There probably isn’t a more suitable venue to showcase Mike O’Meally’s documentation of the last 25 years of skateboarding; an underground venue for an underground subculture. It juxtaposes from the last time we were at the House of Vans London when Covert to Overt, photography of OBEY Giant by Jon Furlong, held a mix of fervent excitement, activity and a smattering of grime and live MCs; this couldn’t have had more of a different vibe.
The floor was laden with bean bags, the lights were as low as they could be and the echoey, grand arches of the House of Vans were being gently filled with a quiet, chilled out atmosphere of hushed conversation soundtracked by gentle beats and hip hop from the live DJs. Big prints hang sparsely on the white washed walls around the perimeter of the gallery with a lively Xerox wall collaged as a small insight into the body of his work. At the far end of the tunnel was a stirring tribute to Dylan Rieder, a friend and subject of Mike, adding to the respectful and appreciative atmosphere.
For more than two decades Mike O’Meally has been documenting as much of skateboarding culture as he possibly can. An LA resident hailing from Sydney, Australia he’s conquered the cover pages of magazines such as Transworld Skateboarding and Monster Children covering the likes of Arto Saari, Max Schaaf, Tony Trujillo, Keith Hufganel, Omar Salazar and Jason Jessee. Mike seems to have created a body of work that feels as at home in the low light of the tunnels of the House of Vans as it does in those magazines. You can check out Mike O’Meally’s work at his website http://www.mikeomeally.com/
Written by Lewis Tobia / Photography by Ibby Azab