Steen Jones x New Era Australia: Bowl-A-Rama
As a kid who grew up living and breathing skateboarding, I used to dream of one day going Bowl-A-Rama. Never did I think that I would ever work there …let alone be there working with one of my of my favourite brands or being commissioned to create gifts for the OG’s of the event. The OG’s of the event were not just the OG’s of the event - but pioneers of the sport - and many of my own idols - ones that originally got me into skateboarding in the first place, ones that I’d have spent my childhood playing in video games and ones whom I had looked up to for as long as I could remember! Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist, Rune Glifberg and Steve Caballero to name a few…. It was so much more than a dream come true!
There was no way that I was not going to give this my all or fuck this up.
So for those who don’t know about it, Bowl-A-Rama is not only Australia's biggest skateboarding competitions - it’s one of the most famous, renowned and sought-after skateboarding competitions in the world. Every February, the sell-out, invite-only competition comes to and takes over the world famous, Bondi Beach Skatepark in Sydney.
I was commissioned to work with New Era to co-design and activate their booth at the event - which included things like designing the booth, incorporating multiple art installations (pre and live during the event), designing exclusive and ‘Not-For-Sale’ patches for the custom head-ware activation and as mentioned, designing and making the OG’s 1 of 1 handmade gifts.
The first step was coming up with the booth concept and layout. Once we had a solid game-plan, it was time to get the booth built, it was time to get cracking onto the patch designs and the gifts for the OG’s.
The patches were the easy part as I had already made a million of these before. I sketched them out, tidied them up and sent them off to be made. The patches were going to be used as a live ‘embellishing’ activation - with punters being able to pick n’ choose their favourite patches and have them affixed to their new, new era cap!
The gifts - not as easy. For some insane reason, I was fixated on the idea of making something out of wood, which lead me to buying a laser engraver. This said, I/we had NO idea how to actually use one but I was adamant that we could figure it out and my vision would come to life - and it did.
Like most things, it started with a sketch and few different concepts. After a few goes and plenty of over-thinking, I came up with the final concept - which was what I thought was the perfect nod to New Era but in a new and fresh way whilst incorporating my art and vision and with a personal handmade touch.
Once I had designed the plaques, it was time to turn the laser on and figure out how TF to use it. Fast-forward many stressful, confusing hours and a day or 2 of no sleep, we figured it out. Once we had the artwork etched, it was time to get my hands dirty - with hand-cutting them out, sanding smooth, timber staining & sealing.
By the time I flew down, everything was under control - with the only thing left being painting the inside artwork for the booth. Once the booth arrived (in pieces) from Melb, it was time to get to work on the panels. I had 24 hours to do so.
Go time! The booth came together beautifully - and really stole the show IMO. The patch embellishment station was a huge hit too. It was so great and fulfilling to watch it come together and be enjoyed by many. That said, my work wasn’t over yet, it was time for me to get paintin’ on the live art component on the outside of the booth… and hand deliver my gifts to the OG’s!