Think Tank Gallery Presents CHILLED AIR – A Group Art Show Curated by Austin England and Luke Pelletier (2014) was a massive undertaking that involved the work of about 30 artists, nearly 10 brands, and three weeks of operating a nightly Skate Art Park, complete with prize pack giveaways every night. It was a sort of sequel to our first skate art show with Luke.
Coordinating the intake and install of so many international artists and also helping them build installation pieces like Bryan Peterson's video piece with analog remixes on VHS-player TVs was a hefty task, but the major load of the show was the Keen Ramps Skate Art Park, which was designed and handled by curator Austin England and Cory Keen, which left me the opportunity to focus on gallery business more for this show than any other (and to build the stage and plan programming). And to their credit, we sold more work than at any show previous.
Creating the marketing campaign for CHILLED AIR was the most complicated job I've taken on thus far because of how many parties were partnered, and luckily Cory and Austin understood this and handled their business leaving me to make a message out of the madness. Landing LA Canvas as a media partner helped to confirm top-notch sponsors, which was a massive blessing but certainly complicated my job of providing a cohesive message that was consistent with Luke and Austin's curatorial statement. More on that below.
Check out the teaser for the show above and the press release here.
The most important task I had for the CHILLED AIR show was tying in the myriad of brands that came together under the same roof to a solid show that made sense for each one of their marketing departments, while not straying from the message of the show that Luke, Austin, and the artists they selected were putting across. LA Canvas, Keen Ramps, Stance Socks, éS Skateboarding, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Guitar Center, GoPro, Kobra Paint, Rasta Taco, Surprise Skateboards, Spankgrip, Bright Futures Sunglasses, and even more were all kind enough to donate press, product for giveaways, or money for production, and it created a lot of loose ends to tie together.
While the original goal was to host a festival events á la COFFEEGRAPH, it became evident that the Skate Art Park itself (below) was the main attraction. To supplement this, we created a bunch of prize packs for nightly giveaway raffles and prizes for games of S.K.A.T.E. or slap contests. éS also hosted their weekly "Block Party," which incorporated their conceptually-designed block pieces that could be arranged and rearranged into ledges, wall rides, and kickers. Large amounts of kids came out for these events, and Instagram was flooded with images of prize packs full of new shoes and even a GoPro camera.
On opening night, we gave away thousands of dollars of Stance socks, PBR, and Rasta Tacos. I designed a new flyer outlining each brand's unique involvement to be released each week leading up to the show, building the sense of community inherent in the DIY nature of the exhibit. All of these can be seen below. You can also download the proposal deck we made here, including the cancelled Pop Up Mini Theatre and original idea for the Skate Art Park.
While the original idea for CHILLED AIR, which can be seen in the pitch above (and is being currently expanded into its own complete show concept), incorporated a pop up mini theatre that was to play a skate vid film festival for the duration of the exhibit, the massive list of artists, brands, and producers in the show took all of the attention and guided it toward the Keen Ramps Skate Art Park.
The Skate Art Park was the shining attraction of the exhibit, built in a site-responsive way into the gallery's massive main room. Cory Keen designed a skate park that ran through the middle of the gallery, complete with wall ride and quarter pipe. Teaming up with Stance Socks and Guitar Center, I designed a stage with a path behind it to the bathroom that butted up against Keen's park, enclosed by a chain link fence so that performers could feel safe while skaters dropped in just inches away from them and their expensive equipment.
The piece was half activated by the myriad of artists that collaborated on the park, covering it with murals and even installing a video art piece by Bryan Peterson and éS Skateboards that played inside of the china bank. We used the rest of the chain link fence that I purchased to close in the park and keep spectators safe, as well as to complete the grimy feel of the show. Check out the recap video below to see the Skate Art Park in action at the gigantic opening reception blowout: