For artists Josinah Makotoko and Ricardo Rodriguez, art and skateboarding go hand in hand.
Makotoko and Rodriguez are the newest participants in the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) artists-in-residence program at Artcite. They will be in residence until March 9.
"I find that the merging of both [art and skateboarding] is gonna be really really fun to show the community," Makotoko said, noting the art and imagery present on each skater's board.
"Each skateboarder has an individual style and as a community, you have to be so collaborative."
Makotoko says she's happy to be one of Artcite's artists in residence because of the "shift in balance" in her life after COVID-19 and having her daughter.
"I always submerge myself into art and skateboarding," she said. "Then after that, it's kind of like a nice awakening again and it like I feel a lot more like myself … I put art on the back burner just because of time.
"With my daughter, I like to do arts and crafts and spend so much time with that, so my practice kind of gets put aside, but now I'm just merging the two. So if I'm working on a painting, I give her a brush, I give her a sharpie, I give her whatever. And it might not be my plan, but you know, happy accidents."
Rodriguez says art is relatively new for him — he turned to photography for the first time while living in Montreal.
"So I for a long time kind of considered myself mainly to be an athlete. I never really considered myself to be an artist until about four years ago. I was driving down from Montreal with one of my friends and I took a picture of him and his girl …she was like, 'you know, Ricardo, you're an artist.'
Ricardo Rodriguez says he turned to boxing after the death of his dog Sunny. (Amy Dodge/CBC)
"That to me was like the biggest — like, like it lit my heart on fire because no one ever called me that."
Rodriguez says he always identified as an athlete, and despite having skated as a kid he got into other sports as a teenager and turned to boxing.
But when his dog Sunny died, he found he couldn't box anymore without thinking of that heartbreak.
"So during that time, my friend hit me up while I was here in Windsor and he was like, 'yo, let's just go skate.' I went skating and I saw the friendship that was supporting my emotional needs.
"And also, like, I had to be right there [mentally] because if you're not there, you're going to get hurt."
Both artists say they're excited for their new Artcite skating installation, as well as to bring the community into the downtown gallery.
"I want to be able to have people come in and skate and have fun during the winter because it's a little bit chilly and a little harder to skate right now," Rodriquez said.
"We did a little bit of building," Makotoko said of what they're doing to keep skating during the winter months. "Not to give too much away, we did some building indoors and then we are going to open it up to the community soon once we kind of get all the odds and ends smoothed out."