‘Decked’ art exhibition shines a light on the world of skateboarding
“It was a show that was engineered by me, a friend of mine named Griffin Parker, and his girlfriend, Elsie Bradley,” he said. Kidd, Parker and Bradley are co-curators of the exhibition.
“Griffin, Elsie and I were having a conversation about skateboarding art in general, so it was a moment where Griffin and I looked at each other, and in an instant we knew we wanted some kind of art exhibition skateboarding,” Kidd said. .
Over the next few months, he says, they met to flesh out the idea. Parker and Bradley are calling for artists, internationally. The call for artists was first launched at home, including to Artspace residents. There are 17 Artspace artists who have works in the exhibition.
“Right now in the gallery there are 80 skateboards from over 60 artists, and those artists are spread across three countries,” Kidd said. “There was an overwhelming response to the call for entries.”
He said: “We always get late submissions, and by the time we get all of our submissions, there will probably be over 100 individual skateboards from four different countries, if it all lands exactly where we hoped.”
Skateboard art has a history, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, of being very closely tied to street art, Kidd said.
“You have a lot of board designs that look a lot like graffiti and things like that. However, we are not there today. Any artist of any style can come here in the industry in general and make a radiant looking board and someone is going to be interested. So what we do for ‘Decked’ is we have this diverse sea of different styles,” Kidd said. “And, on top of that, we put forward a variety of mediums.”
For “Decked” we don’t just paint blank decks. In fact, the show also has a lot of art adjacent to skateboarding. About a quarter of the entire show is digital art that has been put on a skateboard.
Some of the artists in the show took blank boards, primed them, and painted them. Other artists carved the art into the painting. Some skateboards have art carved into them, using wood burning art techniques.
“We have an entire council which is a mosaic of tiles. Some artists have carved on their board. It’s a true multimedia experience. One of our artists didn’t take a standard deck, but instead welded a skateboard-themed sculpture. Basically, it’s a large metal sculpture of a futuristic hoverboard,” Kidd said.
While 95% of the artwork in the series is physical decks, not all of it is painted, he said. Some are professionally created digital artworks, which are placed on a platform through a printing process. One of them is a sculpture of a bridge. Others are made of sculpted clay, which is placed on a bridge.
There’s also art beyond the bridges, like the skateboard animation of a figure skating. A fiber artist has cross-stitched different skate scenes of characters skateboarding and these are framed and mounted on the wall. Another fiber artist has created 3D skate shoes, using art.
“The exhibit is a whole celebration of skate culture,” Kidd said.
How to get there
What: “Decked”, a curated art exhibition that celebrates the art of skateboarding
When: Opening Reception Friday; exhibition until October 1
Where: Artspace Hamilton Lofts & The Strauss Gallery, 222 High St., Hamilton
More information: www.artspace.org/hamilton