State of the art expands for 2013 

Longboard canvas group art show takes up residence at WSSF for first time

click to flip through (6) Whistler by Sarah King
  • Whistler by Sarah King

Andy Fenwick missed her own deadline. For the last few months, the Whistler artist has been working with Dave "Pepe" Petko, a fellow painter and tattoo artist, on a group art show featuring work from around 40 artists, mostly local, using longboards as canvases. Petko set an April 1 deadline, but the pair only got about half the submissions in on time — with Fenwick among the latecomers.

"My house is really clean though," she jokes.

In reality, it's been a lot of work choosing the talent, dispersing longboards, hassling everyone to submit their work and collecting it all again. "I don't think I could've done it myself," she says.

Fenwick came up with the idea of using factory reject longboards from Landyachtz, a Vancouver-based company, for a group show months ago, but it only started to take shape when the pair decided to submit their idea for "a show within a show" at State of the Art, the World Ski and Snowboard Festival's massive art exhibit.

"I've been wanting to be in State of the Art since I got to Whistler," Fenwick says. "When you think about it, where do you go for art shows? How big is the facility? Who are you going to fill it with? State of the Art has the mass majority of (local) artists. Just to rent the conference centre..."

Fenwick pauses and Petko finishes her sentence: "It's an ordeal."

Well-established in the local scene, Petko is a longtime exhibitor at the event (he will have a solo show set up this year as well). "It's a good venue for making contacts in the ski and snowboard industry as far as maybe getting your work out there for a top sheet or graphics on clothing, etc.," he says.

The pieces the pair have received so far are diverse. Some artists decided to sand down the existing graphics on the board while others incorporated them. A few submitted 3D pieces, including one mounted with faux antlers, though most painted directly onto the board. They're bright, bold and entirely unique — in short, exactly what State of the Art represents.

"We look for a wide range of things," says Kevani Macdonald, art event coordinator for the festival. "We are looking for art that represents the ski, snowboard, street, urban culture. We represent that mountain culture that's very evident in Whistler. We look for real differences between the artists. We want to have a wide range of different types of art and different mediums."

This year, the exhibit is bigger and longer than ever. Submissions were accepted from around the world and the final list represents work from as far away as Australia and Toronto. Excluding all the artists represented in the longboard group show, over 50 artists — around half of whom have never shown their work at the event before — will have pieces on display for the entire 10 days of the festival.

That adds up to an extra weekend compared to previous years. "Seeing what happened last year, we had people coming up from the city to enjoy the final weekend of the festival and we weren't able to have it open," says Macdonald by way of explanation.

In past years, the show has closed early for a good reason — or at least a fun one. The festival's final wild party, The End, would spill out from the neighbouring room into the foyer where the art is displayed. This year, they've decided to re-route partygoers to keep the work protected.

"It's exciting," Macdonald adds. "There's a lot of different stuff there. It's always a really interesting mix."

Artists are each allocated space, which they can cram with as much work as they want, though the average is about six pieces per display. There's no set price on the pieces, but organizers brief artists on what price range has been most successful. Not all the pieces are paintings; this year, they've also received light installations, metal work and at least one piece created using a 3D printer.

There will also be an ongoing live auction to benefit Zero Ceiling, a local organization that empowers at-risk youth through adventure-based programming, along with live art demonstrations and booths by Volcom and Tom's shoes, which will feature artists creating wearable art.

"We've got our online store this year, so people can either browse through the art at home and come in or buy it online and pick it up at the end of the festival," Macdonald says. "This is the first year we're opening it ahead of the exhibition."

In the end, she adds, the aim is to offer worthy talent some exposure. "The goal for us really is to showcase all the great, talented artists that are connected to the ski and snowboard culture that the festival embodies. Without the artists, we'd be a room full of white walls."

State of the Art runs from noon until 6 p.m. each day of the festival. But when one door closes, another will open... to the festival's evening art, parties and competitions. There will be roller derby, the popular Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown and its 72 Hour Filmmaker counterpart, Intersection, another film competition, along with The Beginning and The End parties. For more information on all the festival offerings turn to page 64.


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