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Skateboard painter to inspire kids

Local artisan also will have discounted T-shirts with skate themes at Family Fun Festival
by: contributed photo Sparky Firepants (David Billings of Sandy) will show kids at the Family Fun Festival, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, how to decorate their skateboards with water-based pens such as this one.

If you haven't heard of Sparky Firepants, you're not alone - even though he lives in Sandy.

Sparky Firepants is his stage name. His real name is David Billings, and he can be seen at the second Family Fun Festival, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug 13, in Sandy Bluff Park.

Billings is an artist, but he does not use canvas and frame to show off his creative talents. He uses skateboards and T-shirts.

Saturday he'll bring his art out of the studio to show kids how skateboards are designed and painted.

Billings says he is looking forward to sharing his talents with kids of all ages. He will paint boards throughout the day in his booth at Sandy's Family Fun Festival.

Billings creates one-of-a-kind skateboard decks through his Sandy studio, Sparky Firepants Images.

'Skateboards have evolved the same as art and pop culture,' he said. 'Those one-color molded plastic toys just don't cut it anymore.

'Skaters have more choices now and they want their boards to reflect their individualism.'

Starting with a skateboard 'blank' made of seven-ply Canadian maple, Billings uses mixed media to paint unique designs on the board.

'Mostly I use special water-based paint pens to illustrate the designs,' he said. 'They're easily portable, and don't make a big mess. This way I can set up at an event like the Family Fun Festival and show people exactly how it's done.'

Billings says he hopes to inspire kids to get creative.

'I love to talk about what I do and show how I do it,' he said. 'Maybe one of these kids will see that having a career as an artist is possible. Even if they just want to create their own boards, they'll be able to see what materials they need to get started.'

Billings also will distribute free stickers and have T-shirts with skate themes for sale at discounted prices.

For more information about the festival, visit either website: ci.sandy.or.us or sandypost.com.

For more information about Sparky Firepants and his skateboard designs, visit skateandshirt.com.