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Video: Skate it or hang it? That is the question.

Skateboard art celebrates the beauty of Richmond.

What comes to your mind when you think of skateboard deck art? street culture? rebellious spirit? or provocative expression?

Originated from street culture, skateboard deck art has developed into a cultural phenomenon over the years as a means of self-expression.

While street artists often channel rebellion and creativity into skateboard art, not all skateboard designs are rebelling. In some cases, they are cute, optimistic and peaceful. Take a look at John D. Rosenthal’s skateboard paintings.

His new exhibition - “How to Build A Skateboard” – presented by Richmond Art Gallery -- is currently showing at Richmond City Hall Galleria until August 15. 

This Steveston artist is a longboard painter and a surfer of streets and waves. As a proud Richmondite, he translates scenic landscapes in Richmond and Steveston into vibrant graphics that give unique characters to these longboards.

His paintings embrace a sense of freedom that resemble the expressive style of street art, breathing creativity and life onto blank surfaces through self-expression.

“I'm always observing my surroundings,” said Rosenthal. “When I walk around Steveston and different areas in Richmond, I feel the need to paint and show how much I appreciate it.”

Beyond expressing his love for Richmond, Rosenthal hopes to bring hope and positivity through art.

“There is nowhere where we cannot go…May we live in hope so that others may also find hope,” he noted.

“Rosenthal’s work is a very important reminder of possibilities,” said Maria Filipina Palad, speaking on behalf of the Richmond Art Gallery. “His sense of optimism is brought out in his work.” 

At a time when fear, uncertainty, and hopelessness have become a regular part of our daily conversations, Rosenthal’s work turns our attention towards innocence, quiet, and the celebration of the everyday, Palad added.