This Sunday is the opening party to the 4th installment of The CVAS Art Space inside Epidemic Skateboard Shop.  The show will feature the latest works from two up-and-coming artists in the Coachella Valley, Aaron Hansen and Rick Rodriguez.

Over the past couple of months we’ve blogged about The CVAS Art Space; the artists, the events, the live music, the crowd, but what we have yet to highlight are the people behind the scenes who really make it all happen.  Glen Coy (who recently got engaged to Ashley Busenius (congratulations!!)) has been the owner and operator of Epidemic Skateboard Shop for over 10 years.  After moving into their new shop location in Palm Desert about a year ago, Glen and Ashley proposed to us the idea of having an art space dedicated to the local art community of the Coachella Valley.  The idea sounded fantastic for both parties so we hit the ground running and been making history ever since. 

Glen and Ashley are a productive powerhouse, truly invested in the community, actively doing their part to plant the seeds for a more creative and cultured life here in the Coachella Valley.  So, without further ado, I present to you…. Ashley & Glen of Epidemic…. 

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Epidemic Skateboard Shop in Palm Desert

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INTERVIEW: Glen & Ashley of Epidemic

on the shop, the art space and what is next

conducted and written by Sarah Scheideman of The Coachella Valley Art Scene

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Sarah of The CVAS: Epidemic Skateboard Shop has been in business for over 10 years.  That’s really outstanding!  We all are aware of your shop, and what you sell…but can you tell us a little bit about your personal interests?  Who are you as people?

Glen & Ashley of Epidemic: Epidemic is based around a group of people who have been pretty much raised in the shop. Epidemic has grown by the inspiration others have provided through the creativity and dedication they’ve expressed in skateboarding, music, art, etc, and therefore it may be said our interests lie in those areas. Staying active physically and mentally is a big deal for us, and we’re always striving to learn new things and come up with new ideas to better our shop and personal lives. The Coachella Valley has so much to offer in terms of inspiration, whether it be in its landscape, architecture, events or people; as we grow older we are learning how important it is to appreciate the resources at our fingertips.

 The CVAS: As shop owners, what is your business plan?  Where do you want to see your shop in 5 years?

Glen & Ashley of Epidemic: We’re almost at the one year mark of occupying our new Palm Desert location. Although we didn’t expand in size in the move, we’ve become far more accessible to the residents of the Coachella Valley. Before we were very Cat City oriented, which wasn’t a bad thing, but with the demise of other skate shops in the desert, we found it important to be more centrally located for the skaters of the valley. This past year has made us realize how big this desert actually is, and how much opportunity there is to grow in all kinds of directions.

We like to keep the shop locally oriented as much as possible. To us this means, supporting members of the community through sponsorship and getting the community involved by hosting events. As a core skate shop, it’s pretty much a requisite to have a team of riders, and Epidemic has claim to some of the topmost talent in the desert (stay tuned for our video premier, set for early fall!) In addition to the shop team, we also support local musical talent, like Slipping Into Darkness and DJ Alf Alpha… and as you can see by this interview, we also support local visual artists.

As far as future plans go, we’d like to continue what we’re doing by staying to true to our personal standards, carrying quality product, and staying relevant within the community. Hopefully this will pay off, and we’ll be able to expand Epidemic into another location. Our goal is to have a shop in Palm Springs within the next five years, so that we may cater to both the eastern and western residents of the Coachella Valley.

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Epidemic Skateboard Shop in Palm Desert

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The CVAS: You converted a wall inside your retail store that could have been used for sellable merchandise, but instead you took the chance at making into an art gallery space dedicating it to local artists and The CVAS.  What made you believe that this was a good idea and how has it benefited/effected Epidemic Skateboard Shop?

Glen & Ashley of Epidemic: Like we mentioned previously, it’s important for us to have a tie to the local community. We know a lot of talented people in the Coachella Valley, many who have/had not gotten the recognition they deserve(d). Having a space to introduce these artists to the public, showcase their work and potentially sell it seemed like a good idea. We’ve had a really positive experience with the gallery being here. It adds an additional point of interest to our store, giving us more depth. We’ve also gained a larger customer base through our art openings. People who usually wouldn’t step foot in a skate shop come to the shows, but also see that we have more to sell than just skateboards; we carry unique brands and products that aren’t available elsewhere in the Coachella Valley.

 The CVAS: What excites you about The CVAS Art Space?

Glen & Ashley of Epidemic:  We like the idea of being able to bring local talent to the attention of the public. We have the ability to reach a large and diverse audience, and being able to give someone the opportunity to show this audience what they have is pretty exciting.

 The CVAS: Who has been featured in the CVAS Art Space and what is their relationship to the community and/or Epidemic Skateboard Shop?

Glen & Ashley of Epidemic: Our first featured artist was Kylie Knight. We’ve been a fan of hers for quite some time, and have quite a few of her works in our private collection. Kylie’s face seems to pop up at any art or music related event going on in the desert, and she has created a strong presence within the community of young local artists. Her work is energetic, honest and raw and emanates desert vibes. We had been wanting to do some sort of collaboration for quite some time, and the creation of the CVAS Art Space seemed like the perfect time to do so.

