Bozeman may not be boasting the best weather for skateboarding at the moment, but that doesn’t stop the cultural world of skating here in the community from putting on some rad events. Last week on Thursday, Nov. 13, Bozeman High School hosted The Deck Show, an invitational exhibit showing off skate deck artwork by regional and local artists. The work consisted of 27 artists, each challenged to manipulate a blank skate deck into an artistic original using the medium of their choice.
This exhibit was made possible by collaboration between World Boards (a local skate shop on Main Street), the Robert and Gennie DeWeese Gallery and the Gallatin Valley Skatepark Association (GVSA). At around 6 p.m. the free exhibit was opened to the public — they could view the variety of custom decks and get original T-Shirts pressed with logos from the event. Plus, a small snack bar was provided for those whose hunger was perhaps outliving their attention span for art. To raise money for the artists, a silent auction was held at the exhibit as well. Bids for the decks varied from a couple hundred dollars for some decks to thousands for others. The atmosphere was great for the skate community, with happy artists and intrigued viewers bringing a fusion of artistic creativity and expressive perspectives on skating to an easily accessible event. This helped open viewers’ eyes to explore the deep parallels between art and skateboarding.
Many of the artists’ exhibits were based on their experiences, not necessarily skating-related. Regardless of the topic, each deck in the exhibit appeared to carry the heart and soul of each artist’s passions. Jason Clark’s “Point Conception” deck was inspired when he was beach camping near Point Conception, California. He encountered washed up dead sea lions given no mercy by great white sharks lurking in the waves. It was a moment of thought and astonishment for Clark, and he used his detailed memory to “carve these images into the deck using the tool marks and the different colors of laminated wood to model the sharks and sea lions and give the deck an underwater aesthetic.” Clark’s deck wasn’t exactly skateable, but it was truly one of the most beautiful pieces displayed.
Another deck inspired by the natural world was Jessica Lohmeier’s “Cardinal.” Six years after a close friend of hers passed away, Lohmeier hoped to “instigate thoughts of life, death and faith.” An acrylic baby blue deck garnished with four red cardinal silhouettes (serving as a sort of visual metaphor) embodied her visions. “The red color symbolizes power and faith while the bird itself represents life, death and renewal,” she said. “It is also believed that the cardinal is a representation of loved ones that have passed.”
The Deck Show appeared to capture the attention of everyone in attendance, including artists, skaters and everyone in between with the depth of its meaning and purpose. All you need is a blank skateboard deck and you too can show the whole world your vision of experience and expression.