Russ Morland

Russ Morland

Skate and paint

Downtown event brings skateboarders and artists together

On Saturday, Russ Morland will spend all day creating a piece of art on a halfpipe, which will then get destroyed by skateboarders.

And he’s fine with that.

“Essentially, it will get destroyed by the people using it but that’s OK,” he said. “They’re both artwork in themselves.”

Morland, whose artwork is recognizable for his colourful little characters dubbed lurkers, views the artistry with which the skaters fly through the air, the way they skim the surface of railings and the bend and flow of balancing on the board as equal to that of traditional art.

Part of the goal of this weekend’s (Aug. 6-7) Paint and Skate at Diana Krall Plaza is to showcase that artistry to people who would seek to regulate or ban skateboarding as a nuisance.

“Skateboarding isn’t a scary thing that should be illegal,” Morland said. “Skateboarding down the street is a green form of transportation.”

Morland, a skateboarder since childhood, partnered with Nanaimo Skatepark Association to put on the event, which features Morland’s on-site painting of the half-pipe as well as an outdoor art display from at least eight artists on Saturday (Aug. 6).

On Sunday (Aug. 7), professional skaters will skate the ramp, which will then be opened up to all skaters to use. Prizes will be given to some of the best amateur skaters that day. A DJ will provide music and Two Chefs Affair will be offering food samples. An afterparty is set for Cliff Restaurant, on Skinner Street.

The event runs 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. both days.

“I wanted to bring the worlds of skateboarding and art together,” Morland said.

Money raised from the event will go toward the skatepark association. Spencer Allen, a member of the association, said they hope the event becomes not only an annual one but also one they tour to other cities.

“We want to show people [skateboarding] is not a bad thing,” he said. “The possibilities are almost endless.”

arts@nanaimobulletin.com