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AAU Students Bring Together Fine Art, The X Games, and a Charitable Cause

Academy of Art University students are quickly taught that there is a place for artists everywhere – even at the X Games. This year five Academy students will play a special artistic role at the famous sporting event, and all for a good cause. Steve Javiel, Josh Finken, Mark Elliot, Renata Gonzalez, and Scott Grabowski, all currently undergraduates or recent graduates of the University, will be painting skateboards at the X Games which will then be auctioned off for charity.

Painted Skateboards

A unique skateboard or a unique painting – either way you look at it, the five skateboards that will become canvases at the X Games are going to be extremely impressive pieces. The students come from diverse backgrounds sure to result in a range of interesting work. Josh Finken, for example, holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Science in addition to his BFA from Academy of Art University. Scott Grabowski had a ten-year career in mechanical engineering, and before he transitioned to illustration he worked on a photo project on safari in Africa. Steve Javiel has received praise for his artwork in a wide range of mediums, including photography, printmaking, painting, and sculpture.

The proceeds from the students’ artwork will go to the Jimmy V Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization that raises funds for cancer research and cancer awareness programs. "I don't know of one person who hasn't been directly or indirectly affected by cancer in one form or another," explains Josh Finken, whose father is a bone cancer survivor. Finken has made one comment that seems to particularly express the feelings of all the students participating in this charitable effort: “the V Foundation is dedicated to saving lives by helping to find a cure for cancer, and I can contribute through painting? That's a very easy decision, and I am extremely excited to be involved.”

Josh Finken

The X Games is the definitive annual action sports competition featuring more than 150 of the world's best athletes competing in: BMX Freestyle, Moto X, Skateboard, Surfing and new to this year's lineup, Rally Car Racing. The X Games Los Angeles-based venues will include STAPLES Center and The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. All competitions at STAPLES Center and The Home Depot Center are ticketed events, which can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations, Ticketmaster.com and the box offices at STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center and Team LA at Universal CityWalk. The event will air live on ESPN and ABC, providing 14 hours of original LIVE X Games 12 programming. ESPN will also present four late-night highlight programs starting August 4, resulting in a total of 18 hours of original programming for X Games 12.

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