A conversation with Mark "Schmiddy" Schmid the CEO of Art Function Group and the inventor of the Sk8ology skate deck display stands.

By Nicholas Yau

Published 1st Feb 2021

There is an emerging trend amongst today's art collectors looking for contemporary 'objet d'art' - works of art that are not paintings, sculptures, prints, or drawings.

For hundreds of years collectors have been building 'cabinets of curiosities' that bring together fascinating objects and non-traditional artwork. Traditionally these have comprised of things like Fabergé eggs, fossils, miniature portraits, carvings and other interesting rarities.

Today’s collector is reinventing this age-old tradition with more contemporary collectibles such as sneakers, skateboards and recent memorabilia.

One man who knows more about this than anyone is Mark Schmid the inventor of the Sk8ology skate deck display stands being used for the upcoming Centrepoint fundraising auction – Objects of Art | The Skateboards.

Ahead of the auction, we caught up with Mark to hear more about skate decks transition to fine art.

Mark, thank you for supporting Objects of Art | The Skateboards the fundraising auction for Centrepoint charity.

Can you tell us a bit about Sk8ology and its history ?

Our pleasure to support! The genesis of Sk8ology was completely self serving as I personally wanted a way to hang up my skateboard deck collection without the use of fishing line, shoe laces, zip ties, or multiple screws in the wall...The black “T” nuts we use were originally made by Powell/Peralta for their noses/tails/rails in the 1980’s and I always liked the precise fit when holding their plastic protective parts on the decks of that era...the fit was so precise that with a longer screw the displayed decks would float with no hardware showing.Voila! We got our “Floating” aesthetic and our business was born. The year was 2007.

In your time involved in skateboarding culture, what defined the moment where these wooden boards came to be considered as fine art or historical memorabilia?

I LOVE all the era’s of skateboarding decks. My first board in the late 1960’s was a mahogany butcher block style board that my Dad painted gray. He painted a “Jaws” style mouth on the top and hammered in some black nails into two filed down rail indentations to gift me the oceans most feared predator in the form of a skateboard.it was a work of art! The skateboard is such a form of self expression that it was destined to become a canvas...As skaters started customizing their own boards with art, the manufacturers got the hint and figured out the formula: Brand, Pro, Artist.not necessarily in that order, but those 3 elements.

As described by yourselves, “The influence of skateboarding runs deep through the founders of the Sk8ology brand.” What is it about skateboarding that has made it become such a cultural phenomenon?

Skateboarding was my first cultural passion. I remember falling asleep with the latest issue of Skateboarder Magazine every night in the summer of 1976.Saving up for the ultimate deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, & hardware. Going skateboarding everyday from after school until dark. There was a revolution in equipment technology that made the transition from the older equipment feel like the new stuff was like riding on clouds (loose ball bearings to precision bearings in softer/higher traction wheels)...those were such great memories. Waking up every morning with the simple objective of defying physics on a skateboard...There were millions of us with that exact same feeling. With the complexities of life, skateboarding was & still is, such a simple joy. Everytime I see a displayed skateboard, it takes me back to that time in my life when nothing mattered except skateboarding.

At what point did you feel the need to develop a product to showcase skate decks and recontextualise them?

Again, it was the need to respect & honor my own skateboard deck collection. Who are some of the skate deck artists that stand out to you? There are so many ...you almost gotta go by era. Here’s my spitballed list: Blender, Humpston, Fairey, Gonz, Templeton, Howell, McKee, Neckface, Miller, Jimbo Phillips, VCJ, Horton, Francis, Bratrud, Pushead, Pendleton….the list could go on for a while.

What are the highlights from your skate deck collection?

The one of a kind hand painted set from Jayson Atienza are my current favorites….

Which collection to you admire the most?

One of the owners of MailChimp (the email service) Dan Kurzius, has a really solid collection….so does Johnny Schillereff of Element Fame, & Dyrdeks is really good (gives 100% credit to his parents who had AWS always send them a new model to archive)

What advice would you give to a first-time buyer looking to display skate decks and build their collection?

Buy what you like, what makes you feel good when you look at it. Get it on the wall.don’t let it hide in your closet.

What is next for Sk8ology, how can people follow what you are up to?

We are finally building out our new website.and, maybe we should be a bit more into the ‘gram?

And finally, with your very discerning eye, which of the skate decks in the auction has caught your attention?

My favorites are the Olly Fathers Pushing Shapes & Grayson Perry Kateboard...oh, nice work by you guys on your lighting...makes a HUGE difference!

Thank you Mark.