Skate video as street art: Chris ‘Middsy’ Middlebrook takes it to the streets

Chris ‘Middsy’ Middlebrook first started mucking around with cameras when he was just 15 – well before the age of HD and social media. Now, more than 25 years later, he’s filmed some of the world’s best skateboarders and made some of the most influential skate videos ever. Chances are, if you’ve seen an Australian skateboarding video, you’ve encountered his work. And if you’re a fan of Eddy Current Supression Ring, you’ll definitely be familiar with his work. Middsy filmed and edited the band’s Super 8 video clips for Rush to Relax, Get up Morning and Which Way to Go.

Middsy has toured the world several times over but Gold Coast City Gallery is bringing him to the City this month as part of Signs of the Time – a street art exhibition that’s literally taking art to the streets.

He’ll be delivering a skateboarding videography workshop in partnership with Stoke Skateboarding on 25 and 26 February. Middsy says that skate videos have been the catalyst for progression in skateboarding since day one.

“Photography always showed a static image, creating the mystery of ‘how did they get their board into the position?’ or  “how did you get that high?’,” he explained. “Video was proof of someone doing something new, something that pushed the boundaries and you could analyze it a thousand times and wrap your head around how someone moved their board and body to achieve something.”

Basically, someone films a trick for the first time, puts it onto VHS and the whole skate world sees that said trick is possible.

“And skating moves forward a step,” Middsy said. “These days it’s so accessible that progression is almost daily.”

Middsy says the most important element when it comes to making a skate video stand out will always be the quality of the skateboarding – even if it’s filmed poorly, something gnarly is always going to be gnarly.

“Great skating filmed well and edited well, with a good song, will always stand out and cut through,” he said, adding that the relationship he has with a skater is also significant.

“Basically if someone is a good person who you can hang out with in a van every day and get along with regardless of whether you’re skating or not, then that’s someone you want to film with,” he said, “adding Shane O’Neill, Nick Boserio, Lewis Marnell, Mike Martin and Alex Campbell to his list of his favourite skaters to film.

“You end up spending half your lives with these people and the filmer / skater relationship is something very unique.”STOKE_videography-workshop-poster

And while making videos gets easier and easier due to technology, Middsy is adamant that the genre will continue to grow – and the future is in good hands.

“They aren’t going anywhere,” he said of the genre, “but the ones that stand out will be defined by the level of skating primarily, combined with a solid edit.”

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There’s quite a few guys out there now who are having a go. Currently James James and Geoff Campbell really know what they’re doing with a camera,” he said. “And there are quite a few younger guys who are learning the ropes and improving project to project like Tully West, Brendan Gardoll, Neihana Tonkin, George Kousalis and Willy Low.”

Taking It to the Streets: Skate Videography Workshop takes place on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February from 10.00am – 4.00pm and participants have the opportunity to showcase their completed video at The Arts Centre Gold Coast during the Signs of the Time exhibition.

“If I was a younger version of myself and I had the opportunity to do something like this I would’ve been stoked,” Middy said. “It’s a great opportunity for participants to learn hands on how to best use their gear.”

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Skate Videography Workshop

Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 February
The Arts Centre Gold Coast ArtsLab

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Featured image is local skater Indi Russell at Miami Marketta, shot by photographer Wade McLaughlin.

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