Erin Foggoa shows one of the derby girls from her new 2012 calendar

Artist has her designs on derby

Vernon's Erin Foggoa turns her passion for roller derby into a calendar and art fundraiser for Teen Junction.

She’s known as hard-hitter Lucy Dynamite on the roller derby track, but behind the painted black eyes and killer moves, Erin Foggoa is a mother and an artist who is combining her talents to help teens in need.

Foggoa has just designed a new 2012 calendar featuring 12 B.C. Interior derby girls, and is hosting an art exhibition of her work at Vernon’s newest arts venue, The Hub.

The show, entitled, Derby Girls: Bumps, Bruises and Other Bad Behaviour, takes place Saturday, with proceeds from calendar sales going to Teen Junction.

“I looked at different options on who to do this for and Teen Junction jumped out. Their programs help keep teens occupied and help in building self-esteem,” said Foggoa, adding the Vernon-based centre offers preventative programs instead of just lip service to youth.

One of four studio artists at The Hub, Foggoa also rolls with Armstrong roller derby team the Candy Strykers, part of the Okanagan-Shuswap Roller Derby Association.

“I started when my two-year-old daughter Molly was five months old,” said Foggoa, who joined not only for the exercise, but for the camaraderie.

Foggoa soon found that derby was more than donning skates and knocking people out of the way, it was a culture in itself, one built around female sportsmanship, but with a broad audience.

“In Canada, derby is quite young. In some places, especially the U.S., derby gets better attendance than football,” she said. “What I am appreciating is showing people who think roller derby is about girls in fishnets fighting on skates that it is a real sport. I’ve had people say ‘I play rugby and this is even harder.’”

A graphic artist by trade, Foggoa has recently transformed her passion for derby into her work. She has just started a design company called Black Sheep Sk8, and now makes T-shirts, shorts, and something she calls moustache panties.

“Moustaches are part of roller derby culture. Girls often get moustaches tattooed on their fingers, and girls in roller derby often wear underpants over their tights, so I’ve made them with glitter moustaches painted on them,” she explained.

Foggoa, who also writes a blog on her website under her old company name, Derby Love, says the calendar was a natural progression and a way to show the women behind the sport.

She photographed derby girls from all around the Okanagan, including one from Nelson, and took aspects of each of her subject’s personalities, incorporating them into her designs, which are made using graphic illustration and PhotoShop.

“I noticed the girls featured in derby come in all shapes and sizes. These women are so powerful and beautiful in their own right, but they are not the magazine image of beauty. They are tattooed and tough but sensual,” she said.

Foggoa has also made each image into a 36-by-36 canvas, which she will display at The Hub along with some of her other work.

“The Hub is a huge space,” she said. “The front room will be fun and funky with some of my stencil work and derby monsters. The calendars and moustache panties will also be sold there. The back will have the canvases,” she said. “The nice thing about having the show here in Vernon is if you want to see  roller derby, you have to go all the way to Armstrong (or Lumby.) This way, people can also see the softer side of the sport.”

Foggoa would eventually like to do a calendar on Canadian and international derby girls and is planning to attend Las Vegas’ RollerCon convention in August. She is also showing her work at a roller derby store in Vancouver after her show at The Hub.

Derby Girls: Bumps, Bruises and Other Bad Behaviour, in support of Teen Junction, takes place Saturday from 7 to 11 p.m. at The Hub, 2910 30th Ave, beside the Vernon Towne Cinema.

 

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