You may have heard of the Artavi Skateboard Collective when they rolled onto Blanshard Street last winter. They sell skate goods from legendary truck companies to top-quality and locally-pressed decks. They aren’t just a skateshop, however, and they’re quickly defining their own mold within our little city.
FROM SHOP TO COLLECTIVE
In the last few years especially, there has been a positive message circulating amongst Victoria residents in restaurants, supermarkets, retail stores and more. That message is “Support Local”. Artavi’s main focus is featuring everything local, from Canadian skate companies, including the Made-in-Canada Artavi Skateboard line, to alternative artwork from both established and emerging artists on Vancouver Island.
“Artavi was an idea sparked from the grassroots of skateboarding, art, and creativity at a community level,” commented Zac Fair, founder and owner. “Born as a skateboard company and clothing line entirely made in Canada, the collective came about with the mission to provide an avenue for local creativity to prosper. Artavi roughly translates to ‘art taking flight’, and by bringing in local, skater-owned brands, alongside featuring local artists for three week long exhibitions, we stay true to our roots.”
IT’S WRITTEN ON THE WALLS
Walking into the shop you’ll see colourful paintings by Adam Lloyd Cook and Natalia de Costa and landscape photography captured by Zac. These three artists are featured regularly and their pieces can be purchased on artavi.ca.
Artavi has been host to five art shows since their Grand Opening last November, and the 6th show opens tomorrow night at 7pm. “Woolen Armor” features nature pieces from local artist Alexa Gibbs and it will be on display until May 29th.
I’M WITH THE BAND
In addition to the skating and art scene, Artavi is working towards being THE location to pick up band merchandise. You can already purchase merch from bands like Brazen Bull, Couch Thieves, Downtown Mischief, Five Alarm Funk and Spaceboots at Artavi. If you can’t attend a show or you want to buy one more fan piece, you can do so on your own schedule (or during Artavi’s store hours).
Artavi also has a cafe where they serve freshly roasted 2% Jazz coffee. There’s a great hang out area inside, or an outdoor patio for the sunnier of days.
Sip some local coffee, listen to local music and purchase from local artists and manufacturers. You can’t get more “island life” than that.
There definitely isn’t a lack of inspiration when walking the streets of Victoria, and Zac has a few that he looks to.
“There are some really great brands born on Vancouver Island that I feel really reflect the community here, such as Sitka and Instrumental Skateboards. These companies help build a model to what kind of direction to take with Artavi. Besides companies, the thriving music scene is a true inspiration. Every performer that fills the sound of the streets or cafes with great tunes helps to create the good vibes we love in this city!”
“STOKED” FOR THE FUTURE
Over the next five years, Zac and his skateboarding pro team hope to benefit as many people as possible by providing a huge selection of top quality skateboard gear, and continuing to support as many ‘home-grown’ brands as possible.
“After spending last summer touring throughout BC throwing events, vending at festivals, and other promotional events, the plan is to continue with the wholesale distribution of Artavi, and spread the Made-in-Canada option to more people,” commented Zac. “Right now, plans are in the works to form a large online catalogue of products from various Canadian companies. [This] can, in-turn, lead to wholesale distribution partnerships that make it easier for other shops to support local brands by consolidating shipping.”
With a non-corporate approach, Artavi relies on word-of-mouth in the skateboard and art communities to spread their message.
“With an amazing amount of support from the skateboard community, it is truly fortunate to be able to remain as a grassroots collective.”
WHERE ON BLANSHARD?
Artavi is located at 1815 Blanshard Street between North Park St. and Caledonia on the bottom floor of the ‘Capitol Building’ (Red brick office building by the Save On Foods Memorial Centre). Parking is available right in front.
Shop in store, order by phone or online. Whatever you do, do it with “local” in mind!