A&E » Visual Arts

Art on deck



Artists have been asked to paint on all manner of objects: violins, cows, dinner plates. While the relationship between those "canvases" and their makers seems tenuous, there is some suggestive crossover between the subcultural worlds of artists and skateboarders.

Both, in the vernacular, tend to "fight the power" of traditional consumer values and define personal achievement outside the 9-to-5 matrix. The second installment of Sk8 or Die at Young Blood Gallery proves that despite antisocial tendencies on both sides, the two worlds play nicely together.

The 60 artists in this year's exhibit of painted skateboards hail from New York, San Francisco and Minnesota, but also feature a fair number of local alterna-art luminaries like Eric Gillyard, R. Land, Beth Moon, Matt Haffner, Cooper Sanchez and graffiti artist Born, whose board comes with a clever adhesion of the graffiti artist's avocational touchstone: a can of Krylon paint.

Some of those artists riff on a familiar style, like prolific local graffiti artist Dr. Blade adapting his familiar German expressionist crow to the skateboard's tear drop shape. Others see an opportunity to freestyle, like photographer Stevie Brown's homage to two movies featuring skating protagonists, Back to the Future and Gleaming the Cube. Brown ironically erects actors Michael J. Fox and Christian Slater as skating's godheads, ornamenting their portraits in the style of urban murals and memorials.

Several of the artists reference a lowbrow desire to take embellishment and memorializing over the top into kitsch. Shana Wood's board of felt roses tied with black ribbon memorializes the gentrifying corridor of Memorial Avenue, and UrbanMedium offers ironic props to one of the '80s most iconic profiles, Mr. "I Pity the Fool" T.

An artist known for her lovely lacework necklaces, Laura Bell has invested her ropey strands with a new gooey, intestinal component. And Ben Fain's trippy board has been ornamented with a dizzying array of photographic iconography, from gold watches to erect penises, like an airbrushed van mural on mescaline.

Sk8 or Die II runs through Oct. 30 at Young Blood Gallery, 629 Glenwood Ave. Thurs., 2-7 p.m.; Fri.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 404-627-0393. www.youngbloodgallery.com.

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