An Interview With John Gardner

August 10th, 2017 | 2:51 pm | Features & Interviews | No Comments

Photo by Andy Enos

Intro & Interview by Zach Baker

A dope thing about skateboarding is that it attracts an endless variety of people, who are each drawn to it for their own specific reasons. We all have our unique relationships within skateboarding as far as what we want to do, who we want to be around, and where we want to go on, with, or because of them.

John Gardner’s motivations on a skateboard are not so easily pigeon-holed, though it can be said that he’s not adhering to any sort of trends in attire, trick selection, or really, well anything. It makes one wonder whether he even needs a skateboard. Like, if the skateboard were never invented, I feel like John Gardner would figure out some other vehicle to sate his physical and creative urges. This points to part of what makes him such a delight to watch. For some people, skateboarding is what creates their identity. But for John, the skateboard is just an accessory, one of many mediums lending themselves to his way of life and creative pursuits. Without the board, he’d be no less extraordinary, but as skateboarders, we couldn’t be more fortunate to have him as a member of the club.

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To start…the video part. It was just a pleasure to watch. Give me a little overview.

I had a bunch of VX footage that was just kind of sitting around, and I had always wanted to make music for a video part but never really had an opportunity to do so, so I immediately connected the dots and thought that this would be a great opportunity to make that happen. It’s over the course of two-and-a-half years, whenever a VX came out. Some of those clips might even be three of four years old. A lot of it is in California with some Jersey sprinkled in between.

Tell me about the soundtrack.

My friend Max Hersteiner, who I used to live with, is in an amazing band called Dirty Fences — he’s in a couple bands actually, Dirty Fences and Metal Leg. He and the bassist of Dirty Fences and Metal Leg, Max Komaski, all created music together for various video projects that I’ve made, so I hit those dudes up immediately to just jam and see what we came up with. Max’s friend Danny Cooper played guitar for the soundtrack. We just set up a camera, experimented and that’s what we came up with.

What’s up with your uncle?

My uncle is a wild man. He is my uncle Semo, my dad’s brother. He has a lot of upper body strength and is really good at doing handstands. He would walk up and down stairs on his hands when he was younger, so he naturally gravitated to riding a skateboard on his hands. I had a camera and wanted him to be in this little video that I was making, so we drove around looking for a little hill and filmed him doing his thing and that’s what I got. He loves skateboarding and he really tries but he skates better on his hands than I would say he skates on his feet.

Long Island With Gino Iannucci

August 3rd, 2017 | 3:33 pm | Features & Interviews | 14 Comments

Words & Interview by Zach Baker
Portrait by Marcel Veldman

A noted distinction between skateboarder-types and the rest of the world is that we have knack from drumming up cool shit in even some of the wackest places. You’re probably bored to bits by the cliched assertion that “skaters see the world differently,” but that whole “most people just see a bench while we see a canvas” thing still holds some weight, and it can be argued that this critical gaze extends beyond spotting natural transitions and waxable granite. We’re generally discerning, attentive to detail and uncover the most flattering aspects in even the most mundane of areas.

So we’ve started a new little recurring series where skaters we admire guide us through their hometowns. The first one is with Gino.

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I was born in Manhasset, Long Island. It’s towards the north shore, center of Long Island, about forty minutes by train, half hour drive from the city. I grew up in Westbury, Nassau County, which is about a ten-minute drive from Manhasset. Westbury was a mix of upper middle class, middle class, and a little bit beneath middle class. We lived really close to the border of the extremely wealthy, which is right over the Jericho Turnpike in Old Westbury. It was really close to some unreal, beautiful homes. As far as nationalities: heavy Italian, heavy Irish, heavy African-American in Westbury. When I was growing up you could see the South American and El Salvadorian community growing, and now the Spanish are like the Italians of when I was younger.

Summer Reading* Round-Up: Love, That’s A Crazy One & A Skateboarding Annual 3

August 2nd, 2017 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 1 Comment

*Asterisk because two out of three of these blurbs are for photo books, with one of them (the first one) having probably less than a thousand words overall. Anyway, all three of these came out over the course of the past few months, and all of them deserve your time, especially as August grinds the skateboard news cycle to a near halt. Shout out to everyone putting cool shit on pieces of paper and sharing it with the rest of the world, whether it’s a ‘zine, a book or whatever the hell else ♥

Love — Paradigm Publishing

Love is less a book of skate photos, and more a visual essay of what skateboarding looks like when it’s forced to become a form of protest.

