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Skate Stories: Hidden skateboarding spots and creativity

Blackpool bods whose skateboarding activities feed into their creativity. In this article, we talk to a chap known as “Sandy” to his pals.

Tell us who you are:

My Name Is Rob Sanderson, most skateboarders and artists know me as Sandy, I’ll be turning 32 this year, born and raised in Blackpool.
I’ve been skating for about 17-18 years now which doesn’t feel that long ago, I’m starting to feel the ache now though, having to stretch and get warmed up more each time I go out.
What came first skating or creativity?
Skateboarding definitely came first, I was sketching things since I was in high school but never had a passion for art at all.

I have been drawing and illustrating now for about 8 years but it is only in the past 3-4 years that I have developed my own recognisable art style with art pieces on display in local bars such as Dirty Blondes and Bootleg Social.

What made you start drawing and what, who inspires you?
It’s a funny thing this, I was never really interested in art at all at a young age, I used to do a few doodles when I was about 12-13, I ended up drawing “Le Poulpe Colossal” which is a french depiction of the Kraken from the 1800s for my mum. I never really took much heed in art lessons at school as I found it really boring doing “life drawings”, I prefer to draw from the imagination, that way I can draw things that don’t exist or even mash up several different ideas. I take most of my inspiration from the 90’s Cartoons, the old cartoons from Fleischer studios, where animation first started, how they move and metamorphose from a character into something completely different and horror films definitely have an influence on the things that I draw.
Do you think creativity influences skateboarding or vice versa?
I do think they go together massively, in their own right skateboarding could be compared to art; there are so many different styles to each skateboarder, with how they flick their board or how they push, even down to fashion sense.
It can be a spectacle to watch perhaps it does have a similar aspect to admiring art in a gallery: composition, the flow, even the technique of how the piece was made.
When I visited Barcelona I notice all the skateboarders outside of The Museum of Contemporary Art – it felt like a great combination. I like your graphic work around those kinds of notable skate spaces – how did they come about? 
With regards to MACBA in Barcelona, I don’t think many of the skaters may have stepped foot in there as they would be too busy skateboarding outside haha.
Thanks, I had the idea for it roughly about a year ago and only started making them quite recently due to sheer laziness and procrastination on my part.
I have a few more destinations in mind, more places where I have been personally such as Paris & Berlin. For iconic skate spots though I’m currently working on one where the infamous Natas spin was first done, it’s looking pretty cool so far but I have a long way to go.
I honestly think the Blackpool skate scene is massively underrated, besides people coming to skate the skate spots it rarely gets visited by people farther away from Preston.
We have an array of street spots widely different from many of the larger cities and towns, they may have marble ledges and smooth floors, but with the perfection of these spots, they don’t have the character that the Blackpool spots have.
I believe the scene is quite inclusive and I’ve noticed that it has been growing quite a lot recently, down to an influx of younger skateboarders hungry to skate including an increase in girl skateboarders which has supported a girls-only skateboard night at Ramp City. I know Big Woody has acquired a generous amount of funding so far for the Stanely Park skatepark to be built, and we’re very close to target for this; I’m genuinely excited. We also need more people like you guys promoting the scene and taking a genuine interest.
What qualities do you think  make skating inclusive? Why do you think more girls are getting into it?
It’s a question I ask myself quite often, skateboarding seems to be highly accepting of everyone, whether you’re white, black, Asian, male, female, LGBTQ; we can all bond and get together and progress. It’s quite mad that a silly thing such as skateboarding which in essence boils down to a plank of wood and a couple of wheels has no real gender equality, and I think that’s an amazing aspect of it all.
I think recently there’s been quite an influx of girls skateboarders mainly down to encouragement and possibly seeing that girls can ride skateboards as well as the guys can, you take people like Sky Brown who is a UK girl skateboarder, she has quite a large following on Instagram as she’s doing stuff at her age better than the guys, this is definitely a positive in the UK girl skate scene. Safe spaces for girls to learn also like the girl skate night at ramp city, which before lockdown happened once a month and are now starting up again. These events help massively, where girls can hang out with, encourage each other and learn from more seasoned skateboarders.
I think creativity got people through lockdown, perhaps skating did too? How much of them did you do through this time.
Throughout the originally lockdown period I’ll be honest I didn’t do a lot of skateboarding until restrictions were lifted, I got out a few times during the main lockdown and just went to a local car park and skated around on my own, learned a few new tricks.
When I go skateboarding I prefer to be with other people as there is more of a vibe if that makes sense?
After the initial period of lockdown and when restrictions were lifted I went on a few trips down to places such as Milton Keynes and Nottingham to film for a new video that is coming out featuring local Blackpool skateboarders. That helped me massively as it felt slightly back to normal, and not the complete dread of Covid.

I often wonder about Blackpool kinda being stuck in a very traditional tourist format. Attracting drinking culture stags and hens to the town – how does Bootleg and Dirty Blondes feed into an alternative culture for you in Blackpool.  

I think we need more of this kind of bars to give the more “alternative” people more choices of places to go on a night out or to go to socialise with friends, Bootleg used to be a big choice for me on a night out as they can have live performances every now and again of either new and upcoming or underrated artists. I remember going there when I was roughly 19 (When it was Jenks and not Bootleg) to see an artist called Sabrepulse which was really weird to think he came to Blackpool.  

  Dirty Blondes, I love the decor in there, the vibe is so good as well, everyone seems to be of the same frame of mind, it seems a safe place to go with your friends to have a few drinks and just relax, I’m pretty sure they have a no dickheads policy there also hahaha which is awesome. 

I look at the prom and think that’s perfect for cool beachfront bike hire, longboard cafe – do you think that kind of thing could be possible for Blackpool. 

I would like to agree with you, but I know there used to be bike hire stands scattered across the promenade and in the town centre, I don’t believe they did as well as the council thought they would? An alternative Cafe would be great though, all the cafes in Blackpool, bar a few coffee shops (Upside Down, etc) are extremely generic and cater to more tourist trap spots, with nothing remotely interesting inside, would be great to see a modern cafe/barista with some good food, interesting decor, and staff with a story to tell. 

Find out more about Robert Sanderson and his work here:

Instagram 

Buy his prints here

Hidden skate spots Instagram

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