August 31, 2013

Trickster skateboards and playing cards

Ravens on Decks: The Art of Trickster Skateboards

By Cristina OldsA couple of innovative young artists are melding the ancient tradition of formline drawing with the hip canvas of skateboard decks. "The demand for Native art skateboards was made very clear by the popularity of my early hand-painted decks," Rico Lanáat’ Worl (Tlingit/Athabascan) of Trickster Company said in a recent interview.

Worl painted decks for himself and his family first, but soon saw the need for an affordable line of manufactured boards sporting his digitized designs. He also paints custom artboards, and says his clientele are split fairly evenly between skaters who actually ride the boards and collectors who hang them on their walls.

"I started painting on decks just for fun, just for myself," Worl said. "It continues to be my canvas of choice while I study the old masters and the new masters of formline design, in the rich history of Tlingit and Athabascan art." Flowing two dimensional formline designs featuring northwestern coastal sea creatures and other symbols have adorned totem poles and house posts for thousands of years.

Formline Playing Cards from Ace Artist Rico Worl

By Sara ShahriariArtist Rico Lanáat’ Worl, Tlingit/Athabascan, designs skateboards and snowboards, but often branches out to other products. His newest design is playing cards that rethink the classic figures through formline, the graphic indigenous art style native to the Pacific Northwest. The only problem was that Worl needed an order of 2500 cards to get printing underway. In search of money to fund that order he turned to Kickstarter, the online fundraiser. "I made these cards to represent our living art of the Northwest coast: its adaptability, resilience, and quality," Worl, who is based in Juneau, Alaska, wrote on his Kickstarter page.

Adding a touch of Native artistry to an everyday item like a deck of cards is a natural step for Worl. "Growing up in a family that is close to the culture ensured the arts would be close by," he says.

Comment:  For more on the subject, see Tlingit Artists Designs Skateboards.

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