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Kylie Knight, artist

Kylie Knight, artist

Kylie Knight, artist

Kylie Knight, artist

Kylie Knight, artist

Kylie Knight, artist

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We next featured Ron Cameron, a local ex-pro skateboarder. We had done work with Ron in the past via board graphics, logos, and apparel. He has a deep history in the skateboard world, including the involvement of starting the brands BlockHead and RVCA. We felt that his story was an important one for people to know, and was an obvious choice for the CVAS Art Space.

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Ron Cameron, artist

Ron Cameron, artist

Ron Cameron, artist

Ron Cameron, artist

Ron Cameron, artist

Ron Cameron, artist

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Robert Medina was our last featured artist. He has been coming in to the shop for years and is good friends with our employees. We knew he had talent, but when it came time for him to show us his works we were blown away. The amount of creativity and detail he spends on each piece is astounding. Robert was well known for his talents at the local college where he was studying fine art ,and at the Ace Hotel where he has made the majority of their hand lettered signs. We felt this was not enough, this guy deserved a TONE more credit and were more than eager to have his works featured in the gallery.

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Robert Medina, artist

Robert Medina, artist

Robert Medina, artist

Robert Medina, artist

Robert Medina's art show

Robert Medina’s art show

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The CVAS: To clarify, when having a solo show at The CVAS Art Space this doesn’t just mean that you hang your art and in 3 months you’re outta there….you really help develop the artist.  Can you break down how you have collaborated with each artist in making their work stretch beyond the white walls?

Glen & Ashley of Epidemic: Being in the skateboard/clothing industry we see a lot of art translated onto everyday objects. Not only does this make the product more aesthetic, but is also a way of branding. For each artist we’ve collaborated to make merchandise so that their artwork is accessible to those who may not have the funds to buy an original piece and also to promote the artist. We generally choose a piece of art that we feel really represents the artist’s personal style.

In the past we’ve collaborated with the artists to make shirts and decks. We also had the privilege of Ron Cameron creating a permanent installation in the shop of a mural featuring his signature eyeballs.

 The CVAS:  Who is next up to be the featured artist(s) at the CVAS art space? 

Glen & Ashley of Epidemic: We’re proud to present the work of Aarron Hanson and Rick Rodriguez.

 The CVAS: How did you guys choose these two artist?  How does their art appeal/speak/relate to your audience?

Glen & Ashley of Epidemic:  Aaron and Rick have actually been the ones who’ve done the teeshirt printing for our previous artist collaborations, and a lot of our other Epidemic shirts. While picking up product at Aaron’s house/workspace/studio we noticed a lot of bits and pieces of his personal art work and were immediately impressed. Aaron and Rick started making works based on their instagram posts and selling them at Birba and The Coachella Valley Art Scene’s monthly pop-up art show, Art of Kraft. These pieces caught our eye, and we saw the potential for them to grow into something even bigger. After some brainstorming and meetings with The Coachella Valley Art Scene, we decided they were the perfect fit for our latest art show.

We find Aaron and Rick’s work appealing because of its innovative nature. There aren’t too many people out there making artworks out of photos they’ve taken and manipulated with just their phones. Not only that, but the theme of their works is centred around desert life, something that resonates strongly with us.

Epidemic Skateboard Shop in Palm Desert, CA
 The CVAS:  This Sunday, “There’s No Place Like Home,” DJ Alf Alpha will be there to provide music and set the vibe.  What is your relationship with him?  How does he relate to the artists and attendees? 

Glen & Ashley of Epidemic:  Alf Alpha is one of the musical talents Epidemic sponsors, and we’ve been good friends with him for quite some time. We’ve gotten to know him through our collaborations with The Coachella Valley Art Scene and his presence in the local skate community. He’s come along with us on skate trips and he’s provided music for our events on many an occasion.

Like the artists, AlfAlpha is a local talent. His music is relevant and his presence is strong in the Coachella Valley. Anyone in the desert with a penchant for partying knows who he is.

 The CVAS:  In about 3-5 months this show will be over and something new will come in… what’s next?

Glen & Ashley of Epidemic:  Our next show is going to be a collaborative photography show where anyone and everyone is encouraged to join. The theme of works will be centered around desert life – people, places, and things in the Coachella Valley. For more information check out coachellavalleycaptured.tumblr.com

coachella valley captured
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The CVAS:  How can we get information on this show, upcoming shows, shop updates and buy this stuff online to support?

store location:  72363 HWY 111 Suite #A2 Palm Desert, CA

hours: 10am – 7:00pm

phone: 1 (760) 346 – 4760

website/blog/online store: www.epidemicskateboardshop.com

facebook: www.facebook.com/epidemicskate

twitter/instagram: @epidemicskate

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Epidemic Skateboard Shop in Palm Desert, CA

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Looking forward to seeing you guys at the show this Sunday!… 

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