Author Archive for Chris

Atlas x Mark Suciu | Cross Continental

Let’s get a bit of history about Atlas in here to start off with. I’ve read that you guys started in 2007: what inspired you to open up? With everything heading to online in recent years, it’s really nice to see physical stores still opening up.

Ryen Motzek: Yup, May of 2007 is when the doors opened. I myself have always been into retail. I worked for the Gap as a teenager and then got a job at Deluxe San Mateo. My biz partner Mike Manidis has deep roots in skating, was AM for New Deal, ran a skate camp during the summer, and we both thought it would be fresh to get something good going here.

There’s something about the retail experience that when done well is really cool and fun. Skateboarding being the best thing ever only makes that experience that much better (good music, classic skate videos, good product and an anti-corporate environment).

San Francisco has always been an iconic and important place for skaters, especially to us guys overseas. We had our own scenes, but we all tried to emulate what was going on over there as well. The whole EMB era was pretty significant to us. How have things changed since that time in SF? When Embarcadero went, did the scene become more disjointed?

When EMB shut down, everyone headed over to Pier 7. That lasted about 8 years. San Francisco has definitely made an effort to make spots skate proofed. Security guards are everywhere, and most new buildings come out with skate stoppers or random object in the way of ledges, rails, and other things to skate.

However, every now and then a great spot will pop up, and I will say it feels just like the old days. People from all over heading to that particular spot to get it in while it lasts. I’d say that the Bay Area in general is the spot. For example, something will pop up in Oakland, and folks from all over the Bay will head over there. Caltrain DIY R.I.P.

SF is also renowned for the quality of skate stores. You’ve got places like FTC and Skates on Haight (who I used to hit up for stickers and tees back in the early ’90s), spots like DLX and (the sadly gone) HUF… and then other core places such as yourselves. Is it a competitive environment to work in? Or does everyone look out for each other?

I’d say that SF is a VERY competitive place, which is why we decided to do our shop right out side of the city in downtown San Mateo. It’s a great place, with a thriving skate scene, and is plenty away from other shops.

Atlas seems to occupy a pretty unique area: you’ve got the core brands and support your local scene, but you’ve got a great ‘art’ side to the business that seems to add to your business, rather than just existing as a token ‘cool thing’ to have. What inspired you to represent the creative side so much at Atlas?

Our goal is to put focus on the art of skateboarding, rather than the sport. There are enough things going on, such as big dollar contests, mall stores, television and other activities that do not pay much attention to the creativity involved with the lifestyle of a skateboarder. Skateboarders have a unique way of looking at life.


Who are some of the artists that you have represented and showcased at Atlas? Have you always created products to accompany these exhibitions?

Ryen Motzek: We have showcased the art of Greg Hunt, Joe Brook, Matt Irving, Mark Gonzales, and Allister Lee.

We always have product to go along with the exhibitions. We also do artist decks with those that we greatly respect but don’t always have a function tied into the project.

Let’s talk about your local skaters and the Atlas team (if there is one!). Has that grown much from your opening days? How do you support your local skate community?

There are plenty of locals; it’s actually pretty crazy how many are in the Bay Area. In regards to our “team”, we rather consider it as something else.. Perhaps just family, or “supporters”.

How did the Cross Continental project come about? I caught a glimpse of it online, which is what led me to contacting you in the first place: it’s not that often you see something so impressive come from a collaboration between a skater, his sponsor and his local store. What was the initial idea for doing this project?

Being that Mark Suciu has been down with Atlas since day one, it seemed like a proper fit to do something with Habitat.

We had a ton of great footy, and wanted to make it a little more special that just an online release. We did a premiere at the shop, and created a limited run of decks with Habitat for the premiere. We’re hyped on how it all turned out, and the reaction to Mark’s part was amazing.

Let’s kick off with a few basics: how long have you been skating and who are your current sponsors?

Mark Suciu: I’ve been skating for 11 years and I ride for Atlas Skateshop, Habitat shoes and boards, Thunder Trucks, Sml. Wheels, and Ruca Clothing.

How long have you been part of the Atlas crew? Are you local to the store?

I’ve been with Atlas since February of 2008. I always go to the shop when I’m on my way up to SF, and whenever I need to solve some board issues or just want to hang out.

The first time I became fully aware of you and your skating would have been in the Habitat video, ‘Origin’. But having read a few things since then, you rode for Powell and Alien, right? Before you got hooked up, did you ever have any aspirations to ride for anyone in particular? Or was that never really part of your aim in skating?

Yeah, I started riding for Powell when I was 13 and left to go somewhere else when I was 16. I didn’t have anyone hitting me up, but at that time I was starting to think it might be possible to get on a company I’d always wanted to ride for.

When I was younger I wasn’t thinking so much about what boards I wanted to ride, it was more like which group of skaters I dreamed about hanging out with. And that was pretty much always the Alien team. So I waited it out a couple months and before I knew it I was getting boards from Kalis. I was so psyched. Even though they eventually switched me to Habitat and I didn’t get to skate with those guys, it was still so amazing to me.

I don’t think I threw my board the entire time they were sending me stuff, all I had to do if I was getting mad was look at the graphic and I’d be stoked.

After ‘Origin’, it seems that you racked up a steady stream of coverage, but before that, you had a lot of online footage that people often refer to. Has filming always been a pretty consistent part of your life?

Mark Suciu: Yeah, I’ve been filming tricks ever since my parents got a Hi-8 camera when I was ten, so it’s always felt natural. I guess it’s a kind of a fascination I have with the progression side of it.

Let’s get to the recent ‘Cross Continental’ project. How long was this in the pipeline? Who came up with the idea of travelling across the US as the background thread for the film?

That footage was from somewhere around November 2010 to the end of Nov 2011, and the two cross country drives were in August and Nov of 2011.   

It started as just a solo Atlas part that I could put out whenever and make exactly how I wanted. Near the end of the filming I talked to Habitat and they said they wanted to back it and that it needed a name. The footage we had already told the story of the cross country missions, so I think it was Joe Castrucci that tagged the name Cross Continental on it. There was really no planning it out. 

How did the ‘On The Road’ clip tie in with everything?

That was just all the footage of the preliminary tricks at the spot. We were kind of just warming up with the HD and  then switching to the VX. Also, as it was a Field Log edit, it helped foot the bill for a couple of our hotels.

‘Cross Continental’ had the feel of some of the older videos that I’ve always liked. Alien’s ‘Memory Screen’ or ‘Photosynthesis’ spring to mind. Putting less emphasis on cutting-edge visuals and more focus on raw skating: The lack of any slow motion really gave it a high level of re-watch factor for me. Did you get involved with the editing or contribute ideas towards the filming at all?

I wasn’t at the editing table, but I knew all of my ideals were. My friend Miguel Valle, who filmed it, grew up with a lot of the same inspiration as I have, so we’re definitely on the same page. We would talk constantly throughout the process. I chose the first song and was picky as hell with the tricks, and he took it all from there.

