a hundred stumps, shoveled loads of dirt, and smoothed cement
with a diamond grinder for weeks on end.
Risser had a vision to create a throwback, ’70s-style skateboard
park that was completely unique, a sculpture in itself.
The intricate design of the skate park certainly begs the question
of whether something like that could be considered a work of art.
As Risser says, “It is a handmade sculpture of the largest scale.”
Risser’s sensibilities as an artist and designer of intricate pack-aging
SCOTT SMALLIN TOM RISSER
wife, Daisy, in Waxhaw, North Carolina, started filling up with
“A few galleries tracked me down, and it turned into a hobby
that was getting out of hand,” he says. “After dealing with
multiple galleries, Daisy and I ended up opening our own gallery
in town, just for fun. We experimented with that for a long time,
until we gave it away to some folks who still operate it today.”
At first, the land that became Heartseed Gardens was so raw
that it took Risser two years just to build a road, a gate and a
workshop. It was 2012 before he built his first sculpture there,
and by the time the skate park was done, he had cleared at least
machines led him to abhor repeating designs. Realizing
what he was looking for would be next to impossible in a public
setting, he decided to build it himself.
Clockwise from top left: Aaron Felger, Robbie Taylor and Caleb Brown ride Whip Snake Park, the 13,000-square-foot concrete skate park designed
and built by Tom Risser. Opposite: Woodsy, created in 2017, echoes the tones of the pine straw and bark surrounding it at Heartseed Gardens.