Stoked Brush Strokes

‘Blank’ — the same term used for a blank canvas and a surfboard before shaping — is the title of an art exhibit at the Pegge Hopper Gallery that turns boards into canvases for local artists

Yu Shing Ting
Friday - May 05, 2006
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From left: Rona Awber Bennett, Jef Hartsel, Eric Walden, Jason Teraoka, April Lee and Kandi Everett
From left: Rona Awber Bennett, Jef Hartsel, Eric
Walden, Jason Teraoka, April Lee and Kandi

Drop in to the Pegge Hopper Gallery this month for Blank - a surfboard show featuring one-of-a-kind artful and rideable boards by 10 local artists.

The show opens this week (May 3) and runs through June 3. Contributing artists are Pegge Hopper, Rona Awber Bennett, Rich Richardson, Jef Hartsel, Kandi Everett, Paul Willoughby, Maile Yawata, Timothy P. Ojile, April Lee and Jason Teraoka.

“The show is called Blank because we started with a blank (a surfboard before it’s shaped), and in art a blank canvas is also called a blank,” explains Rona Awber Bennett, co-curator of the show. “We’ve been talking about doing this show for about four years now and then one day we finally said let’s just do it.”

Driven by her passion for surfing and design, Awber Bennett recruited a team of friends who shared the same vision to make the show happen.

Jef Hartsel shows off his ‘Roots’
Jef Hartsel shows off his ‘Roots’

“We did a call out to artists in January and ever since then it’s been deadlines every week, and just brainstorming and meetings at various moments,” notes Melanie Yang, gallery manager, and coordinator and co-curator of the show.

Production began in February, and since then it’s been a bumpy ride for the Blank team as they were hit by some unexpected setbacks along the way.

“First Clark Foam was closing, but we were able to get a few of the last blanks from them, then the bad weather conditions affected the glassing, and then, with just one more day left of glassing, the Fire Department was called because of the fumes,” recalls Awber Bennett.

All of the surfboards were shaped by Eric Walden of Ben Aipa Surfboards using foam blanks manufactured by Clark Foam. Design layout and artwork digitization was done by Jeremy Bennett and glassing of the boards by Brian Michler.

The boards are all for sale (starting at $1,800) and vary in shapes - 9-foot long-board, 8-foot mini-longboard, 6-foot fish, 7-foot-10-inch ‘70s style, and 6-foot shortboard.

April Lee holds her Can You Get To That surfboard design
April Lee holds her Can You Get To That surfboard
Jason Teraoka looks at his Flying Eyeball fin
Jason Teraoka looks at his Flying Eyeball fin

A portion of the proceeds from the surf-board sales will be donated to the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter’s Blue Water Campaign, a statewide outreach campaign to help keep Hawaii’s waters clean and healthy.

Awber Bennett’s piece, titled Shakatastic, is a collage of about 50 different hands doing the shaka sign.

“A lot of artists were thinking of the surfboard and trying to translate that theme of surfing into their art,” says Awber Bennett, a mixed media artist with a art degree from the University of Hawaii, and co-designer and co-owner of the popular women’s clothing line Fighting Eel. “But I wanted to translate that feeling from surfing - stoked, happy, positive, a feeling that kind of reminds me of my grandma or old Hawaii. And I thought of the shaka as a good way to represent that.”

For her masterpiece,Awber Bennett went to Kaimana Beach, Tonggs and Walls and approached random people to shaka for the camera. Then it was to the cutting board and photoshop.

“I think most people would hang these surfboards up like they would with a painting,” says Awber Bennett, who also has a background in photography. “But it is a surfboard, and we’d be stoked if somebody was actually riding it.”

Tattoo artist Kandi Everett says she knew exactly what she wanted to draw from the minute she got the assignment - an octopus. “I’ve done a lot of scuba diving, and that’s one of my favorite animals to watch,” she explains.

“I did about two drafts of it, and seeing the finished product I’m really impressed with the way the guys made it look.”

Everett, who owns Kandi Everett Custom Tattoo in Downtown, enjoyed the job so

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