“Society kind of pushes skateboarding aside and says, ‘That’s what kids do,’” Vaught said. “I really wanted to get it out that people who skate aren’t just punks but they grow up to be individuals that are helpful. We grow up and we still skate but we have our 9-to-5 jobs, too.”
Vaught, a Midtown resident, said he was tired of hearing the term “skater punk” being tossed around in business meetings. This was his initial spark of inspiration to curate “Skate it or Hang it,” a new art exhibition at the Museum of Design Atlanta in Midtown.
“I just hear the term [‘skater punks’] getting thrown around with people that I work with, and it started to get to me,” Vaught, who is principal-in-charge of SkyDesign, an industrial design company, said. “There’s football-playing punks and real estate punks. There’s punks in everything, not just skateboarding.”
The exhibit portrays the broad range of styles seen in skateboard art and traces the evolution of skate graphics from the 1970s to now.
Vaught is aiming to pay respect to the evolution of skateboard art. He said the industry clearly shifted from individuals to corporations.
“When you go into that gallery, you can really see there was a technology change in the mid-90s,” Vaught said. “It changed the way art developed.”
To choose the arts for the exhibit, Vaught sought the most influential people he could find. And to cater to the “laymen” audience or those who are not “skate geeks,” he found people with distinctive styles.
“It can really start to be overwhelming,” he said. “I didn’t want to create a gray area where people get confused.”
“Skate it or Hang it” opened Saturday, runs through Sept. 16 and features work from six artists. Two are Atlanta natives, Charlie Owens and Alex Brewer.
Brewer, 33, who grew up in Candler Park, goes by “Hense” and is actually a graffiti artist. Brewer said skateboarding and graffiti almost go hand-in-hand.
Brewer’s art is essentially mixed media on wood panels and he mostly uses latex paint with aerosol, and he is currently into bright “unapologetic” colors.
“The rebellious nature was something I was drawn to when I was really young,” Brewer said.
Additionally, one of Vaught’s goals as curator of the exhibit is to invoke youthful nostalgia, and give them an opportunity to reminisce and “feel like they are 16 again.”
“Part of this was going back and finding those boards that I did skate, and holding it in my hands,” Vaught said. “There’s an emotional response because it takes you back. You know you can’t be a kid again but you can feel like it.”
If you go
o What: “Skate it or Hang it” exhibit.
o Where: Museum of Design Atlanta, 1315 Peachtree St., Midtown
o When: Today through Sept. 16
o Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children, $8 for seniors, military and educators, free for members and children under 5.
o Information: (404) 979-6455 or www.museumofdesign.org.