Interview: The Art of Skateboards by Inga Guzyte

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Inga Guzyte, Photo Credit: Catrin Hedström

Inga Guzyte  finds her inspiration in redesigning skateboards and making them into novel art. Her work is more than attention grabbing design – it’s truly unique. Inga admits that skateboarding is her number one motivation in creating her art, with the recycled skateboards as the raw material of her art works. Inga thrives on the idea that she is giving new life to these old or broken skateboards. From here our conversation went on.

Julija: Inga, what attracts you to art?

Inga: Art is attracting to me, because there are no rules. You can be as creative as you like. Besides that I use art as a way to express myself. If I have trouble communicating in words I communicate in images, I create my personal language.

Julija: I heard about your passion for skateboarding! Where did it come from? How long have you been doing this? Does it influence your work?

Inga: I am indeed very passionate about skateboarding. My first skateboard experience I had about 10 years ago. I met some skater kids on the street in Germany, they were very welcoming and showed me how to skate. Skateboarding was there for me at the right time and I will always appreciate that. At that time I did not realized it, but today I know that skateboarding gave me a direction. Skateboarding has influenced me since. I also have to mention that through skateboarding I experienced not only the feeling of security, good times and fun but also frustration. I believe this was just the perfect mixture of ingredients for my recipe of art.

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Inga Guzyte's Studio

Julija: What are the distinguishing features of your works?

Inga: The distinguishing features of my works are the “sculptural comic-like characters” I create using skateboards. The characters are free and through wild shape and form they are “unframeable.” In fact, as finished products the pieces lose their recognizable identity as skateboards. Every new character I make is unique.

Julija: Can you describe your working process?

Inga: My work process always starts with a little sketch. Putting down ideas on paper first makes the work process a lot easier and faster for me. Followed by a big sketch on a big piece of paper I cut out shapes and at the same time I start picking out the skateboards I would like to use for my sculpture. The colors and designs play a significant role on my decision making. A lot of the old skateboard designs are very inspiring as well. Once I picked out the boards I start tracing shapes on the skateboard and cutting them out with a bandsaw. Finally, I cut out pieces I nail together to create the first visible layer of my piece. I continue doing so till the piece is finished. Here and there I use spray paint to incorporate a color that from my point of view suits the piece or sculpture. To get a better picture of how I work you can always visit my HYPERLINK “http://ingaguzyte.com/” website. There you will find an intro video of my work.

Julija: What does your workplace look like?

Inga: My workplace is pretty simple and relatively small. I have a big wooden table that has two drawers full of small tools, like scissors, sanding paper, hammer, nails and so on. The table has also a shelf underneath where I can organize and arrange all the boards I have collected. On the table I have other tools like a drill, nail gun, jigsaw, sander and more spray paint. And there is a bandsaw in the corner which is one of my main tools.

Julija: What other activities interest and motivate you?

Inga: Going to new places and meeting new interesting people is another source of inspiration for me. Putting myself out there and dealing with a new situation motivates me to keep going with my work. But I also appreciate the alone time that I have for making art so I can experiment and find ways to express myself. I like to work with other artists and different mediums for a change as well. Therefore, I was doing a lot of stop motion animation in the last few years.

Julija: Where we could see your works now?

Inga: I have a little group show coming up in July 2012 in Santa Barbara, California and in September 2012 I will be having a solo exhibition in Vienna, Austria. You can find more details on my  website (http://ingaguzyte.com/). I always try to keep it updated with my new work and future exhibits.

Julija: What are your future plans? What would you still like to achieve as an artist?

Inga: In the future I hope to get into a good art school either in Europe or the USA. But besides that I am looking forward to doing collaborations and residencies in different countries. And finally, making people happy with my work and opening their eyes to “untraditional” art is a long term goal of mine.

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