Everyone who’s mentioned the film has talked about the switch backside noseblunt on the rail and the frontside varial heel into the fountain at Love Park. I really like the quick-fire bank-to-stair tricks and the line that opens with the backside 180 fakie nosegrind (which I think is at Love). Were there any other particular things that that you were really pleased to get for the video?

I would say the longer line at the SF Library and that bigspin into the rock in San Jose are my favorites. That line was probably the most thought out clip in the part and also the most exhausting. I nearly threw up after the first two hours. And the bigspin I had wanted to do the whole year I was filming; it ended up being the last trick I filmed for the part.

The accompanying Habitat board was really nice too: did you know that was coming out when the video clip was launched? Is this technically your debut pro board?

When Habitat joined in they told me about it, and I got to see the first draft of the graphic in November. I’m so psyched to have it, and also to be the reason that Atlas and Habitat got together. But no, it’s not a pro board.

What have you got planned for the rest of 2012? Anything we should be watching out for?

My friend Justin Albert and I are putting out an all San Jose part with some homies. It should be out really soon. (editor: you can check that video here!)

Other than that, I’ll be travelling around from coast to coast, just filming and enjoying it.

Converse | Stüssy x Converse Elm shoe

Converse Stüssy x Converse Elm shoe

It’s all very well having a wardrobe stuffed with fluorescent runners and logo-tastic skate shoes, but as I get older there are more and more occasions when something more subdued… more grown-up… more stylish is called for. A lot of mediocre sneaker silhouettes and shapes are hidden by use of materials and colour blocking. Reminds me of graffiti, in some ways.

Converse Stüssy x Converse Elm shoe

The Converse Elm model leaves peripheral embellishments to the side and concentrates on simplicity: one-piece uppers, clean herringbone tread patterns and vulcanized midsoles. This would be a simple review of the basic shoe, but the nice people at Converse sent over the new Stüssy collaboration model for me to have a look at and it deserves a little more than a one paragraph write-up.

Converse Stüssy x Converse Elm shoe

Everything looks a little more bulletproof on this serving: a luxurious leather construction replaces the suede on the regular model, D-ring eyelets replace the standard lace holes and you get two sets of hiking-quality laces thrown in as well. Gone is the Converse flash on the side and in its place is a very tasteful Stüssy debossed logo. I’ve seen a nice beige/tan colour edition, a distressed green/brown version and the black ones that I’m featuring here.

One top-shelf shoe indeed – and you’d best get on the trail right now, as they dropped back at the start of April. Thanks C-Law and all in Boston for sending these over.

Converse Stüssy x Converse Elm shoe

C.R. Stecyk x Hurley | Fin

Trashfilter: I grew up skating here in the UK in the 1980s: the first time I would’ve been aware of your work would have been around the time of the early Bones Brigade videos. The Bones Brigade Video Show, Future Primitive, Animal Chin… those had a huge impact on us here.

Being so distanced from what was going on in the US, we knew we were missing out on a lot of the important events of the past. Some of us managed to piece it all together over time, but I would think that a lot of today’s skaters here were brought up to speed with the Dogtown film. Were you guys aware of the international impact you’d had decades before that film came out?

CR Stecyk: Crews of international denizens would come through the Zephyr shop so in a sense there was a tinge of awareness. But in those early days everyone was just trying to get equipment that worked. I don’t think anybody thought much about movements, public awareness of the activity or the longevity of it.

We really wanted to build a new business model to get into these product and distribution areas, and we thought it was a good idea to build a bridge for the consumer to extend the relationship with our brand to an new environment and sport while still playing to our core skills. The idea to work with Burton was a natural one, as a market leader, we wanted to partner with a brand that brought the same level of impact. Burton is the leader and arguably the founder of snowboarding, as we are in the world of sports. In the end I think Burton also felt like a natural fit, as they seek to push opportunities to extend their brand into the street in an impactful way.

When I think back to us skating with our little homegrown scene back in 1985 or 86, scrawling ‘Dogtown’ or ‘Locals Only’ on our salvaged decks, it makes me smile now. We were clueless, but we knew something was going on. The passing around of the term ‘DIY Culture’ is something I’ve picked up on recently – after all, the media love to label everything – but surely it was just a way of life for you guys back then. If you don’t have it, you make it. And then you use it. When did you start foraging to make your own skateboards and surfboards?

Scavenging and repurposing were the rule. I came of age in the late ‘50s. This was during the steel wheeled roller skates nailed to 2” x 4” pieces of wood phase. There weren’t any skateboard products yet. I would make the rounds of the alleys looking for scraps of wood, cast off roller skates and shoes. Oak dresser drawer fronts provided usable blanks. Good shoes were difficult to come by. One day I came up on some great used Converse Deck Stars in the refuse piles down where the yachtsmen came ashore. Apparently the well-outfitted crews tossed out any soiled shoes because they were an affront to the Commodore and the yacht club member’s refined sensibilities. That discovery served me well for many years! Fish guts and grease only served to make free skate shoes that much better.

Film and cinema have always been a part of surfing and skating, but now it’s far more exposed to a mainstream audience. The angry teenager in me still wants to shake my head solemnly, but the reality is that a lot of money has been put into showcasing great unseen skaters and encouraging younger kids to start skating. Do you think the involvement of big brands and media outlets has diluted things down? Or should we all be taking advantage of it after being shunned for so long?

Marketing titans try to quantify the efforts and accomplishments of individuals in order to reduce autonomous beings and independent action into acceptable commodities. Intelligent one-off design solutions force fed into mass production cookie cutters do not a renaissance make. Technology today allows films to be made and distributed on cell phones and operas to be created entirely on tabletops. You can foster revolution from a mobile base. Because of this anyone can do everything themselves from anywhere. Command and control structures are resistant to this groundswell of change, but there is nothing they can do. Ateliers will proliferate as a result. The best playground is already the gutter and the best art is on the avenues. So big brands are doomed to succeed or fail on their own merits. They cannot corral the activity or adapt it to suit their own purposes. Skaters control their individual fates. I think this unbridled information exchange is healthy. Skating evolves and always prevails.

Trashfilter: You’ve worked with Lance Mountain on a few things, but clearly your friendship with him goes way back. When did you guys first meet?

CR Stecyk: Back in the proto Varibunch days, I used to hang with Richard Armijo at his backyard ramp and he introduced us. Lance, John Lucero and Armijo used to have a real affection for the parking lot at the Whittier skatepark. Their runs there were far more interesting in my estimation than the controlled activities in the park proper. So we all shared this cognitive dissonance.

Eventually Mountain and I were thrown into the Bones Brigade mélange via Stacy Peralta’s social experiment. Currently it is several decades later and Lance and I continue to grapple with the issues of l’enterrement des jouets.

One of the best recent collaborative projects I’ve seen in recent years was the Nike project you were involved in with Lance. As far as I’m concerned, the moment they signed Lance up to the SB programme, it confirmed that the right people were doing this. Seeing your artwork on the shoes just rounded it off. How was that project for you to work on? An easy process? Were you pleased with the results and the reception?

