Annual Hero Workshop

Art Workshops

I directed a workshop (and participated in the resulting exhibition) for the 2014 Hero Exhibition - a now annual event run by ArtFarm and Friends of Design Academy.

The wet and windy Cape Town winter could not keep art lovers from attending this year’s annual Hero Workshop, which took place this last Friday, 11 July at Friends of Design. The workshop received a record number of submissions and a hugely positive response, rewarding us with yet another, even more amazing exhibition.

The workshop, which is held one month before the exhibition to brief participating artists, was opened by Philipp Schmid and Hylton Craig Arendse who introduced the concept of the “Hero” event which is now in its second year running. Heroes and the question of ‘what is a hero’ or ‘makes a hero’ or ‘who can even be a hero’ – is a fantastic concept to explore. A being granted superhuman strength, a martial arts expert, wealthy weapons expert, or perhaps the ‘real individuals’ amongst us who inspire change – the list is endless as to how one can define or explore the subject matter. The concept of the Hero workshop is to explore and challenge artists with a new platform each year in which to display their talents and showcase their interpretation of the ‘Hero’ concept which will then culminate in an exhibition a month after.

Last year saw the customization of Munny vinyl toys, while this year the platform challenge took on Skate decks.

Marco Morgan, from National Skate Collective, gave a fantastic and insightful introduction to the skate scene, with particular reference to the local Cape Town skaters and history. The National Skate Collective believes in “a skate-friendly South Africa which supports skateboarding as an active mode of transport as well as a sport”.

The Hero Workshop offers the opportunity to turn a spotlight on the skateboard scene and of course the art associated with it that is so often overlooked.

Incredibly passionate about skateboarding, its history and its future (here in Cape Town), Marco, not only educated attendees on the scene, but also inspired them to look beyond the skateboard as yet just another canvas and to see the history, people, and struggles.

A big thank you to 360 initiative, Amin Gray, for lending some of his personal collection of boards for display and demonstration during the workshop as well as to Revolution for their last remaining “Almost” superhero series boards.

After a very enjoyable pizza break, kindly sponsored by Butler’s Pizza,

I took on the workshop portion and shared a few tips and tricks in transforming the humble skate deck into a work of art.

Skate decks, being made of wood, are not much different to other wooden media, and artists familiar with painting on Masonite, plywood and the like, will find themselves in familiar territory. While attention should be paid to the extreme format of the deck, along with the curved and tapered shape, overall it is not such a difficult medium and encourages artists to merely think outside the box and give their work the opportunity to ascend to a new platform.

To those who were interested about getting boards, wheels, etc you can take a look at Revolution and Boardhub.

We are more than happy to assist and answer any questions you may have so please do not hesitate to contact us.

As usual I love to be in the thick of it and am never purely satisfied with just teaching and guiding. I actually decided to go with two different heroes and concepts this year and settled on one as the accompanying illustration – whilst the other I virtualised on the skate deck. In my illustration, “Cloak Room Peril”, I explored the misunderstood/repressed (inner-child) hero in all of us.

For my skate deck design I was inspired by my adoration for cartoons (it is no secret that my inner-child never quite understood the “inner” part and so rules my adult life too)! So, I took one of my favourite childhood cartoon heroes, Popeye, and made him more relevant, and identifiable to Africa. I had a lot of fun with this idea, keeping it simple and drawing my inspiration from the disc wearing Surma people from Ethiopia.