“This was a show that was conceived by me, a buddy 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 skateboard art in general, so it was a moment where Griffin and I looked at each other, and in an instant, we knew we wanted to some kind of skateboard art show,” said Kidd.
Over the next few months, he said, they met to flesh out the idea. Parker and Bradley put out a call to artists, internationally. The call for artists was first put out at home, including to Artspace residents. There are 17 Artspace artists who have works in the show.
“Currently, in the gallery, there are 80 skateboards from over 60 artists, and those artists are across three countries,” Kidd said. “There was an overwhelming response to the call for entries.”
He said, “We are still receiving late submissions, and by the time we receive all of our submissions, there are probably going to be over 100 individual skateboards from four different countries, if everything lands exactly where we’d hoped.”
Skateboard art has a history, especially during the 1980s and 1990s, of being very closely tied to street art, Kidd said.
“You have a lot of board designs that are very similar to graffiti and things like that. However, that’s not where we are today. Any artist of any style can come in here, in the industry at large, and make a rad-looking board and someone’s going to be interested. So, what we’re doing for ‘Decked’ is we have this diverse sea of different styles,” Kidd said. “And, on top of that, we’re highlighting a variety of mediums.”
For “Decked,” we aren’t just painting blank skateboards. In fact, the show has a lot of skateboard adjacent art as well. About a fourth of the entire show is digital art that has been put onto a skateboard.
Some of the artists in the show have taken blank boards, primed them and painted them. Other artists have carved art into the board. A few skateboards have the art burnt into them, using woodburning art techniques.
“We have an entire board that is a tile mosaic. Some artists have sculpted onto their board. It’s a real multi-media experience. One of our artists didn’t take a standard deck, but instead, welded a sculpture that is skateboard themed. Basically, it’s a big metal sculpture of a futuristic hoverboard,” Kidd said.
While 95 percent of the art in the show is a physical deck, not all of them are painted, he said. Some are professionally created digital art, which are put onto a deck by a print process. One of them is a sculpture of a deck. Others are sculpted clay, which is placed on a deck.
There’s also art beyond decks, such as skateboard animation of a character skating. One fiber artist did a cross stitch of different skate scenes of characters skateboarding and those are framed and mounted on the wall. Another fiber artist created skate shoes in 3-D, using art.
“The exhibition is a whole celebration of skate culture,” Kidd said.
How to go
What: “Decked,” a curated art exhibition that celebrates skateboard art
When: Opening reception Friday; exhibition through Oct. 1
Where: Artspace Hamilton Lofts & The Strauss Gallery, 222 High St., Hamilton
More info: www.artspace.org/hamilton