Working with Lance is always a pleasure. My involvement with Nike dates back to 1966 when they opened the Blue Ribbon Sports shop on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica. I had shot photos of some of the local track and field athletes. Jeff Johnson, who ran the shop, put some of them up on the store wall. It was Johnson who later had the infamous visionary dream which led to them naming the company Nike. As things worked out, I tried skating in some early BRS trainers. They had great soles that were nice and sticky, but the nylon sidewalls were not terribly abrasion resistant.

During this period I got to interact periodically with Coach Bowerman, Phil Knight and some of the early Nike heads. Sidney Wicks was a talented baller at Santa Monica College when I went there, and our respective girlfriends hung out. So I had an insider’s perspective on his deal. He went on to UCLA where Coach John Wooden proclaimed Sidney the “most naturally talented player that he had ever coached.” Wicks then joined the Portland Trail Blazers where he earned the Rookie of the Year award. Nike had been watching his develop since high school and they sponsored him and that begat the first Blazer in 1972. I skated in those and BINGO. They had great soles, ankle protection and some lateral support. So due to this I always had an informal relationship with Nike and got to work on various projects. Mr. Mountain knew this from back in the days when he, Neil Blender and I used to buy up dead stock Air Jordan 1’s to skate in.

When Lance got on with NSB we decided to do the orange collabs, a film and so forth. It was a great interlude. Over the years I’ve been fortunate to be involved with a number of other interestingly varied endeavors with Nike. Aqua Socks with Laird Hamilton, Stages with Lance Armstrong, murals with Jason Maloney, Savier with Sandy Bodecker, Shaun White and Aaron Astorga, SB with Hunter Muraira, Michael Leon and Kevin Imamura, SF boot development, museum exhibitions with Jason “Sidewalk” Cohn, Phantom projects with Mark Parker and the Hurleys. I also collaborated with Lebron James on another classic project which produced some very forward and different boots. These days I experiment with Omar Salazar up in the Stockton Kitchen.

Trashfilter: What does your day-to-day life entail these days? Have artistic endeavors taken over your skating and surfing time – or do you still take time out to go for a roll around?

CR Stecyk: Tinkering about is my typical occupation. There aren’t any rules to it beyond staying interested. I meander through things and generally make a mess. Specific purpose built equipment has been known to result from these forays. I don’t regard any of the above as being art related per se. Such aesthetic values are conferred by the viewer. When you screw up bad it can all end up in a marble mausoleum or the trash receptacle. Each is a worthy temple. I favor sitting in the last seat on the short bus where there is no particular route. So surfing, skating, bikes are perennial standard deployments.

How did you get involved with the good folk at Hurley? Is your new film – which we’ll get to shortly – part of a long-term working relationship between you both?

I originally met Bob Hurley via surfboard building. His shapes were always thought provoking and he sponsored several riders that I was close to. So over years we eventually indexed on various projects. There is an open art atelier, a recording studio and a shaping facility that the Hurley brothers and sons maintain where they invite different people to come in and work.

My film Fin reflects that unstructured architecture both literally and figuratively. It is intended to evoke the feeling of getting lost in the woods when you wander off the trail to Grandmother’s house. More precisely when I was working in Hurley’s recording space I began a dialogue with individuals like Mike Ness and SxDX, the Honey Badgers, Steve Alba and the Powerflex Five, Julian Ness and the Breakdowns. I tend to film everyday and had captured images of these aforementioned talents.

Another major mover in the evolution of Fin is Jason Maloney whose studio I was sleeping in down there in the previously described creative compound in Costa Mesa’s Velcro Valley. I awoke from one such slumber to have Maloney spontaneously declare, “You should make a movie out of what you do every day.” So I did, Fin is a musing on non-aligned innovation and adaptation. The previously mentioned musicians provided the score and are also profiled on screen. Tyler Hatzikian and Roland Sands are also prime contributors to Fin, and I spend considerable time in their maisons du fabrication. What you see is what we all get after.

What’s forthcoming from the House of Stecyk for the rest of 2012 and beyond?

Fin is scheduled to roll out to H Spaces in Tokyo, San Sebastian, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Bali and Cape Town. I am also involved with a three hundred plus mile per hour motorcycle project with RSD, and separate developmental surfboard composite construction projects at Tyler Surfboards and with the Hurley Brothers and Sons. Gallery exhibitions that I will be doing include Devil’s Highway at 225 Forest in Laguna Beach and Juxtapoz Turns 18 at Copro Fine Arts in Santa Monica, California.

There is also a film made by Stacy Peralta that I have work therein and also appear. It is called Bones Brigade; An Autobiography , and it just debuted at Sundance and the Santa Barbara Film Festival. There is a tour being developed that would involve further premieres etc. for that.

Trashfilter: Your new short film, Fin… tell us about that. I’ve read notes online, watched the trailer and tried to clue myself up on what’s happening here, but it needs the master’s voice to bring it to life for me. ‘Amorphous and always evolving‘ (taken from the press release) sounds like the nature of skating and boardsports in general.

CR Stecyk: Fin has no beginning or end and is adaptable and expandable. It is not a product it is more of an experience that morphs as it lives. It reflects the artisan atelier culture that my associates inhabit. Fin will conceptually continue to change and adapt as further people discover it and recombine its elements. Mathematically it has already received enough basal exposure on the Internet that its eventual aggregate audience is infinite.

This is the nature of a viral art form, it inevitably transforms from the initial millions of impressions into an entity of its own choosing that inperceivably inhabits the firmament which encompasses all.


Trashfilter: How did you get to the role of Art Director at Hurley? Was there an already-present interest in the scene that Hurley is part of? Did you study any particular subject to get into the industry?

Jason Maloney: . I worked for Disney as an artist for 10 years when Hurley approached me. Being a fine artist and a commercial production artist, Hurley tapped me to put some of my artwork on t-shirts and board shorts years ago. After that successful launch of my Hurley collaboration, I started to establish a relationship of sorts. I started to inject my years of Disney experience and knowledge into the brand retail environments such and window displays, stickers featuring my signature artwork and point of purchase displays. Hurley did have a pre existing art component; all I did was expand it.

Hurley, as a brand, has a long history in the surf and action sports world. How difficult is it to try and keep to the roots of the brand whilst still addressing market trends and keeping an eye on the scene’s current developments? I don’t surf myself (the UK isn’t ideal!), but I’d imagine that the surfing scene has changed as much as skateboarding has since the 1970s.

Funny, I don’t surf either…in fact I’m terrified of the water. Hurley maintains consistent brand messages while still doing cool relevant artist partnerships by tapping artist that are connected to the action sports world via surfing and or skateboarding.

How did the project with C.R. come about? Are collaborations a big part of Hurley’s core proposal in 2012? Are there any other things that we should keep an eye out for?

