Skate This Art Local Artists Cut Loose 2009: Travis Jensen

Skate This Art Local artists cut loose

Travis Jensen If you’re into skateboard art, a.k.a.
“skart,” then check out the “Skate This Art” group show that opened on Monday at Market Street Gallery in San Francisco. The show consists of roughly 200 hand-painted skateboard decks by more than 100 local artists. You’re probably thinking, “Great, another skateboard-themed group art show – whoopee.” But what sets this show apart from other similarly themed shows is that half the proceeds are being donated to RoadDawgz, a San Francisco youth homeless drop-in center that helps participants build community and develop job and life skills through artistic activities. The idea for “Skate this Art” came in 2007 when show curator Randall John discovered that the San Francisco Police Department was sitting on a surplus of skateboards they had confiscated from local shredders. “I asked SFPD if they would donate some of the confiscated boards to a local charity where they would be painted on and used as motivational devices to create art,” said 54-year-old John, a former punk rock musician who picked up skating in the early-1980s as a way to get around the city, “but they said ‘no dice.’ ” John said that skateboards confiscated by SFPD are sold on auction by a third-party vendor, with a cut of the proceeds going back into the city’s general fund. He adds that in 2006, the SFPD commissioned local artist Paul Fresina to create an art piece using some of the confiscated boards, which now hangs virtually unseen in the back of the evidence room at the Hall of Justice. After collecting more than 100 used skateboard decks through ads he had placed on Craigslist, John teamed up with friend and local artist Richard L. Perri, 65, and came up with the idea to ask various artists to paint on the boards and sell them on auction, with proceeds going to a local charity and the artists. “The first show in 2007 was a smashing success,” John said. “We raised about $1,500 and sold nearly half the pieces in the show.” There wasn’t a show in 2008 since both John and Perri were traveling overseas at the time. John said he hopes to raise $5,000 at Friday’s reception and auction event. “We have a lot of important Bay Area artists pitching in,” he said about the show’s lineup, which includes works by both him and Perri, Jeremy Fish, Jason Norelli, Terry Marashlian, Randall Sexton, Brandon Swinehart, Matthew J. Derrick, Anna-Lisa van der Valk and many others.
“We encouraged the artists to go nuts on the boards,” John said, “so the pieces in the show are of all different mediums: sculpture, collage, photo and deconstruction, and come in all different shapes and sizes – one is over 12 feet long.” All the boards in the show will be available at Friday’s auction.

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