Jonathan Rentschler’s book tells the story of Love Park’s final years — a period most visibly represented by Brian Panebianco’s Sabotage series — in black and white photographs. Love was the first time I felt genuine anger while looking through a book about skateboarding: anger at the cops raising up skateboards in smiley triumph as the confiscate them, anger at police officers pulling people by the hair after they throw them to the ground, anger at the politicians attending a groundbreaking ceremony for the park’s destruction, who will no doubt spend as little time in its remodeled incarnation as they did when they were leading a stubborn crusade against the thing giving it life. These images are interjected with a portrait of the community that corralled in a place they were told was not for them. This is not limited to the skaters, but also fringes of society who those same faces of civil service often prefer to ignore.

It All Started With a Manual — The Skateable History of Columbus Park

July 12th, 2017 | 11:20 am | Features & Interviews | 14 Comments

Skate spots are living, breathing things. They shift with the socioeconomic climate of the time, and position themselves to best adapt with people’s needs. Skateboarding has always been reflective of greater society, so it should come as no surprise that our lives were pushed into Columbus Park as we began to get pushed out of the pricier, glossier haunts that we once frequented in lower Manhattan.

Columbus Park sits on ominous ground. It was built on top of what was once America’s first slum: a hotbed of vice, disease, murder and clashes for control that have been documented in many books and films. Though it would take decades for the neighborhood to rid itself of the notoriety it earned throughout the 19th century, the city built Columbus Park in 1897. A hundred years passed, and then a guy from Clifton, New Jersey came along. The park began its second life as one of the few downtown spots you can skate in 2017 without getting kicked out.

An Interview With The Creator of Skhateyou, the Internet’s Most Mysterious Skateboard Website

June 28th, 2017 | 5:33 am | Features & Interviews | 4 Comments

Dubai

A key feature to the internet’s role in spreading skateboarding across the world is democratic access to spot knowledge. You can become a local in any city with a skate scene through a mere Google search. The spots page is the most common tale of how people discover QS, and QS began as nothing more than a ripoff of the Metrospective spots page — one of the internet’s first city guides.

Anybody who has travelled in Europe (and even beyond) for skateboarding has been told about Skhateyou, which is a crudely designed skate spot guide reminiscent of Web 1.0 sites plus a Google Map. Though it is most well known for its comprehensive Barcelona page, in recent years, Skhateyou has accumulated spot maps for Chinese skateboard meccas, eastern European cities you’ve never thought to visit, and even cities in the Emirates. There’s next to nothing on Skhateyou.com besides maps and pictures of skate spots, so we tracked down the mysterious good samaritan responsible for remotely tour guiding thousands of European skate trips. (He still wanted to be kept anonymous though.)

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Where are you from and how did you first get into skateboarding?

I’m from the Italian Alps. I started snowboarding at the end of the 80s with some friends. When the snow would melt, we’d bomb the hill around our place, and of course, I got an instant bug for skateboarding.

When did you first start Skhateyou, and what sparked you initially? Do people help you out with it?

When I started skating in the 80s, it was lame to skate. People thought that it was a kid’s toy and something that I would stop soon. Around 2000, I was still skating, and started to think about saying “fuck you” to everybody who thought you can’t skate when you get older. I thought “Skhateyou” could represent that state of mind; you don’t understand what I’m doing but are still judging me, so Skhateyou. I printed it on a couple of shirts for me and my friends.

I love to travel, and have always been more interested in the spot than the trick. Even a long time ago, it felt natural to shoot pictures of the spots I was skating. I moved to Barcelona in 2006 for one year, and decided to do the website. It felt logical to call it Skhateyou.com.

Do you remember any other skate websites from the time you started? Were any of them direct inspirations onto Skhateyou?

A friend of mine used to do something similar for the south of France — it was called skalpes.fr. I never really thought about it, but it was probably my inspiration. But back in the early 2000s, there weren’t too many skate websites.