What do you get when you ask 50 artists to all design a piece of art on the same unique canvas? What you get is Projekt 50/50, a well received art show produced by Dave Kaule and friends. What makes the show unique is the use of seemingly everyday items as a canvas, like toilet seats, which are then transformed it into a work of art. It began when he tasked 50 artists to do whatever they like to a skateboard deck – paint it, carve it, spray paint it – whatever they were inspired to do. The result was an art show featuring an eclectic array of artistic styles with one unifying theme. After a brief hiatus from producing the show, Projekt 50/50 is back on April 19th at Belevedere’s with “Heads Will Roll”. This time the focus is mannequin heads. We had a chance to ask Dave about the show’s history to get you pumped to check the newest one out.
Laney Boggs: How did you come up with the concept behind Projekt 50/50?
Dave Kaule: I used to own Triad Skateboards in the early 2000s and we used to do skateboard demos locally and in the surrounding states of New York, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. We always had great turn outs and fun times. Due to internal issues with Triad I eventually let that dissolve and it was about two years later I had the itch to get into another project. I had been getting back into art and wanted to do something skate related. That is how Projekt 50/50 was born, with the first show being skateboards.
LB: How many have you done in the past?
DK: All in all I think this will be the 8th show. The original show was at Mr. Smalls. We have had multiple shows at the old Firehouse in the strip, OTB Bicycle Cafe in the South Side and we did a collab show with Yinzerparty at Brillobox. I am really stoked that this time we are at Belvedere’s.
LB: How do you chose the medium for each 50/50?
DK:There is no real set in stone formula as to how we chose the medium. I originally just wanted to do skateboards, make it an annual event, and that’s it. It wasn’t until TJ Baker came aboard and suggested toilet seats. At first I thought was just gonna be a small event and I was completely wrong “All Crapped Out” was our biggest and best turn out. That is when Allie Contreras joined us to kick off “Steal Wheels” (Hubcaps) show. Mike at OTB Bicycle Cafe loved the event and really wanted to do one at his place so we did bicycle seats in the summer and then skulls for Halloween there.
LB: Why did you decide to do another 50/50 after the hiatus?
DK: I have wanted to do another 50/50 for quite some time but Allie, Tj and myself have a lot going on its just been tough to get everyone together on same page. There are two reasons I decided to get the ball rolling again. First being that I have been working closely with Vince Masi on his projects Grand Scheme and Down N’ Derby. His diligence has been extremely motivational. Second at the beginning of February I had the opportunity to work with Kara Zuzu a little on her solo art show at Remedy and seeing all of her artwork for the show and past work lit a fire under my ass.
LB: What are some of your favorite pieces from past 50/50s?
DK: I liked so many different pieces people go all out. I would have to say Jeff Justus with his laser etched skateboard and toilet seat are up there. TJ Baker’s toilet seat for “All Crapped Out” was a screen printed picture of Bill Murray on brushed aluminum and light up lexan seat. There are so many great ideas that come out of these shows.
So there you have it folks, you never know what to expect at a Projekt 50/50 show, so you better attend to find out. Get down to Belevedere’s on April 19th from 9pm-2am. It’s $10 to get in, and DJ Hank D and Jx4 will be on the turntables. BONUS! PGH Taco Truck is setting up a taco booth inside for your snacking pleasure.