CR Stecyk and myself have been friends for years. So I jumped at the opportunity to work on a project together. I did however suggest that he do a film because it was something that would better fit the H Space Gallery here on the Hurley campus. We are not a gallery per say…H Space is more of an experience…a ride if you will. Each artist that we work with that shows in that space is challenged to think outside his or her comfort zone and do more than just hanging pictures on the wall. Since the lobby of Hurley connects right into H Space, it made sense to me to turn H Space into a movie theater and to then turn the Hurley lobby into the lobby of the theater. I like to use the word partnership as opposed to collaboration…because that’s really what it is. The artists in which we do these larger projects with become part of the family. It’s not just about putting artwork on a t-shirt anymore.

Is there much variation in the different market territories for Hurley’s products? I used to work in a skate shop and we’d see a small amount of the surf-related items, but these would usually be aimed at the summer and holiday customers: the rest of the year, people were looking for sweats and jackets. Do you notice a big difference in what’s popular in different countries – and do you design specifically for those consumers?

I cannot speak for the design team but from what I can gather is that we are a Southern California based surf company. Our key products are hats, t-shirts, outer wear and board shorts….we also have a Hurley Europe, Japan and Australia based offices so you tell me.

What other projects can we expect to see from Hurley – and yourself – in the near future?

Well, myself and CR Stecyk along with 50 other artists will be showing in ‘Juxtapoz Magazine Turns 18!’ Group Art Show at Copro Nason Gallery in Santa Monica, March 24th, 8-11:30pm. Craig is also continuing to film daily…adding more content to the ever-growing story of ‘FIN’. Also, Hurley has some plans for him as well with our design team in the near future as well so be on the look out.

Futura 2000 | Expansions 2012

Trashfilter: So, are you still in your studio in Brooklyn? Last time I came to see you, you had that nice place over in Brooklyn… You had this amazing coffee table of military memorabilia that you’d compiled into a 3D montage…

Futura: The Stash studio! All gone… all gone. All archived and in storage! I transitioned from there and I’ve just got a new studio and place to work in the city: it’s just a painting studio. Not an office or anything any more, as I can do all that from home. That old neighbourhood in Brooklyn has really changed since you were last there. Everyone is living out there now and it became this ‘escape Manhattan’ destination – it’s on fire, in terms of traffic and people and shops. Totally transformed from what it was.

Would you say that a lot of things have drastically changed since that period? I’ve watched the whole ‘street art’ movement rear its head since then. I’ve witnessed multiple bad dealings with various galleries, watched people jump onto what they consider to be graffiti, had valuable pieces stolen from exhibitions, cringed at shoddy stenciled pieces all pushing the same imagery… And, worst of all, I’ve watched veterans and who I consider to be genuine and worthy writers and artists get totally overlooked. Finally, it seems to be settling down now that the bubble has burst for some of the less-deserving chancers out there. And, to me, it’s good to see people like KAWS still at the top of the tree.

So, when we first met that was in the offices near Carnaby Street (the original Unorthodox Styles/U-Dox offices) – and that was pre the whole streetwear/lifestyle/culture market explosion. All the sneakers/clothing/whatever thing took over and got totally overexposed for a while.

Now it’s a good time for me to slip back in somehow. And these guys here – at Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont – seem very committed. This year is going to mark a real transition for me to start anew. I have this new studio in New York, I have this show here in Paris and these guys who are new investors in my work and my future. I’ve seen what’s going on and it’s awesome but all of what’s happening in the ‘street art’ spectrum can only help me in the end. I don’t want to be critical of it even if there are some people who I can’t help being critical of, if you know what I mean! Normally, I just try to embrace the whole thing so it can continue and some other people can get some opportunities off it too.

And, hey Brian (KAWS) gets paid!

Yeah, but to me he was always a graffiti writer first. When I met and interviewed him for Spinemagazine in 2004, I was fully aware of his solid letter styles, billboard batterings and pioneering bus stop advertisement adventures. He went out and did all of that off his own back and he’s a talented individual. And, you know what? He was the nicest and most humble guy I could have wanted to chat with. If I had the money, I’d buy his work all day long, not just because I like it but because I respect what he does.

Exactly: Brian is an amazing artist. He was clever enough to push certain elements of his work and iconography and make it totally work for him.

But I’d say that you did that even before he did with what you were doing with your own figures and icons. When we last spoke, you mentioned that you were moving away from painting your Pointmen figures because you didn’t want to get typecast for that very small part of your artistic arsenal…

I still am leaning away from that. Perhaps for personal requests or signings, but less so for the exhibition work.

Yeah – I’d noticed that in this exhibition there were no real characters in your new pieces, other than some of the atom icons.

That’s right: there’s nothing. And that’s the thing… It’s really hard too because it seems to be something that somebody wants. But the people here were very open for me to do what I wanted to do. I can still see things like that coming up again in the future, but where I am now, it’s not something that I particularly want to put out there in public right now.

My operation in Japan with Futura Laboratories… After everything that happened in Fukushima, I felt so bad that I just wanted to put my business in retreat for a minute. I didn’t want my staff guys out there feeling pressured about MY thing when they’re all dealing with that. How insignificant was my stuff in comparison, y’know? It’s good to put things in perspective and realise that my thing doesn’t really matter right now, so chill for a minute and take care of your lives. My operation over there has been really good and made sure I was able to put a few dollars in my pocket, but things are going to have to change slightly. Over the past decade I wasn’t really out there trying to do this (painting). I found other ways to make loot in the meantime.


Trashfilter: A lot of the more recent ‘street art’ exhibitions were never that interested in what had happened 15-20 years previously. I knew that you, amongst a very small group of other writers out there today, had been exhibiting since the early ’80s or exploring other avenues, such as working with Agnes B who helped launch you in France…

Futura: Big time. I mean, she’s not a collector: she is what I would term an investor. There are people out there who collect to invest – and I mean that in a positive way towards the artists – but they’re not just there to buy work. They’re there to help you to continue to create stuff.

That’s complimentary to you, isn’t it?

Oh, it is. And Agnes B been one of the biggest patriots of my work. And this is one example of how France has been really good to me. Paris has always been big for me. Many of the French writers and the New Yorkers who transplanted here in the late ’80s have found some opportunities through her.

At the moment, I’m thinking I might bring Futura Laboratories to an end. Because my idea was that I’m a small brand in a small town: I’m not trying to export to the world, even in good times before the recession hit, because of the duty charges, importation fees, the mark-up… y’know. It’s a hassle to sell this shit anywhere other than in Japan. it was never something like, ‘I’m gonna make lots of money of it’ – it’s more like a vanity project. "I got a little company, I make nice stuff…". The stuff is well made, but it’s all smaller items. But people get resentful sometimes if they can’t get access to this stuff. And maybe it’s not the right time to have that out there.

My son lived in Japan for 4 years – he speaks Japanese – and I was thinking of bringing him in, like ‘You could be that guy’. And my daughter is 21 and she can ride my coattails for a year or two and get a little experience, some opportunities and maybe a couple of trips. But my son doesn’t need me to take care of him the way I feel I want to take care of my daughter.

He’s established himself, as a creative person, in his own right.

Exactly. He was staying with people in my Japanese circle for a while….

He was staying with Hommyo from Atmos, right? I remember meeting up with Hommyo a while back and he had mentioned it then.

