Arts and Culture

See Skate Art and Outsiders at PUSH POP KICK in Louisville

Art is elemental to skateboarding. It's the only sport where artwork comes as part of the essential equipment. Add the designated art-space on every skateboard deck to a culture with no teams and a bunch of hot-dogging outcasts with a penchant for self-abuse, and you get an aesthetic that tends toward self-expressive weirdness a little more than, oh, say lacrosse.

Dona Laurita Gallery's PUSH POP KICK exhibition has been showcasing and celebrating the world of skate art since early June with decks by artists like Jimbo Phillips and Winston Tseng, staples of the skate graphics world; this month, starting tomorrow, the show widens its scope. "I chose contemporary artists who I felt were on the cusp of doing graphic or conceptual work, and basically challenged them to do something a little different," says show curator Mark Bueno, an artist himself who fell into the curator gig after pitching Laurita a show of his own. "She liked some of my skateboard art, and she'd always wanted to do a skateboard show. I said I knew a lot of people in the industry. Within a week I had everything locked down."

Bueno's seat-of-the-pants, ongoing curation might have something to do with the evolving delivery — and it's taken the show in interesting directions, at one point finding Bueno combing through Etsy listings. "I found some fantastic work that was accessible and skate-related. These people are makers," says Bueno. "They're not doing it to make a name for themselves. They're doing it for the love."

The show itself will feature traditional deck art aplenty, but no shortage of work from further afield. "It's a pretty open concept," says Bueno. Local artist Abby Bennett, for example, wallpapered the face of the deck (the side you'd put your feet on) and attached three identical soap molds of houses. "They smell fantastic," says Bueno. "Not sure if that's part of the concept or not." Meanwhile, artist Bryan Andrews incorporated an uncut skateboard — basically a blank piece of wood that needs to be shaped — into a wall-mounted 3D landscape.

Ultimately, Bueno wants the show to be fun. "There's a lot of great artists out there doing conceptual work with very important issues," he says. "I am not that guy."

PUSH POP KICK part 2 opens at Dona Laurita Gallery tomorrow, July 3, from 6 - 9 p.m. and continues through August; from there the show goes on the road at Firehouse Art Center in Longmont in September and Valkarie in Belmar in November.