Traditionally, skateboard graphics are either screenprinted or applied using a dye-sublimination process. However, Sydney-based Refill magazine has commissioned a host of designers and illustrators (including Delta, Ben Drury, Genevieve Gauckler, Jim Phillips, Maharishi, Marc Atlan, Marok, Parra, Michael C Place, Mr Jago, Nick Night…) to create designs to be laser-etched onto skateboard decks: each design is created by cutting away the top layer of wood with a laser. The result is stunning and highly detailed…
The boards (all 67 of them) will feature in a touring exhibition entitled Refill 7 and organised by the magazine will kick off in Sydney at the MTV Gallery, 4-16 Yurong Street on Thursday 29th March.
“Originally I came across the lasering technique at a friends place who has a signage and engraving business called Precision 20|20,” reveals Refill’s Luca Ionescu. “He also produces lasering on other materials for small runs and we used the lasering technique on wood in 2005 for the cover of the RPRSNT book we produced: we lasered the logo onto the wood then photographed it.
“We also then used it on a promo item for our NYE greeting card and we found it worked really well. In July 2006 we used the laser to etch out some of artist Rostarr’s designs onto wood and ply panels for a show he had in Sydney. Actually, we did this out of necessity at the time as a bungling airline misplaced some of his canvases and so we needed to generate some original looking work from sketches and illustrations that he had brought along. But the result was really amazing – when the top layer of ply was burnt away it revealed the darker or lighter layer of ply which was sandwiched underneath, creating a nice contrast in the design.
“So that’s when the inspiration came to us to do the decks and this show has been in planning since. We are also going to try wood inlay on the boards using a different coloured sheet of wood to inlay the design onto the deck. Also we’re going to paint some of the decks in different colours once they have been lasered. The laser technology has been great in reproducing really fine details within the work.”
Here is a selection of decks that will be exhibited:
Laser-etched board by Rob Abeyta (Supermundane)
by Maya Hayuk
Two tone board by Merda. “We ran a halftone pattern on those areas and got a dulling effect of the shaded areas of the design,” explains Refill’s Luca Ionescu. “Then we set the laser on full to get the deeper grooves.”
Surf and skate graphics legend Jim Phillips‘ deck
by Michael C Place of Build
Giant‘s tattoo-tastic design
To see a full list of exhibiting artists and more images, visit refillseven.com