Last fall SF Weekly ran a story about a tres cool piece of skateboard art that hangs in the SFPD’s evidence room. When local artist Randall John read the piece and learned that police confiscate dozens of boards a year from kids who violate the city’s boarding ordinances, he figured he had to do something to set them free. (The boards, not the kids. Far as we know, the cops haven’t jailed anyone for grinding on stairway rails. Yet.)
So John dreamed up Skate This Art, an exhibition that runs through July 2 at Bluespace Gallery. The show features about 50 skateboard decks painted by young artists from San Francisco and L.A., many of whom put brush to board at Roaddawgz, a Tenderloin drop-in center for homeless youth.
Located in the basement of Hospitality House, Roaddawgz provides a space for budding artists, writers, and musicians to get their muse on. Skate This Art showcases their talent. The boards boast a dazzling variety of painted images, ranging from the saucy (a topless mermaid) to the sobering (an oversized bullet). One features stenciled words that could double as the exhibition’s motto: “Skateboarding Is Not a Crime.”
A silent auction of the boards will take place Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Bluespace. John hopes to use a portion of the proceeds to buy back skateboards confiscated by the cops; then he’ll offer them to kids who need a set of wheels or who want to start painting a board for next year’s show. “We’re just trying to make something good happen,” he says. That’s a trick as fly as a nollie flip. -- Martin Kuz