Subculture Visual Codes In Skateboard Deck Art

Student Status



I examined the visual culture behind the skateboarding community. Various brands represent different visual identity. The imagery includes photography, illustrations, paintings, and typography. Each artwork would represent the style of a particular artist, used as a canvas, or convey a message. The messages would generally represent the subculture movement. Skating is often associated with the anti-establishment movement, for its free nature acts as a revolution against the confines of our societally expected conformity. Artists such a Shepard Fairey who’s politically and socially driven messages have gained commercial and critical success. The use of messages gives the skateboard more of a purpose than just to skate, but also as a way to express your ideals, your identity, and what you represent. Using skate decks as a canvas for a counter- culture narrative makes perfect sense. Skating is one of the most abstract methods of transportation through a city, it allows you to experience the rough and tear of the streets while observing people in motion, the colors, the sounds, and the smell. In Cairo, this experience has yet to be expressed in that form. Skateboard decks are moving canvas for artist to represent their ideas, whether they are political, religious, controvertial or fine art. Skateboards are a medium of communication in urban culture..


Arts Department

First Advisor

Bahia Shehab

Second Advisor

Ghalia ElSrakbi

Third Advisor

Haytham Nawar

Committee Member 1

Ahmed Ellaithy

Committee Member 2

Ahmad Saqfalhait

Committee Member 3

Ayman Ismail



Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


This piece of art work is part of the "Interdisciplinarity and Design Third Graduating Class of Graphic Design Students The American University in Cairo – Spring 2018" catalog. Held at the AUC Sharjah Art Gallery on December 21st, 2018, the "ALT w Shidd" exhibition showcased bachelor projects by the third Graduating class of Graphic Design students. This year’s projects were divided into 5 panels according to their tackled themes. The panels included “Digital Design”, “Fashion Design”, “Publication Design”, “Advertising”, and “Retail and Branding”. A team of internal and external jury members were invited to each panel in order to provide ourstudents with critical feedback and evaluate the final outcome of their projects according to conducted research, applied methodologies, and undertaken creative design process. Jury members from within AUC included Ahmed Ellaithy (TTO -Technology Transfer Office) Ahmad Saqfalhait (GRDN), Ayman Ismail (Venture Lab), Brenda Segone (ARTV), Heba Safeyeldine (ARCH), Marwan Fayed (GRDN), May Hasebou (GRDN), Mahamad Khalil (GRDN), and Sherif Samy (GRDN). As for external jurors; they included Amira Aboulmagd (Al-Shorouk Publishing), Majd Elsherif (Matter Branding), Mohab Anis (Innovety), Nigel Fletcher-Jones (AUC Press), Sahar Zoghby (FP7), Samy Elias(Sahara Printing), Sawsan Mourad (El Beit Magazine), and Suzie Graiess (Association for the Protection of the Environment).


This record describes an artistic or creative work which was prepared as part of a course of study at the American University of Cairo. The creators retain all rights to the original artistic or creative works described herein.

Publication Date

Fall 12-21-2018

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