Running until later this month, the Re:deckorate exhibition, curated by local skateboard organisation re:ply Skateboards pulls together creative talents from across Scotland to reinvigorate used skateboards all for the worthy SkatePal cause – working with communities throughout Palestine to enhance the lives of young people and promote the benefits of skateboarding.
Re:ply started like so many things do, almost by accident. Danny, one part of the of re:ply team, and a friend took on a small project to rejuvenate an old board, reusing the plywood. A few hours sanding and a creative brainstorm for the new graphic later, re:ply was born.
This is their first exhibition, although they’re no strangers to organising events, and have done so in Glasgow for a while now. This show took 50 artists from all disciplines, and supplied old boards to redesign based on one of three crucial words: Community, Freedom and Empowerment. They were chosen because of how tightly they are matched to the culture of skateboading and the part they play in SkatePal’s vision.
Danny took the time to chat about their organisation, it’s origins, the exhibition, and where re:ply goes next.
“Re:ply actually has a really interesting story. At the time I was studying music business and music whilst doing some work with an insulin manufacturing company from Denmark, who asked me to document my life for a year as a diabetic.”
“They hired a friend of mine who had just finished studying film in Bournemouth and was another skateboarder. He had an old board that was taking up room basically and refused to get rid of it every time I asked him what it was for. I later found out it was a gift from an ex of his.”
“One day I told him I had some basic tools in my garage and so we got to work sanding, planing and shaping this old board, it took us nearly three days to make it, but we ended up with a beautiful piece of wood.”
“We then spent the next week coming up with a graphic to put on the board and thought that since we were recycling ply wood it’d be fitting to call it re:ply. After focusing a lot of my studies on the punk movement where DIY was the obvious element to a successful band I thought, why don’t we make re:ply something we can do when it’s raining.”
“Soon after that we had a lot of interest on the boards that we’d made and thought we could move forward. We’re still reshaping boards with a network of artists and graphic designers, printing our own clothing ranges and organising fun, interesting events.”
For such a young organisation, with great local support and an environmentally responsible cause, their future lies whereever they decide to take it.
So where might that be?
“I guess the future of re:ply is interesting as I can take it in any direction really. We have done loads of different events in the past and I’d really like to push the events side of things, I’d also like to work with as many different people as I can to come up with some cool creative collaborations in the future.”
“I also plan on going to Palestine to work with SkatePal and recycle some boards out there. After the success of Re:deckorate I can see a path forming to work with more people across the world. A lot of exciting things ahead.”
Decks have, as long as skateboarding has really existed, have been something of a creative canvas. For those riding them to express themselves physically, and for those designing them to use as the surface for their artwork, something he was keen to bring to the surroundings of Cafe Gandolfi.
“I’ve always loved the graphics on skateboards, and have seen other exhibitions of boards specifically by one or a few artists” says Danny.
“Whilst running re:ply I have been working at the cafe where they have a beautiful bar upstairs with white tiled walls and great light, in the bar they exhibit on a monthly basis (and don’t take commission) so I thought it would be something different than the regular customers were used to.”
Re:deckorate took submissions from artists after a call for work – the response had been phenomenal, so how did re:ply come to select the work that best represented the skating community and its diversity?
“We [started by] putting a post up looking for creatives, a few days later I had to put a post up saying “Please stop emailing me” think I got about 200-300 emails and portfolio the response was amazing!”
“In response I sent out a brief asking artists to suggest what they would do using the words ‘Freedom’, ‘Empowerment’ and ‘Community’ and chose from the ideas after that.”
“So I spent the next few months reshaping boards and getting them to and from artists and by January the 4th I had all 50 boards with artwork back in and ready to hang, and it was all so different and all so good.”
“The exhibition has been so successful! I’m still absolutely buzzing every time I see it and it’s been great for the profiles everyone involved too.”
“I’d like to thank all the artists who got involved, all the people who attended the exhibition and all the people who bought boards and supported an awesome cause”
“Thanks too, to Charlie and Theo from SkatePal, Bar Gandolfi for allowing me to host in their beautiful space, and to Paula Grant for designing all the posters and rebranding for us. And to everyone else who has got involved with re:ply in the past to allow us to make these things happen.”
It’s not too late for you to get your hands on some great unique artwork, while at the same time supporting such inspirational organisations like re:ply and SkatePal. Boards are £80, great value for original art.