Most little rascals experience that moment where they realize their worlds as they know them are finite.
There’s an expiration date on childhood revelry and cartoons and candy, and it’s scary as fuck.
Personally, I think my moment’s sandwiched somewhere between stumbling upon Taxicab Confessions and being forced by my mother to go see The Sixth Sense. But regardless of specifics, we all have that startling moment when our innocence is exposed to some serious adult-ness, some epiphany of imperfection. All toys are not created with reality in mind.
The Death of Childhood, at Orchard Skateshop’s Extension Gallery, explores the many moments before that abrupt awakening:
when we ate Gushers for a full serving of fruit, thought MarioKart pro-status made us Dale Earnhardt Jr., and wasted hours of our time searching for an anonymous man donning a completely red-and-white ensemble.
DigBoston’s own Creative Director/“Secret Asian Man” cartoonist/altogether badass Tak Toyoshima is the curator of the show, a first for him and an excellent treat for you.
“The artists are challenged to look back on their childhoods and take the honest moments and characters and memories and completely ruin them,” explained Toyoshima.
“But at the same time having fun with it because in the end it’s all about having fun—even the creepy room.”
What is this “creepy room,” exactly?
Well, the Extension Gallery, for those who haven’t visited the space, is the upstairs area of Orchard Skate Shop. There are three parts: a larger room and two smaller spaces. Toyoshima’s will utilize the two smaller spaces in a manner akin to hearing that psycho kid who ruined my childhood say, “I see dead people.” He’ll be creating two bedrooms, one for a little boy and one for a little girl.
The girl’s bedroom will be completely dark, forcing viewers to individually inspect each piece of work with only a flickering light of sorts. The boy’s bedroom will be the home to “Grindhouse,” a collection of short films by Mike Pecci, featuring the hauntingly beautiful Suicide Girls.
“So it’s like childhood is lost when he finds sex and violence,” said Toyoshima.
Also among the local and national artists taking a twisted look back at their wonder years is another beloved Dig staffer: Art Director Scott Murry, who will be showing a piece playing on “Where’s Waldo?” Obviously, with a twist.
“I just really enjoyed ‘Where’s Waldo?’—trying to find that Rick Steves doppelganger,” said Scott. “As a kid, I was obsessed with it.
And now it’s really funny to think about, like, who really cares about this fucker? Is he trying to get away from something?”
Some of the gruesome artwork displayed at The Death of Childhood may not seem suitable for children. But the profits from the gallery go to helping a good cause: the Extension charity, attempting to make skateboarding more accessible in Boston.
And that’s a goal suitable for everyone.
THE DEATH OF CHILDHOOD
THE EXTENSION GALLERY AT ORCHARD SKATE SHOP
156 HARVARD AVE.