That’s right. He moved to Tokyo and worked with Hommyo, yeah. And how things worked out in the end, he was a good guy and was very generous. I haven’t seen him in a minute, probably since the Recon shops were still there..

That’s a good point to come to: you and Stash and the crew basically turned that small pocket of city in Manhattan into something pretty cool. Rivington, Eldridge… all those streets became places to go for a lot us visiting NYC. You guys and spots like Alife on Orchard pushed the boundaries that had been set by Soho.

Yeah, that was kinda funny how that all worked out. But, to be honest, the whole retail thing wasn’t really MY thing. And in the end I just wanted to bail. I could end up finding a company and just doing a licensing deal perhaps, because whether I like it or not, people do see a lot of what I do as a brand in itself. And that’s why the internet, in the end, is a big culprit in all of this. It’s awesome, but at the same time think about how the world has changed as a result of it. Without the web, none of this shit gets seen. Think about the way artwork is perceived now. I mean, honestly, without the web, who’s gonna even see this stuff? Who’s really gonna ever walk by a physical space in wherever these days and see anything? How many individuals are actually gonna see anything in real life now? Previous to what we do now, it was all word-of-mouth. Anything from, say, ’95 to the present… the last twenty years… it’s all digital or online. People tweeting three hundred times a day. It’s way out of control. Way out of control.

The advent of the web was good for me personally. I was able to make a transition from working in print to digital and then help start up U-Dox, Spinemagazine and Crooked with the guys back in London. And when I get frustrated with aspects of digital life, I have to remember that it’s been good to me, overall. I wouldn’t be here now probably if it wasn’t for that. And when we first came out to New York in 2000 or 2001 to meet you guys, it was a blind trip. We had no real idea what to expect, no guides to follow and no email connections, because that info wasn’t out there! We walked into the shops with printed portfolios and business cards and spoke to everyone. You probably wouldn’t do that now! But when you and I met, you were already pushing things digitally, far beyond what anyone else was really doing. You were a very early advocate of the internet and as a result had one of the most interesting websites out there.

Sure. I was trying to express myself through that new medium. And, in a way, I think that’s what I still do today. But I’m not doing it like other people. I have a completely different approach to it.

It hasn’t changed though.

Right. Like, the calendar on my site, Timothy – my son – designed. And that’s been good for the last five years and interesting with its daily photo… And every year my son’s like, ‘C’mon dad – let’s change it!’. But there’s no need. When you set something up well and it is what it is, you shouldn’t really fuck with it. Just let it run. All it needs is a new photo every day.

My Flickr account is much more ‘real’. The photo calendar on my website is more generic because what happens is that every day it just looks for a file that correlates with the code. Like tomorrow, it’ll be looking for 01_10 and the accompanying TXT caption file for that day. And the calendar format works off your clock on your computer. If you change your clock to 1990, there’d be nothing there. It’s really elegant but it’s also really smart. It knows what day it is, because it’s running off your computer. It’s all preloaded and no-one actually knows when the accompanying image is actually from. When I do put in a real ‘proof of life’ photo, such as holding a newspaper with today’s date or a ticket or something, those are always gems to put in and a couple of those go in every month. If I’m in New York and there are people over in New Zealand who are almost a day ahead, what about those guys? They’ve got to have an image to see! So that’s why it’s all taken care of behind the scenes.

That’s very considerate of you!

I think my web presence has always been considerate. I’ve got a lot of stuff on there, so enjoy yourself!

Trashfilter: When I look at the last decade of street art, things occasionally got a bit too commercially-minded for a minute, I think.

Futura: When that whole blogosphere thing was happening with all the websites and all these ‘guest’ people were being invited to write for them, I didn’t want it to be like ‘Yo, I’m Futura and this is the product I’m making and this is what I’m selling’. It was never about that.

But I don’t think that it ever came across like that though. Even when you were working with people like Zoo York or whoever, it wasn’t like you’d just stuck a few characters on it and bounced…

Oh, yeah, I mean there’s like 20 companies that I would’ve worked with during that period. And now I don’t want to be part of that any more. I was too nice with all my stuff and with every ‘friend’.

Those days are over and I don’t want to be that guy any more. I just want to take care of my family – my immediate, blood related family. Everybody in my immediate world right now, I wanna hook up. All that other stuff is still exactly the same as it’s always been: just promo and hype stuff. I don’t want to do that any more. I don’t even want to do my own thing any more! I just want to give it a break for a while: I’ll retreat to my studio, invest in some materials and bang out a lot of stuff so I can make a really nice selection from the result of that. I want to see how that goes for a couple of years, without all this other external shit going on. I’m gonna take more control: I’m gonna be 57! I need to take charge now. I’m not a ‘boss man’, but in my own internal quiet way, that’s how I am now.

No more Mr. Nice Guy, even though no-one will know that.

Trashfilter: When was your last exhibition?

Futura: Probably the ‘Pirate Utopias’ show with Jose Parla in London, back in 2007. There was this thing I did in L.A. maybe three or four years ago as a pop-up show and there have have been group shows, but not a one-man show.

I remember coming up to ‘Pirate Utopias’ to see you and asking the gallery owner if you were around and it was like, ‘Who the fuck are you?’. I appreciate that they’re busy and they probably have a hundred other people doing exactly the same thing, but it was a bit of a kick as well. I might have caught them on a bad day, but it seemed totally different to how some of the older spots and galleries handled their business.

A lot of those connections were spill-off from friendships and stuff, but they weren’t that real. I wasn’t totally psyched on that relationship either. The movement ‘crashed’, everything got downsized and that old studio with Stash in Brooklyn was lost and I’ve kinda been solo for a while now. Now, the fat is getting trimmed. I understand that there are always going to be some hangers-on around, but the noisier ones have been pushed aside for a minute. There’s no hate, no animosity, no bitterness with anyone: it’s all water under the sand and that boat sailed months ago. There’d be no point feeling like that: it’s negative energy. All the old stuff was just weighing everything down, that’s all. Consumerism is still hype, but everyone got everything they needed. This whole lifestyle that everyone was running on, I think they all got a rude awakening. There’s a better way to manage your shit.

Right. And cream rises to the top. The good stuff stands out now.

Exactly. Without some struggle, where’s that extra drive going to come from? It’s important that we did go through that, because mad people have been weeded out along the way. I see everything right now as really positive. My personal direction now, I’m really excited about.

Do you get asked a lot of the same questions by people who come to interview you? I’ve spoken with you for a number of things in the past, but you’re one person who I don’t get tired of talking to, even if the situation dictates that I need to go over a few ‘standard’ questions to get the feature done.

There was that one interview you did (for Spinemagazine), that was kinda like the whole mid-life thing, but it was pretty full-on! A lot of bases were covered there. In your own personal archive, you’ve got some scope and context as you’ve spoken to me a bunch of times in different situations.

