Objet D'Art(o): Arto Saari x Slowtide - Stab Mag

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All photos by Alana Spencer and Arto Saari.

Objet D’Art(o): Arto Saari x Slowtide

Tangible beauty from the biggest skate legend in surfing.

elsewhere // Mar 16, 2023
Words by Corina Stephens
Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re not familiar with the work and career of legendary Finnish skateboarder Arto Saari, you’re forgiven… kind of. 

But consider this your first and final warning that it’s time to take note of the skater-turned-photographer-turned-surfer-turned-surf-photographer and his abilities in each of the aforementioned fields.

NBD. Photo: Mike Burnett

Early in his skating career, it was the Nordic-American transplant’s style and power that earned him empirical respect as well as numerous publication covers (and a mellow Thrasher SOTY title), among other groundbreaking distinctions. But, after showing a clear mastery of concrete and metal landscapes, Arto’s curiosity and talent eventually shifted to a different field of focus: one of light, glass, and celluloid.

Applying a similar intensity and passion from performing a trick to capturing one, Arto’s photographic work soon became regarded and sought after by fellow skaters, gallerists, collectors, celebrities, and commercial clientele. And, with his innate ability to render stunning, moody images, regardless of the subject matter, it’s not difficult to see why.

A cultural chameleon if there ever was one.

A few years after transplanting himself once again – this time to the famed North Shore of Oahu – Saari’s subject matter and daily routine have evolved once again. Now, having traded grip tape and wheel bite for tropical wax and reef rash, Arto’s daily routine consists of surf checks, ice baths, and time spent in the sauna – a sacred space for all people of Finnish descent. 

Arto and his beloved #NS🚲path.

With this geographic change also came a new inspiration for the multi-hyphenate man, and his work has evolved once more, now focusing on the beautiful, barefooted humans and coral-fringed beauty found on that glittering stretch of coastline. Few people have the ability to flow between cultures and communities as fluidly as Arto has, but his ability to capture the seemingly mundane moments of the every day has become one of his artistic calling cards. 

Arto’s breathtaking ‘Wave Warrior’, now available in premium towel form.

From natural moments of some of surfing’s greatest talents to moody landscapes, Saari’s photos depict a clear cross-section of surf culture that is unique unto itself, with the deftness of a longtime craftsman and participant in the sport. 

Not a bad-looking lineup, if you ask us.

The Arto Saari x Slowtide collaboration highlights a few such captures, offering the opportunity to own a tangible piece of Arto’s iconic artwork.

A match made in heaven (read: the North Shore).

Explore all three premium towels, Thatch, Wax Rocket, and Wave Warrior, featuring Saari’s inimitable work in the premium, sustainable materials our friends at Slowtide have become known for. Available now.


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