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Girl Boys' Art Girls
Would opens at the Three Gallery/Studio in San Pedro.
BY ELANA ROSTON

“That’s My Girl”: Some of the painted Girl Skateboards logo dolls that will be on sale
Would
Details: Opens August 23, 6-9 p.m. and runs through Sept. 28. 310-514-0285
Where: Three Gallery/Studio, 309 W. Seventh St., San Pedro
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Luge Deluge
The Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search takes place on August 24-25.

Girl Skateboards, the Torrance-based company known both for its superior skate team and for its innovative videos, board graphics and print ads, has remained focused on artistry and originality since its founding in 1993 by professional skateboarder Rick Howard and skateboarding filmmaker Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), who still directs the company's videos. "I think Girl is unique as a skateboard company in that they really foster their art," says Rob Abeyta Jr., a member of the creative team collectively called the Girl Skateboard Art Dump, all of whose members skate. "Put it this way: Girl's got six people in its art department and two in the sales department," notes designer Tony Larson. "The art thing is something they totally embrace." Because the company is endorsed by the best riders, adds designer Michael Leon, the onus of selling the boards doesn't depend on the artists, allowing them to exercise a lot of artistic freedom.

For the upcoming local exhibition Would, creative director Andy Jenkins, a legendary skateboard graphic designer who codeveloped such youth culture mags as Homeboy and the Sassy supplement Dirt, came up with the template of an 11-inch wooden figurine of the Girl logo. He and Abeyta, Larson, Jenkins, Leon, fellow creative team member Andy Mueller and special guests including Bob Kronbauer, who runs the company's Crail Tap Web site, hand-painted a total of 75 wooden girls to be sold for $100 each at Three Gallery/Studio this Friday. The original 10 or so painted dolls were photographed and became board graphics. These figurines will be sold and replaced with a Polaroid of the sculpture and its new owner, which will hang throughout the run of the show. Proceeds support further art projects; travel to exhibitions, such as the upcoming one in Paris; and the artist-owned and -run Three Gallery. Co-owner Edith Abeyta, Rob's sister, curated the show.

Though still a marketing ploy, the dolls more closely resemble the artist's more personal work. "This is the closest thing I've done to the paintings I sell at galleries," says Rob Abeyta. Though required to incorporate the endorsing skaters' names, Abeyta applied the same process -- varnishes, oils, gouaches and a similar color palette -- that he uses on his canvas paintings. The concept of painting onto wood cutouts and then photographing them made them viable as a skateboard graphic -- a Jenkins vision that, as usually happens, the team sees the genius of in retrospect. "It frees us up, because our canvas is already the logo, so we don't even have to think about it -- there are no constraints, you can just go nuts with it and do whatever you like," says Larson. The project characterizes the Girl Skateboards ethos. "It's more personal. There's more hand attention. It's more individual," Abeyta explains. Leon concurs: "That's why Girl Skateboards doesn't look like any other skate company."

| originally published: August 22, 2002

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