The worlds of music, art, surfing, and skateboarding are all going to be combining for a good cause on Saturday evening for the Gritty Arts Shindig at San Clemente’s Hobie Surf Shop. With tunes from the father-daughter combination of the Bent Duo Band as well as an art gallery and clothing giveaway from Gritty Arts, the event is sure to bring some much-needed funds and awareness to the San Clemente Skate Coalition to build a new skatepark in the city.
But like so many things today, the big Shindig never would’ve happened if it hadn’t been for social media. Steven Lombardi, the gritty artist behind Gritty Arts, started chatting with Hobie via Instagram at the beginning of the year, and just a month later the artist – who’s previously created merch for everyone from NOFX to Bad Religion to Pearl Jam – has the first big event planned for his burgeoning brand.
“The whole thing is overwhelming,” Lombardi says. “It’s like you work and work and work and work and then you get a chance to show everyone what you’ve been working on. It’s a great feeling to see the fruit of your labor. It’s so rad to see it evolve in a sense. It’s about sticking it out and following that dream.”
Beyond the music and artwork, the Shindig will also serve as the first time and place the public will be able to buy Lombardi’s collaboration with the San Clemente Skate Coalition and the sock kingpins at Stance. Although teaming up with Hobie, the coalition, and Stance may be the first publicized partnership for Gritty Arts, it likely won’t be the last. Taking a page out of his skateboard art background, the artist also known simply as Grit is down to work on a wide range of projects with various companies in the future, as long as they’re something he’s interested in.
“This is exactly what I wanted to do,” Lombardi says. “I never wanted to make it all about me. It’s so much fun to collaborate with people. Working with the Skate Coalition and getting that skate park built, and then Stance jumping in, it’s about everybody as a whole. It’s not about being selfish, it’s about bringing together the arts, the community, and the industry.”
Of course, Lombardi’s work with the San Clemente Skate Coalition is about much more than just creating a monstrous pair of socks to raise funds. That’s not to say future projects will all have to be as community-minded, but the lifelong skateboarder is all about making sure his two young sons have access to top-notch skateparks in their hometown.
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“[The Skate Coalition] is the biggest project that I’ve ever been a part of,” Lombardi says. “It’s for the community, and it’s going to be there forever. I’m just super grateful and appreciative that I was asked to be a part of it. It’s been unreal for me, because my children now are old enough to understand what I’m working on and what I’m doing. It trips them out to see my graphics on the shirts and the signs, so instilling those values in them has been a super rad part of it.”
After all, beyond passing down the importance of community to his offspring, the punk rock aficionado loves the historic surfing and skating culture of San Clemente. Even if he’s no longer designing boards for brands like Baker and Deathwish, Lombardi still sees how much potential the beachside city has for skaters, and he knows he can make a difference.
“It’s all about the community in San Clemente,” Lombardi says. “This is where it’s all happening, and it’s like the stars all aligned for this one. It’s going to be a great night for everyone.”
For more info on the Gritty Arts Shindig, check out our calendar pick for the event.