Cade Roster - Painting on decks

Matt Tuohy
By Matt Tuohy
Friday - December 05, 2008


Cade Roster - Painting on decks

Artist Cade Roster stopped skateboarding and started painting on his skateboard decks several years ago for the same reason many stop sports - he wasn’t good at it.

“I always felt inadequate compared to other skaters around me when I was younger,” he says. “So I figured I would just focus on my strength, I guess, which was being able to just draw.”

Where he lacks physical talent in the sport he makes up for with his art, which is currently on exhibit at the Chinatown Boardroom on Nuuanu Avenue.

Even though it had been a while since Roster has drawn or painted on a board, he brought the idea back after finding other artists online who are painting the decks.“I thought it would be cool to do again, so I thought I’d try it out.”

Few examples of the skateboard decks on display at Roster’s show in the Chinatown Boardroom. Below are two of his sculptures.

Each deck is hand-painted with animals, humorous figures or risqué images that match the feel of the urban-based sport.

“A lot of them are just weird ideas that were just popping into my head,” he says. “Things that I felt looked good on a skateboard - that shape.”

Outside the designs on these skateboard decks, a lot of Roster’s work is science fiction- and comic book-themed. “I’m a huge geek,” he laughs. “I was part of the original Star Wars generation. It shaped my childhood quite a bit.”

There are several drawings of spaceships and many crafts made from Legos on his flickr site. “It’s just really a great way to get my brain active,” he says about the Legos, which he now shares with his kids.“It’s just a nice, creative pastime.”

Roster has experimented in painting, photography, sculpture and beyond.”(I use) whatever I can get my hands on,” he says.“I’m kinda all over the place - I use whatever feels lucky or whatever feels good at the moment. But I spend most of my time with drawing.”

Few examples of the skateboard decks on display at Roster’s show in the Chinatown Boardroom. Below are two of his sculptures.

With his father an art teacher and an artist mother, it’s easy to see where his passion for the arts comes from. “It’s kinda like a family business, I guess,” he laughs. “It’s just sort of that’s always been part of our family.”

Roster attended the Art Institute of Chicago, double majoring in animation and printmaking. He also taught at the Honolulu Academy of Arts for a few years but put it on hold to take care of his family.

At 36, Roster is a full-time artist and new father of two baby boys, Jax and Vaughn.“They’re very inspiring,” he says of his children.“My brain has been bubbling a lot more because of them.”

For more information on the show, visit or call 585-7200.


Creatively Christmas

Few examples of the skateboard decks on display at Roster’s show in the Chinatown Boardroom. Below are two of his sculptures.

One of Santa’s favorite elves has been left behind at the Honolulu Academy of Arts once again to bring the spirit of the holidays and art education together in the show Creatively Christmas.

The show features Rosie the Elf, who will perform magic tricks and talk about basic elements of art like color to 3- to 8-year-olds and their parents.

“I’m an elf who was left behind by Santa because I was shopping at Ala Moana,” says Susie Roth, who plays the part of Rosie the Elf. “What we’re hoping is that families will come and look at some of the art exhibits upstairs, and then come downstairs with their children for a performance with me.”

Roth also mentioned the addition of some new tricks and elements to this year’s show.

Roth is a child entertainer and was trained in the art of clowning at a clown school in the late 1970s.

“I’ve been doing child entertainment for 15 years,” she says.“I guess I could say I’ve developed different characters throughout the years. I used to be Giggles the Clown, but now I’m Rosie the Elf.”

Rosie the Elf has been left behind again to perform magic tricks for children.

Also on her list of credentials is an undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of St. Louis and a master’s degree in education from the University of Colorado.

The 20-minute shows are scheduled five times each day on Dec. 6, 7, 14, 20, 21 and 23. The show is free with purchase of admission tickets, which are $10 for regular admission and $5 for seniors, students and military. Tickets are available at the academy’s visitor information center.

Since we know why the kids are going to want to go to the academy, the adults also will find something to look at with the vast art collection on display.

The academy has more than 20,000 works of Asian art and more than 15,000 works on paper from Europe and America from the Renaissance to now in its permanent collection.

Currently on display in Gallery 9 until mid-February is Graphic Cabinet #3: Face to Face, a collection of photographic portraits. The exhibit features 20 portraits by 20 photographers like Paul Weiss, Robert Frank, Sally Mann and more. The exhibit is meant to focus on the exchange among subject, artist and viewer.

For more information on either show or to see a schedule for Creatively Christmas, call 532-6091 or visit

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