From Skate to Tile

by James Rada, Jr., photography by Phil Grout

Growing up, Rich Moorhead loved to skateboard. He liked the speed, the feel of the wind on his face, and the excitement of pulling off a stunt. Then one day, he walked into his nephew’s garage and saw a stack of broken skateboards. His nephew, who also liked skateboarding, saved his old skateboards rather than throwing them out.

“What are you going to do with them?” Moorhead asked his nephew.

The young boy looked at the pile and said, “I’ll probably throw them away some time.”

Looking at that pile of wood decorated with unique artwork done with vibrant colors, Moorhead knew that there must be something that could be done with them rather than simply fill up a landfill.

“He saw something in that pile of trash that was going to go to the garbage,” said Bruce Boul, co-founder of Art of Board. “He started making little things like picture frames at first using the wood.”

Moorhead realized that the wood could be used for more, though. They were pieces of art, and he wanted to show off more of the designs than could be seen in a picture frame.

So he learned about tiles and how they were made. Soon, he was creating unique and colorful tiles from the old skateboards, and Art of Board was born. Art of Board creates one-of-a-kind interior surfaces made of tile, textile, and fabric for commercial and retail spaces. They even create materials for some residences.

“Businesses use our tiles to try and make their offices look cool to help attract and retain young talent,” Boul said.

As demand for the products grew, Moorhead and partners needed to find a source for skateboards. He began contacting skate shops and asking what they did with the broken skateboards they accumulated. The answer was always: throw them away.

“Rich created a national skateboard recycling movement,” Boul said. “Rather than haul all this broken wood to a dumpster, we take it.”

When a shop accumulates enough skateboards, Art of Board is contacted for a shipping label, and the boards are shipped to Hanover.

Each board is photographed, and the image used to create a high-resolution digital image. This image can then be transferred to other materials. Meanwhile, the reclaimed wood is cut and prepared to become a unique tile.

“With the original wood, no two tiles are ever the same,” Boul said.

Art of Board’s newest product is textiles created in collaboration with C. F. Stinson. Art of Board’s images are transferred onto Chaos, a polyurethane-coated polyester. The designs are transferred onto Jacquard-woven cotton to create both Splice, inspired by stacks of skateboards, and Three60, which imagines decks cut into circles.

“Art of Board is putting Hanover on the world stage,” Boul said.

Art of Board  218 E. Chestnut St., Hanover  •  www.artofboard.com


BUSINESS BITS:

  • Art of Board is celebrating its 10th year in business in 2017.
  • Art of Board’s skateboard-recycling program involves 400 retailers from Southern California to New York.
  • The original wood tiles are sold by the square foot and are ready to be grouted.
  • The wood tiles retain all of the scratches, scrapes, and even stickers that were on the original skateboard to help it maintain the look of authenticity.
  • Art of Board employs three people in the ownership team and five people who work at the Hanover location.
  • The digitally designed items are carefully edited to remove any brand names that might have appeared on the original wooden platform.
  • Art of Board has created pieces for businesses like Google, California Pizza Kitchen, Red Bull, Macy’s, LAX, and Virgin Atlantic.
  • Art of Board also has a satellite operation in Laguna Beach, Ca.
  • The company has installed its creations all over the world in places like Dubai and Chile.

Author: HM

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