There was once a time when all the great paintings were executed on frescoes, before canvas became the medium of choice. This makes sense. Frescoes, truth be told, don't travel all that well. So it should come as no surprise that the latest platform for contemporary art is something that travels on its own—the skateboard deck.
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That's the idea behind ArtDeckCo. The company was launched in Portland in 2013 by Katie Sloan and Michael Haight, two entrepreneurs with a background in the arts community who fell in love with the artistic expression that's central to the skater community.
"There's a lot of generic board art out there, and we just thought it could be so much coolor," says Sloan, who recently relocated the company to Houston.
ArtDeckCo's solution to this problem was to send blank skateboard decks to artists around the world, inviting them to contribute designs. After gathering the world's largest collection of art skateboards, ArtDeckCo sent them on tour, sponsoring events around the country and inviting guests to vote on their favorite designs.
Every skateboard is available for sale—each artist sets their own price and receives 60 percent of the proceeds—and the most popular works are turned into limited-edition series available starting at $69. Each can be ridden like a typical skateboard or hung as an unexpected piece of art.
"Some of our artists have made skateboards before ... and others are fine art artists that have never worked on a skatebord deck and are excited about trying a new medium," says Sloan.
Sloan is in the process of planning a full exhibition of ArtDeckCo boards—more than 500 of them—in Houston sometime this summer, but Houstonians can get a sneak peek this weekend. ArtDeckCo will be exhibiting almost 50 decks as part of the Carnival Wonderland event at Mr. Peeples in Midtown.
"I handpicked boards that are Carnival-themed and colorful," says Sloan. "I like the idea of doing a pop-up show to give Houston a taste of ArtDeckCo."