As long as skateboards have been around, kids have been covering them in stickers and drawing on them with markers. Maybe that’s why a Chandler art show full of skate decks (the platform where your feet go) seems to strike a chord with all ages.
“People are excited about it. People have fond memories of skateboarding as kids, and it just kind of brings back that childhood joy we’d all like to tap back into,” says Eric Faulhaber, visual arts coordinator at Vision Gallery, where patrons dropping by this week have been eager to see the gallery’s next show.
“Full Deck: A Short History of Skate Art” opens Friday at Vision. An anthology of skate art from the 1960s to the present, the show includes almost 300 decks borrowed from pro skaters, skateboarding companies and artists across the country.
“(Skate art) graphics tend to be extremely vivid and extremely personal, and many of them have some strong social, political or economic component. (Skateboards) have always been a really good mode of self expression for the person using them,” says Faulhaber.
Among the decks, you’ll see the usual skulls, dragons and monsters, but there are also some unexpected faces: Johnny Cash, Sitting Bull, Batman and Hillary Clinton. Elmo, with his arm in a sling, the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, and a half-octopus pirate baby coddled by a mermaid mother also make appearances. On other boards, peaceful nature scenes recall vintage national parks posters.
“Full Deck” also includes a display of about 25 early wood and aluminum boards, circa 1960, and a 1920s or 1930s-era rudimentary skateboard prototype.
Lenders to the show include pro skaters Corey Duffel, Mark Gonzales, Obi Kaufman, John Lucero and Lance Mountain, and Skip Engblom, the Zephyr skate shop co-founder profiled in the film “Lords of Dogtown.”
The exhibition was curated at the Bedford Gallery at Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, Calif. It is traveling to museums, galleries and universities across North America.
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