Grey Is The New Street Art!
Text by Levi Hawken
I wanted to write a few words to explain what Create and Skate is all about. With so much going on at the time of the event we didn’t have time to get a proper press release and artist statement out.
Super nice guy, and ruler at running events in Dunedin, Seth Gorrie came to me with the concept of creating an event with obstacles made to be skateable art installation, inspired by Transworld’s Skate and Create events, which are amazing, and are produced and directed by some of the biggest skate brands around with massive budgets, special effects and film teams. I watched some of the clips on the internet and got really excited about going around and collecting junk and making a crazy as streetscape. All decorated with art and hand painted signage. Wow! The visions I had. Then Seth told me we had three weeks to do it. (Laughs.) And like so many of New Zealand’s great skate events, it was all last minute and everything was up in the air, down to the wire.
The minimal council funding came through two weeks out from the event, we got the permission for the warehouse the day before the event. It was a highly stressful time but it all came through on the day. At the time I was painting 50 meters of a concrete river tunnel in hieroglyphic style graffiti that was painted almost solely with grey graffiti removal paint. I was making a statement about the mass removal of graffiti in New Zealand building up to the Rugby World Cup, including the massacre of legal walls done by some of the best graffiti artists in the country. So, it seemed natural to paint the obstacles at Create and Skate grey to imply that beneath the blanket of paint they were covered with intricate artwork, only that the council (AKA Task Force Grey) had come and painted them all grey. Which was why they were stencilled officially with the words “Grey Is The New Street Art!”
Despite the madness the event came together just in time. We had not been able to go inside the brand new warehouse until the day prior to the event. Due to this fact, we had no idea that the ground was covered in a blanket of grey concrete dust. As everyone started skating the dust stirred into a cloud and when the traffic got really heavy, it looked like a massive steam room. After skating for a short amount of time everyone was covered in the stuff. Caked around the nostrils, it looked like kids had found some new magic grey powder and had been snorting it like there was no tomorrow. In fact, it was like they were on some sort of magic skate powder because they were all shredding so hard regardless. Tricks appeared like monsters from the grey lagoon and pounded the obstacles. I swear we could have just put the picnic table with tiny blaster and the wall ramp to wedge and everyone would have been happy as they were with the whole set up.
It was such a rarity for the kids of Dunedin to skate an indoor set up. It reminded of what it was like to be kid skating in the late 80s early 90s when there were no skate parks and events were a frenzy of excitement.
The article in Manual Magazine #43 summed up the skating and crending perfectly so I need not repeat, you know who the stand-outs were. It was an amazing day and we still have the obstacles and are looking forward to adding to them for further events this summer. Maybe for next years ‘Create and Skate’ we can really live out our dreams of Junk obstacle grandeur.
Thanks to everyone who helped make the event run, especially Seth Gorrie! Mike Laufiso at the council, MC Beau and DJ Mars, Mike the carpenter, Willy van, Craig at Quest, all the skaters on the Manual tour and the kids that shredded like angry gorillas in the mist. Peep Jake Mein and Stunts’s footage!