Skateboard artist spinning ahead

  • Article by: SUZANNE ZIEGLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 14, 2010 - 4:17 PM

A Minneapolis artist's time-killing sketches on skateboards evolved into a full-fledged business.


Mark Rivard recently opened Rivard Art Gallery at 2205 NE. California St., Minneapolis. His first works of art were sketches of skylines on skateboards.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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Canvas and oil paint? Sketch pad and charcoal?

Try Sharpie and skateboard.

Mark Rivard, 29, a Minneapolis artist who grew up in Brooklyn Park, opened Rivard Art Gallery in northeast Minneapolis on Saturday. What started as a way to pass the time when he was recuperating from knee surgery in 2004 is now a growing and evolving business.

The beginning: "I was laid up for about six months, so I took my old skateboards and started sketching the city [Minneapolis] skyline. I did that with a Sharpie marker, a Sharpie ultrafine. I showed it to a couple friends and a local skate shop and they were like, 'That's cool. You should do more of that.'"

Turning point: "I did a show in Leuven, Belgium, a monthlong show. That's where it started to become more of a career."

Most popular?: "Definitely the [Walker Art Center's] cherry spoon and skyline, but I had only one and I didn't want to get rid of it. I started Rivard Art Inc. two years ago and found an investor, started reproducing my own skateboards on a mass scale."

On the wall: "The unique thing about my company is that the majority of people who buy them buy them as pieces of art, not to skate on them. But they're fully skateable skateboards."

Older and wiser at 29: "When I was 25, skateboards hanging on my wall was awesome. Then you get a little older and you're 29. And my clientele is a little older and ... they don't necessarily want a skateboard hanging on the wall of their $400,000 condo. Now, they want canvases and larger pieces of artwork. And that's just sort of how the company has evolved."

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