All Hands On Deck: Artists Transform Skateboards

By Christianna Fjelstad

23 local artists each put their spin on a blank skateboard deck and transformed them in to beautiful works of art for the second annual All Hands on Deck event that was held at Radius Gallery, at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, on Wednesday, June 14.

The event that was sponsored by local skateboard manufacturer NHS, Berdels, and Pacific Wave, and featured artists with their own distinct style incorporating aspects of graphics design, oil painting, printmaking, photography, and drawing.

“The concept for this fundraiser was about connecting with the skateboarding community that has an amazing arts presence and is a key part of our community culture.” Said Susan Wishon, the Communications and Development Director of the Santa Cruz Arts Council.

Artists and guests gathered at the gallery at admire what each artist had created, while enjoying refreshments, snacks, prizes, and a raffle.

Claire Lerner, an acclaimed artist and high school art teacher, combined hundreds of photographs and oil painting to create her board.

Lerner explains she compiled close up photographs of second-hand clothing, which from far away look like small blocks of color, but when examined closely texture and details are revealed.

“The photographs were all taken locally at Goodwill and Salvation Army in Santa Cruz…I took pictures of rows and rows of fabrics.” Said Lerner.

Rob Bennet created a unique piece of art by carving his board in to the shape of an octopus. The bright red and blue sea creature looked as it were moving through the water. Bennet said most of his work involves carving skateboards into sea life.

“I usually dedicate a good eight hours a day into a board I’m working on, and can be done in three days,” said Bennet.

All boards were donated by local skateboard manufacturer NHS in Santa Cruz for the second year in a row.

Jessie Rivera and Kendall Narde of NHS were at the event giving away stickers, socks, and a Santa Cruz skateboard, to lucky guests who gave their prize wheel a spin.

Narde said they gathered over 100 boards from their manufacturer to donate to All Hands on Deck, as well as other causes.

“We like to donate to community based events…this is one of the only art shows we have donated to and we wanted to be more involved.” said Rivera.

Some skateboards featured landscapes, while some had a more political design. Jacob Seedman made a positive statement with his ambigram board. When right side-up it reads ‘war’ and upside- down it reads ‘peace’. On the right side of the board is a painting of a young girl making a peace sign with her hand.

Susan Wishon of the Santa Cruz Arts Council, said that Santa Cruz is truly a unique place where all people can come to experience art and enjoy it, as well as enjoy the sports that are celebrated in Santa Cruz culture.

“You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy skateboarding, the arts are like that too…we can all participate in some way or another and enjoy the arts on many levels,” Said Wishon.

The decks are on display at Radius Gallery now and will be raffled off to lucky winners on July 7th.

More information on artists and raffle tickets can be found here.

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Christianna Fjelstad

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