Past Life — via 1991, a Year Magazine

1991-1

1991 is a new magazine dedicated to chronicling the notable cultural events of a certain year. 1991 happens to be the first installment, and future editions will follow the format for different years. In honor of the inaugural issue, QS is sharing one of its more pertinent stories with everyone, which happens to be about a video part filmed at a certain baseball diamond on Avenue A and E. 9th Street…in 1991. (It even ends with a fight! #onbrand.) Buy the 82-page issue at 1991magazine.com.

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Cameron Martin is well known in the art world as a painter of photorealistic forests, mountains, and cliffs. Born in 1970 in Seattle, Martin boasts a CV as impressive as any working artist, with exhibitions around the world, features in major publications, and inclusion in museum collections across the country.

As an acquaintance of Martin, I knew that he was once a professional skateboarder and a member of the fabled Bones Brigade, a team that included Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, and Steve Caballero. While researching 1991, I found a video on YouTube called “Cameron Martin 1991 freestyle skateboarding NYC.” The 1:08 clip shows Martin skating in Tompkins Square Park and then farther downtown, under the Twin Towers. His skating is fast, technical, and flawless. The tricks flow together in successions of lines that look improvised but likely took hours to get right. Though it’s seemingly unconnected to a full length or sponsor, “Cameron Martin 1991” has the same feel as the most influential videos of 1991, including Blind’s Video Days and Alien Workshop’s Memory Screen.

“There’s quite a story behind that video,” Martin said when I asked him about it. We met at his studio in Greenpoint, and he was right—there is an interesting story behind the video. Here it is in his words. — N.

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