Now it’s more like people asking why I haven’t been in the galleries or asking if I’m still painting. It’s like you said before – ‘did you hear of me in the ’80s? I kinda did that back then and got spit out and stepped upon.’ When the whole ’90s thing happened and we transitioned into the clothing thing and doing t-shirts, it was another way to exist without having to depend on being ‘just’ a painter. Whether that was diversifying what I did or was just a way to see if I could multi-task, I’m not sure. But now I’ve got the support of this gallery, I’m actually able to move forwards in creating work and not worrying about trying to find somewhere to paint or anything, which was the case.

Now it’s just on me to produce.

Trashfilter: Do you remember this piece? For many of us in the UK, it’s regarded as one of the first real graffiti pieces to be done here.

Futura: Oh wow! Absolutely!

I remember it was at Westbourne Park or Ladbroke Grove, with a writer named Skam who took me there. This would’ve been around the time of touring with The Clash.

Vans | Rowley SPV skate shoe

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

“It has no fucking gimmicks. It’s the lightest, lowest, grippiest shoe you could possibly make. That’s basically it really.”

I could just leave this review at Geoff Rowley’s quote above and be done with it, as what he’s saying is pretty much the truth. However, considering my homeboy Charlie at Vans was kind enough to send me a pair, that’s a bit lazy… and, to be honest, these are definitely worth a bit of investigation. This isn’t your basic plimsoll.

The SPV (Super Pro Vulc) is pretty much everything I thought it wouldn’t be. Firstly, it’s really comfortable for such a lightweight shoe: I’ve had issues with such thin shoes being flimsy and non-supportive, but the SPV has a really firm heel back. The uppers seem like they could take a pounding, as the one-piece suede front section has no real joins or seams to fall apart at all.

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

The sole is, as you’d expect, flexible and allows a lot of feel for the board. Whether your feet can take the abuse of throwing yourself down sets of stairs in these like Mr. Rowley is another thing altogether, but for flip tricks and tight control, these are going to be perfect. There appears to be a high-abrasion section right where you need it and the nice waxed laces are able to take a lot more abuse than standard laces for sure.

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

Vans are really good at breaking down a skate shoe into the most basic components and then ensuring that what’s left is up to the job. And the Rowley SPV is the perfect testament to this.

R.I.P. Jim Van Doren.

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

Epiphany Skateboards | Decipher Tomorrow DVD

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Robert Prado dropped me a line to see if I’d be interested in checking out Epiphany’s new DVD. I didn’t know too much about Epiphany, but a quick look at their website – http://epiphanyskate.com – told me to sit up and pay attention. A skate company run by skaters might not be anything new conceptually, but the guys have set up a nice little brand supplying nice decks and hardware (the coloured bolts are very nice) and, as this DVD shows, they’ve got a good team of skaters to represent them.

I grew up filming my friends skating on a big-ass video camera that took full-size VHS cassettes – the only motivation was to gather everyone together and watch the months of poorly-edited film together once the video was done. ‘Decipher Tomorrow’ brought back some of those motivations and feelings to me but with a lot more talent behind it than anything I ever made.

And on that tip, ‘Decipher Tomorrow’ is a bit of a low-fi masterpiece. There are no HD sections, no frustrating skits, no 3D graphics – it’s just a perfect showcase of good skating, filming and editing. Unlike some skate films that leave you feeling obliterated at the end, this is one of the few recent DVDs that actually makes you want to pick your board up and go for a skate. One other thing that is particularly nice is that most of it seems to have been filmed in the actual streets as opposed to purpose-built spots.

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Nice style aside, the skating is as good as anything put out by ‘the big companies’. The core team consists of Josh Valadao (who skates to a dope Del/Hiero track), Christian Holt, John Davis, Robert Prado and Andrew Green, but there’s a pretty incredible friends section in there with a lot of great stuff. I don’t know the dude’s name, but someone does the best nollie heel shove-it down a set of stairs as well as a nice nollie bigspin late flip. I need to give this a few more viewing sessions to totally absorb everything, but some of the things that really stood out were:

Josh Valadao: a very smooth hardflip to manual over a gap – and a lot of nice flip/manual variations.

Christian Holt: a perfect hardflip down a 12-set and a very slick b/s double flip down a big set of stairs, done somewhere in Long Beach perhaps…

John Davis: super-nice handrail action – and a well-caught f/s heel shove-it down a set of steps.

Friends section: super good throughout. Some guy does a perfect feeble flip-out over a railing. All these guys are amazing. One skater has the most incredible orange hair I’ve ever seen.

Robert Prado: hands-down, Robert does the best half-cab heel down stairs done in 2011. Possibly even longer. Rob’s section is way too short!

Andrew Green: I’m unsure how he managed to get up and run away after the opening slam, but he goes on to destroy everything in sight. The switch 180° impossible thing down the steps at the end is pretty amazing.

There’s a nice ‘Bonus’ section at the end, after the credits as well.

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Epiphany have put out one of the best skate videos I’ve seen this year – I’m unsure if all the guys live near each other or not, but the vibe I got was of a group of friends who enjoy their own slice of the west coast. The editing and filming is very nicely done and I thought the music choices were spot-on.

Support the guys and buy your copy of the DVD here for $7.99. It’s a good investment!

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll ‘Wildcats’

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

It feels like ASICS spent a long time as observers when the collaborative craze kicked off. The PROPER crew did an incredible job on their 2007 GT-II shoe – definitely one of the best running shoe co-labs to come out – but since then the spotlight has remained on the Gel Lyte III. A lightweight runner that initially confused non-athletes by having an unusual split tongue, it wasn’t until Patta and Ronnie Fieg began playing with the multitude of panels that the masses began to take notice. And take notice they did. Look back at any of the recent ASICS releases and you’ll see roadblocks, crashed servers and campouts were the order of the day.

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

For Scotland’s Hanon Shop, up in the glorious city of Aberdeen, things got switched up a little more than usual for their latest ASICS collaboration. Instead of simply colouring-in existing panels, there’s a reworking of fabrics and construction that makes the Wildcats totally unique. I first saw preview images of these back in the summer and made a mental note to keep an eye out for them. Sitting in front of the computer, refreshing relentlessly isn’t an easy task when you’re stuck at work, but if one shoe this year was going to be worth the effort, then this was probably it.

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

The name Wildcats is a nod to Hanon’s local running club of the same name and the mustard and burgundy fits perfectly with the ‘Keeps On Burning’ Hanon branding. As a sidenote, this toasty colourway works wonders as the temperature drops here in the UK. There’s also a little something in these that reminds me of my Raleigh Burner BMX bike – count that as another plus point.

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

Dropping the usual toebox and upgrading it for a punched suede adds a little extra protection against the elements and upgrades things to a deluxe level. 3M stripes, dual branding on the tongue and the collar lining are all contributing elements that make this perhaps the best ASICS co-lab we’ve seen to date. And, reading the frantic tweets and forum posts since they dropped at Hanon on the 28th October, it seems that there are lots of people out there who’d agree.

Big thanks to Ed at Hanon for the hook-up.

