“Neon Daze & Winter Waves” at New Downtown Gallery, CES Contemporary

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NeonDaze7 CES Contemporary, originally based in Laguna Beach, has  just opened its doors in the Downtown Arts District. Guests of the LA Art Show who took the CARTWHEEL Mural Tour in January got a lucky sneak peek at the gallery before they opened.  “Neon Daze & Winter Waves,” is a special collection of boards on view through February 22, 2014, featuring the craft and skill of Corey Smith and Mike Parillo.

Snowboarders who make their own boards with their own hands, brains and tools, and then ride them in multiple feet of powder, bear witness to an intangible connectivity of sport. Perhaps it’s somewhat like a chef who exhibits the self-reliance and patience to create a garden-to-table meal; but as someone who hangs out more often on mountains than in kitchens, I’m incredibly in awe of the hand-built, learn-as-you-go, ultra-creative process that Corey Smith exhibits with his Spring Break Snowboards. Having joined forces with the painterly strength of Mike Parillo for “Neon Daze & Winter Waves,” on view at CES Contemporary, the fruits of their combined labor is all the more beautiful.

I love the boards’ purity, their hand-made quality, and the fact that they’re more than just “things.” Isn’t that the connection you’d want with the piece of wood that’s carrying you over steep snowy pitches on powder-caked mountains? Smith and Parillo took this idea of making conceptual, hand-made, hand-painted snowboards to their dream list of snowboarders, explains Alex Hillinger of Asymbol Gallery of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which produced the “Neon Daze” collection. The dream list includes snowboarders, surfers, and artists who were prompted with an imaginary scenario: it’s a powder day outside and they don’t have anything to ride except whatever wood they can find in their garage. Forget resin, metal edges or wax. Smith and Parillo collected the concepts from Adam Haynes, Travis Rice, Gerry Lopez, Todd Glaser, and more, and built the boards in Corey’s Truckee, Calif. backyard. Parillo painted them in his L.A. studio. They had an on-snow run at British Columbia’s Baldface Lodge, which you can tell from a close look at Haynes’ gorgeous “Pillow Dreams” board.

The showcase of dream boards will likely only be shown at CES (owner Carl E. Smith is a longtime friend of the artists), unless it takes a side trip to Japan before the one-of-a-kind boards go to the art collectors who purchased them.

Photos by Lauren Over

Neon Daze & Winter Waves,”
Through February 22, 2014
CES Contemporary
711 Mateo St.,
Los Angeles, CA 90021

NeonDaze1 Guest curator Alex Hillinger, artist Mike Parillo, and CES Contemporary Director Carl E. Smith



Mike Parillo’s hands after 100 hour work weeks!






Board detail.


Board detail.

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