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Halfpipes and skate decks on board at art reception

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Art enthusiasts and skateboarders came together Saturday at downtown’s A Bitchin’ Space Gallery for a night of skating, dance music spun by DJ Chris Martinez and, of course, art.

The show, "Boards and Graphics," ran from Friday through Sunday and hosted its reception last night as part of the Second Saturday Art Walk.

Curator of the show, gallery owner and skateboarder Gale Hart invited more than 30 artists from around California to participate in hand-painting skate decks, most of them created by Sacramento-based Legend skateboards.

"It’s really interesting to see the different styles and techniques via the skateboard as a canvas," said Mike Edwards, who attended Saturday’s reception.

The artists were left to their own discretion and could choose their own themes. Artist Ron Peetz painted male and female genitalia on his decks, while Ianna Frisby embellished her colorful peacock-themed board with sparkling rhinestones. Other themes ran the gamut from steak to hop scotch to heartbreak.

"Skateboard culture is open to many different styles, and some have transcended into pure art that is NOT usable. I found this the opportunity to do other things on a board," said Frisby, an artist from Sacramento.

Frisby also helped artist Eddie Stein build a spiral display of Stein’s board collection from the 1950s and 1960s in an installation with more than 25 retro boards from companies like Santa Cruz and Banzai.

John Soldano, another artist and skateboard collector, gave an exclusive glimpse into his private collection, with decks from the 1980s up to the present. The majority of Soldano’s boards were neon memories of the past couple decades, with glowing snakes and skeletons. His collection also featured several current boards designed by the clothing company Obey.

Hart took part in designing art for the exhibit as well, displaying three boards that she chopped up, reassembled and painted.

After checking out the decks, anyone who signed a waiver was invited to hop on the "Gnarly Nook," a halfpipe set up just steps away from the art, for $1 for every ten minutes on the ramp. The halfpipe itself is a work of art, painted by several of A Bitchin’ Space’s own artists.

Scion sponsored the evening, taking the opportunity to park its newest models in the front and back of the gallery, where company reps talked up vehicle specs and handed out Scion chapstick, light-up drink stirrers and CDs.

Sacramento-based Legend skateboards designed several boards specifically for sale at the event, including a "Natural Ice"-themed board and "Sacto Blue Ribbon," a local take on Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

Hart said she has no idea what’s up next for the gallery and its talented team of artists, but judging from the off-the-wall themes in the past like the first and second "Annual Circus Show" and this weekend’s excitement, it’s worth staying tuned.

For information about the gallery and artists who participated in "Graphics and Boards," visit abitchinspace.com.

All photos taken by Paula Aguirre

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