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

Emerica | Brandon Westgate skate shoe

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

Anyone who knows me has probably heard me harp on about my repeatedly-broken left ankle. After the third time (back foot slipping off a weak five-stair pop shove-it, in case you suspected the cause to be something non-skate related), it’s just never been the same: it sounds like a toddler smashing Lego bricks with a hammer. And it hurts. After two hours of walking anywhere, it says ‘Fuck this’ and tweaks itself to the side. So without any decent skate footwear to roll around in, I’d be destined to stay inside, get fat and write blog posts repeatedly. Oh… Hang on…

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

So, low-tops are out. High tops are fine, but I always found them a little too restrictive in the past. So I started trawling through the recent releases to find something that ticked the boxes. A quick open Twitter conversation threw back some interesting suggestions, but the kind offer to pick something from the Sole Tech range was way too good to pass up. Have a quick re-cap of the past year’s output from Emerica, Etnies or éS (who are taking a hiatus for 2012) and it’s a hard call. The (Jerry) Hsu 2 model, the Cessnor Mid, Bledsoe Mids – all were good choices. But, with his ‘Stay Gold‘ part still ringing in my head, I settled for the Westgate model.

Before I go into a standard product write-up, it’s worth commenting on the whole worthiness of Brandon Westgate getting his own pro shoe. A fairly recent addition to professional skateboarding, you’d almost be forgiven if you thought he was just put in the mix to add another shoe to the product catalogue. In which case, I insist that you watch this following video before reading any further:

I can’t think of too many of the younger generation of pro skaters who’ve made such an indelible mark so quickly. Westgate’s part in the Zoo York video was when I first really took notice, but his ‘Stay Gold’ section was incredible. And if you haven’t seen the ‘B-Sides’ offcuts to that, you should cut yourself a 15-minute break and watch that over here immediately. Shoe-worthy indeed, especially when you line him up next to a good 90% of his fellow shelf-sharers.

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

I haven’t gone with a vulcanized sole to skate in for a while, so I was looking forwards to getting some proper board feeling under my feet again. The Westgate is double wrapped on the midsoles, which means the sidewalls aren’t going to blow out anytime soon. The STI PU Foam Lite footbed might look like I’ve just typed a load of random letters together, but it’s actually a decent piece of technology: really comfortable and fitted around the heel cup without being tight. I’d like to tell you that it can handle 12-stair ollies perfectly, but let’s be realistic about my abilities these days. I can assure you that it does handle three-stair fakie ollies and switch heelflips on flat though, so I was happy enough. The whole OrthoLite element in the footbed means that any moisture is wicked away, air flow is optimal and your shoes don’t end up stinking.

Now, where lots of models have let me down is on the standard ollie area: find me a shoe that doesn’t look screwed after a week of being scraped up and down the griptape and I’ll show you a flip-flop and bleeding toes. However, these have three layers of quality suede to tear your way through and are triple-stitched on all important areas. I’m going to go all out and say that I reckon these will still look fine after a few pretty vigorous sessions.

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

So, in short, the Emerica Westgate model has pretty much got it all. Firstly, no-one is ever going to question the ‘athletic endorsement’ side of things, so that’s one thing less to worry about. Lookswise, even if you don’t play it safe and go with the black or the dark grey options, there’s a nice green version available too. I’ve seen a photo of a great-looking black and cranberry version as well – nicely appropriate, considering Westgate’s family background – which the good chaps over at the Ripped Laces site posted a few weeks back.

Big thanks to Tom and the nice people at Emerica and Sole Tech for sending these across.

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

Gravis Footwear | Dylan Rieder slip-on

Unless you work in the design field yourself, it’s often hard to get a gauge of what goes into a skate shoe. Who is the Gravis design team comprised of and what are the individual titles?

Kelly Kikuta: Our global product team consists of Joe Babcock, Luz Zambrano, Kyle Plummer, Shinobu Mase, Takashi Sato and myself.

An obvious question, but an important one: how did you approach designing Dylan Rieder’s new pro model shoe? The end result is clearly different from any other skate shoe on the market, but there’s clearly something good going on here.

Our main goal was to design a shoe that embodied Dylan’s vision. He wanted something unique, something different. He has an eye towards high-end fashion and we interpreted this aesthetic into his shoe. Working closely with Mark Oblow our Creative Director, we injected Dylan’s style and personality into a silhouette the skateboard market had yet to see.

How involved did Dylan get with the design? Having read interviews with other skaters who’ve simply added a signature to an already-popular silhouette for their own models, it seems this was a little more involved.

The relationships we have with our team sets Gravis apart from everyone else. It’s been one of our most consistent traits from the inception of the brand. We made sure every aspect of what Dylan was looking for was brought to life. I still remember the day he tested the shoes for the first time in our parking lot. To see him be able to pop tricks like he did was validation that we accomplished something special.

Were there any other ideas that didn’t make it to fruition? Were there any unreleased samples produced?

Kelly Kikuta: Actually, we really lucked out with Dylan’s shoe! The first prototypes came back pretty spot-on, not a lot of tweaks were even necessary. Overall we were able to build a shoe that had every aspect and feature he was looking for at the time.

With a non-standard shoe – or rather a product that doesn’t rely on an existing style so much – is it a challenge to introduce it to the consumer market?

Yeah, I think the challenging part in introducing such a unique design was gaining the acceptance. We’ve always had our loyal Gravis supporters since day one, but launching such a unique skate shoe like this really tested that. At the same time we gained a lot of respect for taking Dylan’s lead and designing a shoe that had never been done or seen before in skateboarding.

Everything feels very ‘premium’ with the first Dylan model. A small number of shoes were released to a select number of stores – I recall an element of excitement that is normally reserved for the latest Nike SB or Lakai release. Was the slip-on intentionally released as a limited model?

Dylan’s shoe is not a limited model, although we offered a limited color way (the Oxblood edition) to select stores, the Dylan shoe is available to all of our skate retailers. We have a small collection of styles based around Dylan: those models really compliment what we’ve done with his first shoe and will be available to a larger consumer base.

The Gravis skate program is relatively young compared to some of the core skate shoe brands, but the product has been really strong and the skate team is one of the best out there. Do you need to keep a close eye on the rest of the industry or are things more organic?

Kelly Kikuta: First off, thank you! That’s a huge compliment. We back our team 100% and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as a brand in such a short time. Skateboarding has become so competitive at all levels these days that you have to stay on top of what the other brands are doing. We feel we have the ability to produce product that competes with the other brands and at the same time sets us apart from the pack. We want to be different and build shoes that give skaters an alternative to what’s currently saturating the shoe walls. That really comes down to being inspired by our team and bringing their visions to fruition.

With the backing of Burton, are you able to take advantage of their own research and development when it comes to creating new product?

Being backed by Burton has been helpful on a multitude of levels. Jake has been extremely supportive of what we’re doing and makes sure we have all the right resources available to us. We definitely wouldn’t be where we’re at today without the support of Burton.

What’s up next from the Gravis skate program? Is there a full team video due in the future at any point?

