Seattle artists bring some edge with 'The Garage'

Colorful skateboard decks and classic American art with themes like hot-rod cars make up the exhibit at AR4T.

August 09, 2012|By Brittany Woolsey
  • Pieces by Electric Coffin, "1960," left, and "Bardahl Cans," center, are shown in the exhibit called "The Garage" at AR4T in Laguna Beach. Electric Coffin is work done by duo artists Patrick "Duffy" De Armas and Justin Kane Elder.
Pieces by Electric Coffin, "1960," left,… (KEVIN CHANG, Coastline…)

Art from the Northwest travels to Southern California in AR4T's latest exhibit, "The Garage."

Seattle artist Brennan Coyle and Electric Coffin Supply Co., a group of artists, have combined their unique art styles in this colorful and innovative show at the Laguna Beach gallery.

Coyle creates colorful skateboard decks by hand-carving and painting them with bright colors and interesting images like Sailor Jerry tattoos, Rat Fink, cartoons and Asian-inspired designs. Each skate deck is greatly detailed, with some thinly carved lines that show how much work Coyle puts into them.

"[The creation process] is pretty slow, but the nuts and bolts of it are simple," he said.

Coyle said he comes up with an idea, then draws it out. He then figures out how to fit the design on a skateboard and carefully cuts it to make sure it doesn't fall apart. Then he transfers the drawing onto the board and paints it.


"The painting process is usually the longest since it's always fairly experimental and unknown," Coyle said.

Coyle is an AR4T veteran, having three shows prior to "The Garage" at the gallery. For this show, he decided to invite Electric Coffin artists to also display their work.

Founder Patrick "Duffy" De Armas, along with Justin Elder and Stefan Hofmann, make up Electric Coffin. Each artist brings his own unique tastes to the team, De Armas said.

Electric Coffin artists use recycled materials, like newspaper ads, car hoods and old signs, for their "panel-loge" technique, or a collage with panels.

"When you use older materials, they're more difficult because they're not perfect, but that also makes it better," De Armas said. "Starting with something that already has a history adds to the dynamic of what we're making."

Electric Coffin's styles range from Andy Warhol-inspired pieces to classic Americana art, featuring themes like hot rod cars.

De Armas said Electric Coffin and Coyle decided to combine for this show because of their close friendship.

"We've been really good friends and worked at a snowboarding and skate shop together," De Armas said. "As Brennan has grown and become more efficient, we've risen together. He thought it would be fun to do a show together. It was a good opportunity to hang out and make some art."

Coyle added, "I really like what [Electric Coffin] does with old junk. They seem to be able to find it pretty much everywhere. I got to work with them directly [for this show] and actually work on the same paintings together. It turned out to be an awesome time."

Torrey Cook, owner of AR4T, said "The Garage" has been well-received by visitors.

"The show's amazing and the work is top-notch," Cook said. "I love having Seattle artists out here in Laguna. They're just high-caliber artists."

"The Garage" is scheduled to be on display at AR4T, 210 N. Coast Hwy., until Aug. 25, but may be extended to Labor Day weekend due to its warm reception. There is no cost to view the exhibit.

AR4T is open Wednesday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., or by appointment.

For more information about AR4T and "The Garage," visit

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