite modern, Haroshi’s process is actually in keeping with the process used to make traditional Japanese wooden Buddhas. According to Haroshi’s site, 90% of Buddha statues in Japan are carved from wood, and built using the method of wooden mosaic in order to minimize weight and save materials, which is certainly in keeping with his own anti-waste philosophy.
Another tradition that Haroshi continues on in his artpieces is the act of placing a “soul” within each one of them. “Although one is not able to see from outside, there is a certain metal object that is buried inside his three-dimensional statue,” explains his website. “The object is a broken skateboard part that was chosen from his collection of parts that became deteriorated and broke off from skateboards, or got damaged from a failed Big Make attempt. To Haroshi, to set this kind of metal part inside his art piece means to “give soul” to the statue. “Unkei,” a Japanese sculptor of Buddhas who was active in the 12th Century, whose works are most popular even today among the Japanese people; used to set a crystal ball called “Shin-gachi-rin (new moon circle)” in the position of the Buddha’s heart. This would become the soul of the statue. So the fact that Haroshi takes the same steps in his creation may be a natural reflection of his spirit and aesthetic as a Japanese.”