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The Skewville Twins

As the twins celebrate their combined 80th birthday and decades of deviance, we chat about skewed ideals, spy vans and Converse knock-offs

The artistic twins Ad and Droo - aka Skewville - are famous for throwing-up wooden kicks over power cables all over the world, and although they still do this, it is not the only thing that defines their art. They have a very distinctive and retro feel to their inside and outdoor installations. And as today, February 3, sees them celebrate their combined 80th birthday party, we spoke to Ad about kicks and all things Skewville...

Dazed Digital: Who came up with the idea of producing wooden kicks?
Ad Skewville:
Skewville did....OK OK... so Droo said the words first... but there always should have been a Skewville rule, since most great ideas came outta sitting around and getting high, so if you were in the room during fruition then you have part ownership.

DD: Has the design changed over the years?
Ad Skewville: We grew up wearing cheap converse knock off style sneakers, so since we started our sneaker mission in 1999 it’s always been about keeping that style but changing up the editions. Kinda like making all the cool shit we never got as kids... but we were still keeping that childhood dream and making new editions every year.

DD: How long have you been throwing them up and how many do you think you have produced so far?
Ad Skewville: We stopped counting after 10 years and about 5,000 pairs... 10,000 sneakers!

DD: How often were you and your brother going out and throwing your shoes up in the air? What was the most you did in one night?
Ad Skewville: The truth is the whole point of this underground movement was to be underground, but I tell you the best part of going out was kids thought we were cops rolling around in a van spying on them... when it was just us looking for spots!

DD: Do you think most people define Skewville by the sneaker fame?
Ad Skewville: Skewville is always trying to move away from the sneaker mission fame but still trying to keep the street cred thing in the background. We still do it.... but don’t really want to talk too much about it... especially about selling it or ‘where next’?

DD: Was it a natural progression to move on to walls and then into the gallery space?
Ad Skewville: I guess, for us it was always about changing things up, or maybe we just got bored easily. But one thing is for sure, since we never caught fame and/or fortune early on with the sneaker mission, it definitely made us want to try new applications within the Skewville realm. We are truly glad we didn’t get pigeon holed into doing the same thing. Thanks everyone.

DD: How would you describe your style and how has it changed since the early days?
Ad Skewville: The classic Skewville style is most known for its bold graphics and blocky letters advertising some sorta skewed ideal or lingo. The evolution of this so called style is now expanding that vernacular using various urban materials to go beyond the 2d surface, from elaborate installations or basic sculptures, to painting on found objects or simply silk-screening cement onto walls, we are always on a quest to find that undefined next level.

DD: Where does the inspiration for your pieces come from?
Ad Skewville: Damn! I wish I knew. Often times the best stuff just happens. I think over thinking things usually complicates everything, and it’s just a waste of time trying to think you can recreate someone elses formula... including your own.

DD: Who came-up with the idea of creating the recent playground themed show at the White Walls Gallery?
Ad Skewville: Whitewalls Gallery invited us to do a show in San Fran, but it was the curator, Tova Lobatz that asked if we would be down to make a Skewville playground. Uh. "Hells Yeah".

DD: What can you tell me about Skewville's 80th birthday party?
Ad Skewville: With the simple math aside, it’s our basic way to shamelessly promote our decades of deviance by doing simultaneous coast to coast shows and showcase our collection of unseen Skewville pieces as well as artwork that people didn’t buy when it was cheap... along with a birthday cake.

Text by Helen Soteriou