Bad Apples – Skateboarding and the Misfit Culture of EDC

Bad Apples March 2022 gradient
From fashion, to street art, to the Olympic Games – skateboarding is a fixture in pop culture worldwide. But at its core, it remains a fast-paced, gritty, DIY, risk-laden sport with its roots in rebellion. Arts and Culture El Dorado has teamed up with Motherlode Board Supply Co. and artist Nate Reifke to create a visual homage to skateboard culture and take a look at its place in El Dorado County’s love of adventure. Bad Apples: Skateboarding and the Misfit Culture of EDC is a wide-ranging exhibition including works of graphic design, original paintings, DIY repurposing, photography, and video installation – all recognizing the artistry in the act of skateboarding itself.
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The exhibition reflects back on the early days of skate culture, with periodicals and photographs dating back to the 1980s, while looking at its endurance into the present day. Old-school skaters have come out of the woodwork with stories of make-shift halfpipes built in barns and to contribute literal pieces of skate history from the far reaches of El Dorado County: a chunk of pool coping from the “Strawberry Bowl,” a skateboarding haven at the old Strawberry Lodge along HWY 50, is lovingly displayed behind plexiglass. The spot became legendary and a host of skateboarding tournaments were held there in its heyday.
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“What started as a very simple idea to have an exhibition looking at the creative athleticism of folks at the skatepark, has really blossomed into a dynamic show,” says Marya Osucha, Director of Exhibitions at Confidence Firehouse Gallery. “Through our partnership with Kelley [Rogers] and Nate [Reifke], we’ve been able to really centralize skateboarding as a nexus for creativity and art in all forms, and to begin to tap into the spirit of adventure that defines this county.”
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In addition to memorabilia and nostalgic artifacts, Bad Apples exhibits recent photographs and original works by local artists. Notably, artist Nate Reifke, with the assistance of art student Nia Henderson, has created a floor-to-ceiling mural on a temporary gallery wall specifically for the life of this exhibition. Reifke, a skate/snowboarder himself, is also the creative mind behind the exhibition’s title: “The name Bad Apples is derived from the fact that skateboarding most often attracts those who feel discarded or misplaced […] From the outside they are frequently perceived as rotten. Skateboarding is a place where the rotten are accepted, adopted, and made as whole as they can be. It takes the filth and the rot and transforms it into high-speed kinetic art. We don’t hide from that.”
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Confidence Firehouse Gallery is located at 487 Main Street in Placerville open Thursday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.