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Skateboarding passion fuels unique art exhibit

By Ferre Dollar, CNN
updated 8:56 AM EDT, Fri July 13, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Skate it or Hang It exhibit features the evolution of skateboard art
  • Todd Vaught, 40, created the exhibit after an encounter at his local skateboard shop
  • The art show at the Museum of Design Atlanta runs through September 16

Atlanta (CNN) -- Todd Vaught has been skateboarding since he was 10 years old, yet he was caught off-guard by a question from the much younger salesman at his local skateboard shop.

"Are you going to skate this thing or hang it?" the salesman asked him.

"It sort of struck me as funny," said Vaught, 40, who works as a designer in Atlanta. "I asked the guy what he meant. The guy told me, 'Are you going to skate it or hang it on your wall? A lot of you old guys hang these up as artwork.' "

The conversation gave Vaught an idea: to create an art exhibit featuring more than 200 skateboard "decks" -- the board where the artwork is applied -- from eight artists.

"It is a study of the evolution of skateboard art through the actual art itself and the technology used to apply the art on the skateboard," he said.

Visitors to the Skate it or Hang It exhibit at the Museum of Design Atlanta can see how skateboard art has gone from simple line "tattoo" art to high-end illustrations and actual photography, and how the process is completed.

Vaught said the crowds coming to see the exhibit are from "all different walks of life," a reflection of the inclusive nature of the sport.

"Skateboarding is not white kids or black kids or Hispanic kids. It is everybody. ... Everybody can do it," he said. "You can go to a skate park and run into a guy 10 years older than me or 25 years younger, and that's what I love about it."

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