Last month Hereford skate park got a new look. Seemingly overnight the bowls went all Mondrian on us.
The reason, it turns out, is that the skatepark would be the backdrop, and to some extent the subject, of a Co-Op ad. The park's one of the local projects supported by Co-Op funding, and London artist Tymz Two came up to film the ad. It’s live now - and looks great.
Parks and painters have always had a close relationship - from Southbank to Venice Beach. We spoke to local film-maker and skater James Newby about how the project came about.
So first up – give me the story here. How did this happen/who’s behind it/where did the idea and design come from?
The design came from the production company which was then painted onto the park by three London graffiti artists, one of these was TymzTwo. TymzTwo, also known as Jed was part of the three-man team.
But with time running out, some of us local skaters decided to get stuck in to help meet the deadline. Jed had seen my previous work I'd done at the skatepark and asked me to do some drone work from him.
How long did it take to paint up the park?
From start to finish, the park took four days (Wednesday-Saturday) including marking out areas to paint and painting itself - off the top of my head, alongside the three London artists, there were approximately 10 people involved.
You’re involved in the skate scene – other than Hereford (obviously), what do think the best-looking parks are?Y
Alongside Hereford, and coming from London, I like Southbank skatepark in London as it’s original and looks crusty is cool. The story behind Southbank and how the community saved the skatepark sums up skateboarding, collectively coming together whatever race, gender, religion to enjoy one thing.
Your drone shot is incredible. How high did you have to send it to get that picture?
I flew the drone up to 100ft both day and night. I did a visual inspection of the area looking at potential obstructions and looking at the weather before doing a circular flight around the skatepark.
What’s with the unpainted segments ?
Some of the sections were unpainted as they were not going to be seen on camera. But we did paint over some of the unpainted area as some skaters said they may find it disorientating as they look for visual reference points when skating the bowls.
What’s the reaction been like from the skaters?
The first reaction was the concern of if the bowl was going to be slippy. We didn’t want to turn it into an ice rink. The paint is masonary matte paint to avoid that but the general reaction is that people like it as it is new and covers the random graffiti.
How much was it intended to be a Mondrian-esque largescale art piece, and how much was it just ‘let’s make something cool and colourful for the camera’?
I’m not entirely sure to be honest. I didn’t really see the brief from the designers. I think there was some idea behind it and it was well organised.
The skate scene, historically, globally, has always been this incubator of creative talent from artists to film-makers – what do think it is about the culture that makes it such an open environment to try out ideas and be creative?
The skate scene is unique. Personally moving from London to Hereford, Hereford Skatepark was where I grew up. What I like about skateboarding is that whatever you do outside, no one looks at you differently.
Your interests, past, present or whatever, are accepted in the skateboarding community. People at the park are willing to help each other, check on each other after a fall. Also I started filming at Hereford therefore it has given me an area to test things before taking them out to clients.
Do you know if the project has had much attention outside of Hereford? If so - what’s the perception, and can something like this help give a park an identity nationally?
This can definitely give the park national identity. In previous years, we have been rated one of the top three in the UK.
Hopefully when the final product is shown, it’ll put the park on the map. Hereford Skatepark is unique, we are a charity run skatepark. All profits from the on-site ‘Boombox’ skate shop are reinvested back into the park keeping it safe and free to use.
To check out more of James' video work, or to get in touch with him about filming, head over to his professional site JRN Visuals here.