Recently I had the honour of working with the amazing student designers at the Oasis Skateboard Factory (OSF) on an installation for the Gladstone Hotel's annual Come Up To My Room exhibit called the "House of Gnawr". OSF is a Toronto District School Board alternative design program where students earn high school credits by creating their own brand and running a skateboard business / professional design studio. I have been a proud partner of the program for over 6 years, and this was our biggest project to date!
Over months of planning, we decided to run with the theme of youth as represented by rats in the city. The rat has long been a symbol for the OSF students, and the "House of Gnawr" transformed visitors to a post-apocalyptic skatepark overrun by these resilient rodents. The installation involved creating a large rat nest structure, with a quarter pipe on top, a skateboarding/pizza eating rat and a bunch of different features constructed with broken skateboard decks.
In contrast to the madness of the "House of Gnawr" structure, we wanted to relieve the tension of the room with a more art gallery appropriate series of skateboards installed on the opposite wall. These handmade decks were created in the classroom and feature a laser etched image of the student's faces trapped within the outline of a rat and completely coated in an all white spray paint.
As always, I had a great time collaborating with these incredibly creative and inspiring students. The OSF program is truly a hidden gem in the city, and I have seen first hand how it positively affects every student who has gone through the program.
Hope you got a chance to see this little piece of history! If not, hopefully the photos do some justice to just how hard everyone worked on the project.