October 07, 2012

Tlingit artist designs skateboards

Skateboards are canvases for Tlingit artist

By Amy FletcherThe juxtaposition of tradition and innovation is fairly common in contemporary Tlingit art; less so is the blend of seriousness and exuberance found in Rico Worl's skateboard designs. The designs Worl creates for his boards are graphic, modern, and--backed with colorful paint splatters--even playful; and yet his execution of formline design and other Tlingit elements is carefully considered, the product of in-depth study of traditional rules and cultural protocol.

Raised amidst the influence of many highly respected Tlingit artists and culture bearers--including his grandmother Rosita Worl, his aunt Celeste Worl, and clan member Nathan Jackson--Worl's cultural education began early, and included an appreciation of art as an integral element of his life.

"I actually never decided to make it into a profession--I just always did it," Worl said.

He painted his first board when he was 23, a long-board with a sockeye design he still rides, and quickly began picking up requests for boards from family members and friends.

This week, he'll take his art to the next level by launching his own business, Trickster Company, featuring his first manufactured designs. The opening, to be held on First Friday at Sequence Boardshop on Franklin Street, will showcase Worl's hand-painted Canadian maple boards as well as his manufactured designs, an eagle and a raven short-board.

The manufactured boards are also currently for sale in Seattle, with the possibility of Anchorage, Sitka and Yakutat stores carrying them in the future.
Comment:  For more on Native skateboards, see Apacheria: The Art of Douglas Miles and Birch Bark and Skateboards in Mni Sota.

Below:  "Tlingit artist Rico Worl displays a series of four longboards based on a traditional pattern board used by Chilkat weavers." (Klas Stople/Juneau Empire)

1 comment:

Worl Studio said...

Love RIco's Work!!