“Each skater has their own style. They don’t just learn and do tricks; they make the tricks their own. I’d tried to skate a few times as a teenager but could never actually get a board off the ground, aka, pop a board,” said St. Louis artist Kat Kissick. “But my art – my style – is generally known for bright colors, strong lines, and at times, a bold graphic quality. Putting my art on a deck – and popping the board that way – is really the only way I could make a deck my own.” Come by SPACE this Friday night to get an eyeful of Kat Kissick’s tricks: playful graphics and rainbows of vibrant colors on skateboard decks.

She’s a natural, with no formal training beyond her high school art classes. Her mature work was inspired by a health scare. “In 2013, I was diagnosed with a grapefruit-sized fibroid tumor; the anxiety of impending surgery compelled me to make up a ridiculous story about this tumor and how it came to be, and that’s when I picked up my pencils again,” Kat said. “My first show ever was “A Fine How Do You Do”, exhibited at SOHA Studio and Gallery in December 2013, and I haven’t stopped since.”

She painted her first deck as a gift to her skateboarding boyfriend, and she was hooked. “Finding a way to tell a story on an unusual canvas was the challenge I’d been looking for and didn’t even realize it,” she said. Kat prefers painting on wood over canvas, so the decks are the perfect vehicle for her paints.

The decks feature whimsical scenes that incorporate Kat’s explorations of color and the natural world. “Color inspires me – it’s why I have to be surrounded by it at all times so I can see how colors play off one another. As much as I dislike the outdoors (hey, I grew up on a farm in Indiana, so I’ve had my share) I have to say nature inspires me…especially the not-so-beautiful things, but I like seeing patterns and symmetry in leaves and wings and that sort of thing. Weird things, absurd things, ugly things…I like interesting things above all, beautiful or not.”

Pop the Board! Opens this Friday, August 7, 2015, with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at SPACE Architecture + Design, 4168 Manchester Avenue, St. Louis, MO  63110. Kat’s bringing delicious Four Hands Beer for your drinking enjoyment, and her decks will be on sale for $150 each. (Cash, credit card and PayPal accepted.) Check out more of her work on Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, and her website. See you Friday!