SURFING A SIDEWALK, rosemary branches whipping your shins, wheels popping off cracks, then launching off the up-curve of a driveway into the street—that's the feeling one gets from two recent and very special Portland-based skateboard art shows.
On Saturday, June 29, Kamp Grizzly opened its garage doors on North Tillamook to welcome art lovers into their warehouse for skate-themed art show Ride On. One-of-a-kind decks were perfectly spaced on a white wall spanning nearly 75 feet, and the fact these decks were decorated by Portland's design community was immediately apparent when I saw that one had Pendleton fabric glued on top (dumb). Although the majority of the work had the expected themes of animal bones, hot dogs, and dorky '80s geometry, there were some joyfully original ideas, too. While most of the show's decks had already been taken down and distributed to buyers, I was able to see most of the pieces on Instagram by following the hashtag #rideonpdx (or, go to rideonpdx.com). It was a cool one-off show that ended far too soon.
Next up is the Bakerz Dozen show at Grass Hut (400 NW Couch, grasshutcorp.com), which is scheduled to open Wednesday, July 3, at 6 pm, and run through July 28. Thirteen artists (I'm one of them, so goodbye journalistic integrity) have made designs for a limited-edition skate deck release. Curated by Bwana Spoons, these decks are the first artist editions from his skateboard company Bearturds, and their unique shapes are aptly titled "The Little Wall Banger."
"[These] decks are snubnose, steep concave, diamond tail, and designed to be wallride shredders," says Spoons.
And like the decks, the artist lineup is heavy duty as well: Bigfoot, Michael Sieben, Chris Johanson, Ferris Plock, and others.
It's as if the creatives in both shows took the opportunity to switch roles, with the artists making designs and the designers making art.
So while taking in this impressive array of skateboard art, don't forget to celebrate the raw, wild, and completely creative nature of skateboarding—by doing it yourself.