For the past 18 months, Lia Halloran has taken her skateboard and wandered the city late at night, looking for the strangest, darkest skate spots she can find. Sometimes alone and sometimes with a photographer, Halloran spends nights haunting the L.A. riverbed, evading the cops in Bronson Canyon or lurking in East L.A. parking lots. She’ll hop fences or crawl through holes to get into a closed park.

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Though she’s a bit of a rebel and a daredevil, these outings aren’t just for the kicks of finding a forbidden or foreboding spot to grind. Halloran, who has an MFA in painting and printing from Yale, is a fast-rising local artist, and herDark Skate series combines many of her passions — skateboarding, physics and light. The pieces are half-painting, half-picture — the latter taken in the dead of night, when Halloran attaches a bike light to her wrist or head and skates while photographer Meredyth Wilson captures the action with time-lapse photography. Halloran doesn’t show up in the pictures, but her skate lines do, looking like a light saber cutting through the dark, urban backgrounds.

Halloran has been into skateboarding and art since she was a kid in Pacifica, and the two blend seamlessly in her life. She has an art studio and a quarter pipe at her home in Eagle Rock.

“I never thought I would use skateboarding or physics in my paintings,” she says. “I always knew I wanted to be a painter, and I had these two things that somehow fit together, but I didn’t know how.”

Dark Skate had an improbable genesis. While at Yale, Halloran took science classes and earned a research grant to study in Chile. She hung out with top scientists and studied the night sky through the world’s largest telescopes. She became enamored with astrophotography and capturing star streaks on camera. Dark Skate comes from that experience — the streets of L.A. substituting for Chile’s star-studded sky.


Photo by Kevin Scanlon 

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