The Modart Project 1999

One of the highlights of last fall’s Action Sports Retailer show wasn’t found within the halls of the convention center, but a few blocks down the street in an big, old brick building. That first Modart event brought together the worlds of skateboarding and snowboarding art, music, and fashion in such a successful way, the idea was expanded upon for Fall ’99 to encompass two days’ worth of happenings.

This year’s Modart event was held in the lofty and spacious ReinCarnation building just outside the recognized Gaslamp area of downtown San Diego, an easy walk for those attending the ASR show. Approaching the opening artists’ reception and cocktail hour held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Thursday, September 9, attendees were greeted by a thunderously loud jazz ensemble playing outside in the palatial courtyard, an easy solution for preventing the street and sidewalk-loiter factor of last fall. Turnout for the reception was excellent, with representation from the media, industry, fashion, and art worlds mixing easily while surrounded by works of art by nearly a hundred talented folks within the skateboard and snowboard communities.

Although it’s difficult to whittle down such a worthy and impressive collection by mentioning only a few handfuls of what was exhibited, some notable works are as follows: Dave Kinsey’s huge hear-no, see-no, speak-no evil monkeys on canvas hung above the full-service bar as a welcome to those entering the ReinCarnation Building; Jeff Tremaine’s colorful pastiche portrait, The Roaches; incidental film The Exploitation Of Crazy Joe by Brendan Fenton Casey¿the all-heart skate exploits of a guy who just won’t quit; Andrew Pommier’s sad-eyed Kiss kids; Ed Templeton’s nearly voyeuristic Polaroids and his increasingly deep, dark paintings; Andy Howell’s way-bigger-than-life stories on canvas included the colorful tale, Harvey Credwinkle and Ol’ Lucky Seven Sampson.

Lance Mountain continues to expand on his son’s simple drawings, this time with images painted on LPs, 45s, and industrial lids; Garry S. Davis’ mixed-media offerings included Japanesque beauty, night ocean; Michele Lockwood funny T-shirt images included a corresponding video presentation; Thomas Campbell’s gorgeous cluster of tiny canvases adorned with intricate whimsical images; Sean Cliver’s go-carting with GWAR photo; Andy Jenkins’ complicated art doodlings; Scott Knecht’s humorous and touching Bigfoot multi-media series; Joe Sorren’s untitled ballerina beneath the stars painting; Randy Janson’s obsessions with Monica Lewinsky and donuts revealed in The Clinton Missile Crisis; Yogi’s overspray on particle-board figures; Dean Hunter-Cutrona carved the dragon through the plies of a Powell skateboard.

Caia Koopman’s big-eyed waifs adorned almost velvet-like canvases; Tyler Adair provocative mixed-media work placed a live mouse in a Lucite cage with a ready trap; Adam Wallacavage’s blown-up kiddie-toy prints in neon; Shem Roose’s untitled photos include one of Modart cofounder Mona Mukherjea dancing in an Indian sari; Damon Way’s ingenious peep-show box garnered quite a bit of attention; Aaron Regan’s photojournalist collection documents a trip to Sumatra as well as any words could; and Miki Vuckovich’s Hockney-esque photo collage/panorama documents the building of the Upland Combi-Bowl as reincarnated at the Vans Skatepark in Orange.

In a new twist this year, most of the art was available through a silent auction open to all attendees. A suggested price was posted near each artwork for sale, and art enthusiasts could base their bids on that or go out on a limb. Attendees of the artists’ reception were treated to an impromptu bit of performance art by East Coast cult-character Vinnie Raffa, who indulged himself in a strip tease and a bit of semi-nude posing in front of Jeff Tremaine’s artwork, and Vinnie generously recreated his performance for anyone who asked. Needless to say, that particular work of art was not for sale.

The artistss’ reception was followed by a fashion show organized by Modart cofounder Shaney-Jo Darden, which after a few technical difficulties (not all the models were pros) found its legs and took off. Helping the evening to flow were MCs Selema Masekela and Kim Hall, and the clothing companies featured were all from within the industry. After the fashion show, folks stuck around for and evening of music and socializing.

Speaking of reincarnation¿it’s refreshing to find that a successful event has been followed up with one even more ambitious and successful. Because this fall’s Modart was held over two days, the gallery was open for viewing art during the day on Friday September 10, and Tum Yeto and Innes hosted a party that night featuring three bands as well as punk-rock karaoke. Plus, the ten-dollar door fee at Modart helps out the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad. As before, the scope of talent and vision within our board-sports communities is incredible, and thanks to Modart, there’s a place for all that talent to be seen and enjoyed.

This past summer, a traveling version of Modart went on the road with the Warped Tour and probably will again. If you’d like more info about Modart, call Mona Mukherjea, director of art and film, or Shaney-Jo Darden, director of style and sound, at: (858) 794-0930.

Click here for Modart photo gallery.