Meet The Instagram Skateboard Critic Ted Barrow | A Ph.D. in Art History helps the analysis flow
You probably already know about Instagram skateboard critic Ted Barrow who was profiled a few months back, but Jenkem just went more in-depth with him as the following has grown. Did you know Ted is a professor getting his Ph.D. in Art History? Certainly makes the critical analysis of others skateboarding come easier. Did you know he had a clip in Static V?
Coming from an Art History background and having lived most of his life through the lens of skateboarding, Ted is in a unique position to give us smart talk about skateboarding. Tune in.
Is there’s a disconnect between skating being about not skating and the kind of Thrasherethos of shut up and skate?
Well, I think that this ethos is half bullshit. The fact that you called it a “Thrasher ethos,” for example, reveals this paradox. Is Thrasher skateboarding? Yes, as it is a representation of the culture of skateboarding. But is skateboarding Thrasher? No. Skateboarding is a physical activity. It’s not really a dichotomy when you just accept that the physical and the cultural sides of skateboarding have always been fused.
When I started skating, it was hard, demoralizing, and fun and thrilling, but slow going. I immersed myself in the culture, I read every magazine cover to cover, listened to the bands they advertised, learned new words, etc. It was always cultural for me. Why do we watch skateboarding videos when we don’t skate? Why does skateboard media exist? Because not only is it the most radical activity—as Max Schaaf once described it—it is also the most compelling culture where you’re going to meet the best and worst and most diverse group of people you’ll ever encounter. The media reflects and drives that.
Believe me, I move through a lot of different worlds and scenes, and I remain rooted in skateboarding because I truly think it is the fucking best. When some stranger sends me a clip to review, I know that whether they agree with me or not, we share the same culture, which is rad.