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Beauty and the board: Alberta artist designs skateboards to attract more to sport

Click to play video: 'Artist leaves her mark on skateboards to broaden sport’s appeal' Artist leaves her mark on skateboards to broaden sport’s appeal
WATCH ABOVE: A young Edmonton artist is leaving her mark on the skateboarding community. She's designing boards in the hopes of making the sport more inviting to a wider demographic. Emily Mertz explains – Jul 25, 2016

A young Alberta artist is on a mission to make skateboarding more beautiful as well as more inclusive. Hayley Wright hopes her designs will attract riders, no matter what their age, gender or skill level.

“The boards that are available, they’re not necessarily very feminine,” explained Hayley Wright. “I don’t think my boards… they’re not created for women but they do have a certain feminine flair. They’re really just for anybody, male or female, who finds them interesting and might want to try them out.”

Wright recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to support her new project, The Skateboard Collective.

The 26-year-old has designed a series of 12 hand-crafted, custom skateboard decks that challenge conventional skateboard graphics. She uses wood-burning, spray-painting, gold leaf and other techniques and materials to create unique decks that inspire skateboarders.

In addition to encouraging people to shop local, she hopes the creative boards will get different types of people into the sport.

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“It is also sort of an advocate for girls, and young women, and even guys, anybody who might be intimated by the current skateboard community and the skate skate shops that are available now,” Wright explained.

“Producing these boards is kind of fighting for them to be empowered and inspired. Hopefully, they’ll want to learn how to ride too.”

Wright hopes her designs will make more people feel welcomed in the skateboarding community.

“I think my biggest compliment that I’ve had was from my 14-year-old niece. It’s her birthday at the end of the month and she asked her mom for a Paper and Ink skateboard. She’s never expressed any interest in skateboarding before and I thought, ‘this is exactly why I’m doing this.’ Somebody who maybe never thought about skateboarding before is finding an interest in it.”

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A series of 12 custom skateboard decks by local artist Hayley Wright, to reinvent + rejuvenate the arts and skateboarding communities. Courtesy: The Skateboard Collective
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A series of 12 custom skateboard decks by local artist Hayley Wright, to reinvent + rejuvenate the arts and skateboarding communities. Courtesy: The Skateboard Collective
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A series of 12 custom skateboard decks by local artist Hayley Wright, to reinvent + rejuvenate the arts and skateboarding communities. Courtesy: The Skateboard Collective
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A series of 12 custom skateboard decks by local artist Hayley Wright, to reinvent + rejuvenate the arts and skateboarding communities. Courtesy: The Skateboard Collective
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A series of 12 custom skateboard decks by local artist Hayley Wright, to reinvent + rejuvenate the arts and skateboarding communities. Courtesy: The Skateboard Collective
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A series of 12 custom skateboard decks by local artist Hayley Wright, to reinvent + rejuvenate the arts and skateboarding communities. Courtesy: The Skateboard Collective
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Hayley Wright hopes her designs make skateboarding more accessible. Emily Mertz, Global News
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Hayley Wright hopes her designs make skateboarding more accessible. Emily Mertz, Global News
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Hayley Wright hopes her designs make skateboarding more accessible. Emily Mertz, Global News
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Hayley Wright hopes her designs make skateboarding more accessible. Emily Mertz, Global News
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Hayley Wright hopes her designs make skateboarding more accessible. Emily Mertz, Global News

Wright was looking for a way to change up her artistic journey and find something different to challenge herself. When she started researching the sport of skateboarding, she knew she had found a great fit.

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“The skateboarding community – it can be kind of intimidating to a beginner, especially somebody like me who maybe has no experience in that area. The reason I wanted it to be accessible to everybody was because either you can use it as a skateboard at a beginner level, intermediate, pro… or you can even use it as an art piece or a conversation piece.”

Wright’s goal is to raise $1,200 by July 31. On Monday, she had raised $974 from 22 backers.

“People have been so generous and even the feedback I have gotten has been so amazing.”

The money will go towards purchasing decks, spray paint, power tools, finishing materials and project marketing.

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