Image: 2017 skateboard artwork with Caroline Della Porta.
Yes, skateboards. It may not be the normal canvas for many artists, nor the normal thing to hang in your home. However, skateboards, like t-shirts, have been canvasses for expression for as long as they have existed. In 1958, the skateboard was invented - an ennobled plank of wood with roller-skate wheels attached. This came from the 'need' to feel the thrill of the surf, even when there were no waves to be seen. Through years of evolution, "surfing concrete" became the new way of expressing creativity and exhilaration.
Skateboarding has long been one of the sports most closely linked to creative expression (both in their physical use and the artworks which have adorned them - and evolved with them- for decades.)
So, skateboard art at The Paper Rain Project? Well, the business first began as a hobby painting longboards made from recycled waterskis (shaped by Nelson's Chris of Kotahi longboards), so skateboards have always been a part of the picture. This evolved into a love of longboarding and using wood, in the form of skateboards and longboards, as a medium for a multitude of artworks.
Image: Early artworks on maple boards and up cycled decks, art by our co-founder, Indigo Greenlaw, 2012/13.
Initially, it was just Indigo painting, exhibiting and selling boards with the help of Wills, but that's all changed. Just two years ago, for our inaugural exhibition at Allpress Gallery in Auckland, we started working with other artists for skateboard art collaborations. Since then, we have partnered with around 30 different and talented creatives to create the body of work shown on our site and around the country. Two out of three of our team went to art school (even if one of us dropped out to do this) but nowadays, we're building many of our own decks too.
In 2012/13, we started to develop our recycled barrel boards. 2016 marked a huge growth spurt in this fledgling product with our 531% funded Kickstarter campaign which saw the newly re-developed boards make their way to a couple of hundred people in 27 different countries. Now, we're developing new rideable boards made from locally grown eucalyptus and other hard-woods. The dream, here, is to have a 100% in house made fleet of boards, both rideable and art boards, each paired with a Cause for us to raise funds and awareness for. This is part of our Cause campaign and an effort to become a social enterprise big enough to make a quantifiable impact on conservation and the way people do business. Watch the space :)
Image below: 2017 skateboard artwork with Gina Kiel.
In short? Skateboards, for us, are a canvas for expression which are unique, don't need to be framed and fit onto wall spaces many other artworks won't. They're beautiful, hand-crafted, painted or limited edition collectable works of art. Our in-house and collaborative board artworks have gone as far afield as Canada, Holland, Switzerland and Singapore. Even our co-founder/board-shaper's Nana has one on her wall.
Image: Kitchen of dreams, interior design by Kate Duncan feat. our 'Tuiana' wine-barrel art board. See here for more on this.