Visual Arts

"Hit the Deck" Show Brings Skateboard Art Back to First Friday in Downtown Phoenix

Artist Kevin Bates admits he was never much of a skate trickster. He may have ridden a board around during his high school days and hung out with grinders, but didn't pull off much in the way of epic kickflips or pole jams. Truth be told, he was more into skater art and culture than anything else.

"I never went all crazy with my board or nothing," Bates says. "I basically sucked, but I liked the whole scene and I loved all the artwork that was on the decks." This fervent lifelong affinity for skater culture is one of the reasons why the 24-year-old painter decided to organize "Hit the Deck," an exhibition that opens Friday, July 5, at the Phoenix Art Spaces.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.