SKATE ART JAM: a chance to leave your mark at Osborne Skate Park

Words by Caleb Sweeting
Photos by Emmaline Zanelli

The City of Port Adelaide Enfield has invited local artists Emmaline Zanelli and Kaspar Schmidt Mumm from SMOCK – an Adelaide artist-run initiative – to work with the Adelaide community to give Osborne Skate Park a fresh new look.

The duo are encouraging anyone on wheels (or foot) to come along to Osborne this Saturday and join in a painting workshop. The artwork created by participants will influence the final design of the park, a park bench and an adjacent toilet block.

It all started with an expression of interest to paint the park, which impressed the Council’s Arts and Development Officer Jane Marr.

“We put a call out to artists to put in an expression of interest and we got a really good response from some fantastic, high quality artists,” says Jane. “So it was really quite difficult to select which one, but we felt Kaspar and Emmaline just really grasped the aspect of wanting to work with the local community, and the kids and users much more than anyone else.”

 Emmaline dressed to impress. Snap by Kaspar.

Emmaline dressed to impress. Snap by Kaspar.

Thanks to such events as Wonderwalls – a street art festival held in Port Adelaide – the area is fast becoming an outdoor gallery. But unlike Wonderwalls, where people watch artists transform blank walls, this event is about involving everyone in the art-making process. In fact, if you ask Emmaline or Kaspar they will tell you they are simply facilitators of the art that will feature at Osborne.

“We don’t want to just paint the mural,” says Kaspar. “We want to involve the community to make the skate park an icon of Adelaide’s skate scene.”

 Kaspar smiling for the camera.

Kaspar smiling for the camera.

Since opening in 2011, Osborne Skate Park has been a hot spot to skate and congregate, not only for Lefevre Peninsula locals, but also riders who are willing to travel there from across the state. The closure of Adelaide City Skate Park in 2015 has resulted in more riders making the commute.

“I have a lot of pride in this area,” says Emmaline, who grew up in Largs Bay. “Especially now, working at Tutti Arts and seeing there’s actually a platform in this area for community arts and a lot of desire for it.”

An expression of interest to paint a mural on the toilet block and sections of the skate park, has now grown into an event which will involve, not only art, but also music from local bands Somnium and Slowmango (DJ) and the opportunity to dress up in elaborate costumes handmade by Emmaline and Kaspar.

“We were talking about how we would get this visual material from people who skated there to inform the mural,” says Emmaline. “It kind of grew into the idea of having an event where we could harvest all this data, but also have a fun community thing, that wasn’t about competition.”

This Saturday, everyone will have the opportunity to dress up, grab a brush and paint a large piece of canvas. This ‘canvas’ is actually a repurposed truck cover that Emmaline found on Gumtree.

“I was looking for vinyl truck covers, because there was one I saw when I was leaving the studio on a big truck that was like a rainforest scene. So I found a Gumtree seller who has heaps of them – it must be someone who worked at a trucking company.”

Once Emmaline and Kaspar purchased the vinyl cover, they needed to test if it was possible to skate over it and actually paint on the material – luckily it worked.

Video by Mickey Mason. Music by Somnium.

Port Adelaide Youth Engagement Officer, Emily Charlton is especially excited about SKATE ART JAM, because, unlike competitions at Osborne, this event is open to anyone.

“Most events are exclusive to skateboarding or just scooters and it’s more focused on the skill level of the rider,” says Emily. “Whereas this is about including everyone. People who ride, but are anxious about competing and being judged, can come on the day and do whatever they please.”

Riley Katschner from Largs Bay Primary School has taken the initiative to round up a group of peers and share some ideas around the artwork they’d like to see at Osborne.

“I have been thinking of some improvements for the Osborne Skate Park”, says Riley. “So I put together my ideas and emailed through to the City of Port Enfield Council.”

“The skate park needs more colour to brighten up the place. Also it needs art on open spaces at the skate park because it would look cool and more people might come there."

For school students in the area, going to the skate park after school is a daily ritual. It’s a reprieve from the classroom and a chance to learn new things in the outdoors.

Michael Harris-Walker from Sk8 Therapy, an organisation that provides skateboard mentoring, coaching and events, will be at Osborne this Saturday, helping fix boards and passing on some skate tips.

 Local kids Patrick and Hayden are amped for the event.

Local kids Patrick and Hayden are amped for the event.

“The connection between Osborne Skate Park and the youth of the Lefevre Peninsula is highly important,” says Michael, who runs regular skateboarding workshops at the park.

“Without Osborne Skate Park for youth to skate, scooter or bike, there would be no facilities allowing anyone, who wants to progress in their chosen sport, a facility to train just like other mainstream sports. It also provides a place for the greater community to watch, chill out and enjoy themselves in the outdoors.”

While SKATE ART JAM is a workshop, Kaspar is keen to have people come along on the day with ideas to help shape the painting on the skate park and toilet block at a later date.

“It’s important for us not to be teaching people how to do a workshop, but for us to just be like ‘hey we’ve got these things, what do you think we should make with it?”

SKATE ART JAM takes place at Osborne Skate Park this Saturday the 9th of June (537-539 Victoria Rd). Join the Facebook event here and follow @smockbureau on Instagram to keep up to date with this project and many more from the SMOCK team.