Transforming an Old Church Into the Sistine Chapel of Skate Parks

We spoke to artist Okuda San Miguel about the inspiration and process behind the Kaos Temple.

Okuda San Miguel in Kaos Temple

In the Spanish city of Llanera, in the northwestern principality of Asturias, skateboarding is a religion. So much so, in fact, that a collective of skateboarders called the Church Brigade bought a 100-year-old church and converted it into La Iglesia Skate (“Skate Church” in English).

The Church Brigade’s indoor skate mecca caught the eye of Madrid-based artist Okuda San Miguel, known for his brand of vibrantly colored, pop cubism-meets-surrealist art. San Miguel, who works across various media including photography, painting, and sculpture, reached out to the Church Brigade, offering to create a series of murals befitting this pilgrimage site for skateboarders. Being familiar with San Miguel’s work and trusting his artistic vision, the Church Brigade gave him the green light.

Kaos Temple in progress

Before painting La Iglesia Skate, San Miguel saw a place where skateboard ramps, domes, and stained-glass windows created an already unique type of artistic harmony for the practice of Church Brigade’s “skateboarding religion.” He wanted to enhance this effect. And, in doing so, he created the skateboarders’ equivalent of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel fresco; he calls the work, now commonly referred to as Kaos Temple, a “temple of urban art.”

San Miguel tells GOOD that the church “came” to him through the internet. Like the skateboarders, Okuda speaks of Kaos Temple—the place and the project—in near religious terms.

“Maybe it was destiny, maybe it’s because I love this typical architectural surface for painting in art history,” San Miguel says. “I fell in love with it, even more after finishing it. The contrast of my contemporary painting over the amazing classic architecture is incredible.”

The artist says he began thinking about a way to approach Kaos Temple with his manager and the Ink and Movement team. The first step was to launch a crowdfunding campaign to finance the project’s paint and tools, but they also brought in sponsors like Red Bull, Montana Colors, Miller Division, and Socketines.

With funding secured, San Miguel got to work on Kaos Temple’s design. Arriving at La Iglesia Skate without a single sketch, he had only one idea—somewhere he would paint his “Kaos Star” symbol, a colorful and asymmetrical wind rose.

“I started painting and looking for the best composition for each place of the church,” says San Miguel. “I decided to do all of my own iconography: humans, animals, organic items, trees, brick bodies, infinite eyes, skulls, birds, universe, geometric patterns, chromatic circles—everything’s connected between [them].”

With the help of three assistants—Antonyo Marest, Pablo Hatt, and MisterPiro— San Miguel finished the Kaos Temple in seven days. Apart from the symbolic meaning behind his Kaos Star, there is no single political, spiritual, or economic message in Kaos Temple, but rather a broad canvas of many meanings. This is because, as San Miguel explains, Kaos Temple is a retrospective ride through his artwork.

“It talks about love, freedom, existentialism, the meaning of life, communications between modernity and the past, capitalism, and nature,” says San Miguel.

“Kaos Temple does not have a negative meaning but the most positive meaning from the word ‘Kaos,’” the artist explains. “It comes from one of my icons called Kaos Star, an asymmetric star of cardinal points—opposite way and opposite meaning. It comes to say it doesn’t matter where or when you stay, just focus on your goals and believe in your passion. It speaks about freedom, love, and art.”


October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less

At this point most reasonable people agree that climate change is a serious problem. And while a lot of good people are working on solutions, and we're all chipping in by using fewer plastic bags, it's also helpful to understand where the leading causes of the issue stem from. The list of 20 leading emitters of carbon dioxide by The Guardian newspaper does just that.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via International Labour Organization / Flickr and Michael Moore / Facebook

Before the release of "The Joker" there was a glut of stories in the media about the film's potential to incite violence.

The FBI issued a warning, saying the film may inspire violence from a group known as the Clowncels, a subgroup of the involuntarily celibate or Incel community.

Incels an online subculture who believe they are unable to attract a sexual partner. The American nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center describes them as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is included in its list of hate groups.

Keep Reading Show less

Since normalizing relations with Communist China back in 1979, the U.S. government and its companies that do business with the country have, for the most part, turned a blind-eye to its numerous human rights abuses.

In China's Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, it's believed that over a million members of its Uighur population are being arbitrarily imprisoned and tortured in concentration camps. Female Uighurs in detention are being given forced abortions and subjected to sexual mistreatment.

Keep Reading Show less

The vaping epidemic is like a PSA come to life. A recent outbreak of vaping-related deaths and illnesses has affected people from across 46 states. More than 800 people fell ill, and at least 17 people died from vaping. In Illinois and Wisconsin, 87% of the people who got sick said they used THC, and 71% of people also said they used products that contained nicotine. Symptoms of the illness included coughing, chest pains, shortness of breath, nausea, and fatigue. We finally might now why.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic believe toxic chemical fumes, not the actual chemicals in the vape liquid, might be the culprit. "It seems to be some kind of direct chemical injury, similar to what one might see with exposures to toxic chemical fumes, poisonous gases and toxic agents," Dr. Brandon Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said in release.

Keep Reading Show less