No Comply is a touring exhibition of decorated skateboard decks featuring local and international artists. It is currently on at No Vacancy Gallery, Red Cape Lane in the QV centre, Melbourne. (Red Cape Lane takes its name from the very large red awning with white spots that hangs over this street level path through the QV shopping centre.) Next month the exhibition will be moving to Sydney.
The “ply” in No Comply refers to the shaped and moulded plywood that forms the deck of a skateboard. For decades skateboards have been decorated but the decks on show at No Comply are too elaborate, too beautiful or modified to have wheels fitted to them and used. These decks are just works of art. And as a skateboard deck is long and narrow many of the artists used 2 or 3 decks to create a bigger picture.
The exhibition is “produced” (rather than curated?) by the NiceProduce Team, Alex, Karl and Stuart. And appears to has been very well produced, the exhibition has been well hung with didactic panels on each artist. But there is more to producing an exhibition than simply to hang it. Appropriate sponsorship must be found, promotion and advertising organized, artwork transported, and more – a production. The entrepreneurial spirit of these producers, like the NiceProduce Team makes Melbourne’s street art a strong and dynamic scene.
A curatorial effort seems to have been made for this exhibition. There is a good selection of artists. There is a good balance in the styles of artists from the lowbrow illustration to contemporary art, from elegant designs to old school hip-hop. There are so many excellent works in this exhibition, so many significant local and international street artists, that it is difficult to make comments on particular works without ignoring others of equal quality.