The launch of Dylan’s video was been a huge project for us. The guy flat out destroys it! Mo, Oblow and everyone involved in that project did an amazing job… good work guys! We’ll definitely be following that up in the near future. In terms of product, we have plans to launch a new Arto Saari model in the Fall of 2011 – look out for that!

There isn’t really much point in writing a review of the Dylan Rieder Gravis promo video. It’s a web-friendly freebie, but featuring content worthy of a premium release. I might be from the era of Ed Templeton and Rodney Mullen’s ollie impossibles, but seeing Dylan pop one clear over a bench in this video blew me away. Sugarcane in a pool? Chest-high frontside tailslide to flip out? Fakie flip over a rail, into a bank? Check, check and double-check. The little guy we saw in the Quiksilver ads grew up big.

Seeing him skating his private park with Biebel, Mariano, Marc Johnson and AVE and rolling around popping impossibles over the crowd barriers at Street League just confirms his status. I might not be able to rock a pair of jeans like that, but in the same breath I will never be able to skate like that either.

Gravis pulled the stops out with this video. Expertly filmed and edited (Greg Hunt has been a long-time favourite of mine), great music choices and minimal-but-slick graphics throughout. I hope Arto gets the same treatment when his model drops later this year.

The final thing to say – yet perhaps the most important to anyone who’s still wondering how you can possibly skate in leather slip-ons – is that I have been skating in them since I got a pair. Switching from a pair of Lakai mid-tops to the Dylan shoe is a definite head tweak. Whilst I have relied on some ankle protection since breaking my ankle for the third time, the feeling of freedom was actually refreshing. For tricks like 360° flips or pop shove-its, these give you a proper feeling for the catch.

As you’d expect, these are lighter than anything else out there. What you lose in foot security is made up for with suppleness and comfort. No laces means no frayed bits of material hanging off broken eyelets. Minimal seams and panel joins mean there are no obvious areas for abrasion too. And where you’d normally mourn the lack of ventilation holes, the clever construction is one step ahead: thin layers don’t retain the heat like padded tongues do. Thin layers don’t mean flimsy construction either.

Three weeks into my wear test and I can safely say that these are the eye-openers of the decade, in terms of comfort. The fact I can ignore the ‘no sneakers’ rule and walk straight into the pub afterwards is the icing on the cake.


The Real Video | Since Day One

The Real Video Since Day One video review

When Jim Thiebaud and Tommy Guerrero decided to join forces and start their own skate company, the name Real couldn’t have been more appropriate. From their humble San Francisco roots, Real has continually lived up to its name: the day I picked up the 49ers Tommy board and the anti-KKK Thiebaud tee, I knew this was something good. And in their twentieth year, it seems only right that a sharp smack to the head is delivered in the form of a new film.

Real’s video history is as good as it gets. The first video from ’93 (sadly yet to be reissued on DVD), ‘The Real Video’, still remains one of the best of its era. Kelly Bird skating to Steppenwolf, Jim T’s last formal video section, Moses letting the security guys know what’s up (“Not here…” “Yes here!” CLANG!) and Kelch’s EMB annihilation, it’s still one of my favourite skate videos of all-time. ’97’s ‘Non-Fiction’, ’99’s ‘Kicked Out Of Everywhere’, 2001’s ‘Real To Reel’, 02’s ‘Seeing Double’ and ‘Recipe For Disaster’ shorties, ’05’s ‘Roll Forever’, 2007’s ‘Life and Times’… the back catalogue carries some serious weight. And with that, the Real team rider history is just as strong. A broad mix of styles from the progressive and fun-loving styles of Gonz through to the sorely-missed smoothness of people like Ben Liversedge or Drake Jones, and then contrasted with the dynamite power and speed of Dennis Busenitz and Keith Hufnagel. Solid team selection, quality product, an incredible video history, well-respected company owners… That’s Real.

And ‘Since Day One’ continues the tradition of excellence. Since we saw the first trailers filtering through the forums, blogs, Twitter streams and video playlists, everyone knew that this was going to be something rather special. Set yourself firmly into the proceedings by heading over to our friends at Chrome Ball for their excellent Real Week of postings.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Firstly, the days of when you could proclaim ‘My local shop doesn’t have this: can someone upload it for me?’ are gone. You can buy this on iTunes, in either a straight standard definition download or a mixture of standard and HD footage. And it’s £4.99, in the UK. No excuses – here’s the link:

Real ‘Since Day One’ on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewTVSeason?id=426042765&s=143441

(I’m currently based in the UK and managed to purchase it fine from that link, so it should work)

For those of you fortunate to have a local store, the deluxe DVD package comes with a great-looking 100 page book. If I manage to get myself a copy, I’ll update this review accordingly to include a write-up on that too.

The opening titles and intro section use the same intro music that the first video used, the highly-appropriate ‘Streets of San Francisco’. A nice little nod to the past there, but the skating is firmly set in the future. R.I.P. Johnny Romano.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Kicking things off is new Real pro James Hardy. And what an opener it is. Total destruction of rails, steps and benches is counterbalanced with speed, some tech (the best frontside half-cab flip ever and the nollie 360° flip over the rail and into the bank was amazing) and some special guest appearances. Loved the music, loved the skating, the ender was amazing – the perfect start to the rest of the film. Jake Donnelly blows the frickin whistle with a section full of fast stylish skating, giving the cameraman some practice for the Busenitz section. Massive switch bigspin, amazing nollie over a gap and into a bank, perfectly tweaked/caught flips (switch and regular) = impressive.

Alex Perelson fucking KILLS it. One of the best vert sections I’ve seen. Amazing proper 720°s, gay twist flips, huge backside ollies, sliding noseblunts all on ramp and on concrete. This is not a token vert section: it’s one of the best things here.

Davis Torgerson has a strong section (that maybe deserved something little more powerful in the music choice?) with a lot of good stuff worthy of repeat watching. Ernie Torres and Nick Dompierre share a part and it’s incredible. Every trick, no matter who’s behind it, is really good. I’m not normally a fan of shared sections that much, but this worked really well. Ernie’s 360° nollie heelflip into the bank and total handrail crushing is incredible to sit back and watch and Nick’s got featherlight foot control over the biggest tricks (there are a couple of seriously BIG gaps here). I knew this part would be good, but not this good. Get in that hedge, Ernie!

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Huf has been with Real for a l-o-n-g time and hasn’t let his personal business endeavours and successes get in the way of his skating. One of the best styles ever, backed up with lots of speed and pop: business as usual.

I first heard about Chima Ferguson when I was on my first trip to Australia, back in 2006. He was all over the national magazines and from what I could tell, he was going to make some noise on a global scale. There’s no need to recap over his past few years in detail, but he’s risen up the ranks, turned pro for Real and with this video put out his ‘coming of age’ part. Another contender for the biggest tricks/smoothest landings award, Chima lives up to the expectations. Loads of great stuff in this part: the ollie up the ramp at the Aquatic Centre (huge and smooth), frontside heelflip down the doubles (ski gloves!), backside 360 over the rail (massive), switch backside tail down the hubba (speechless). It’s a great section.

Kyle Walker skates to Flavor Flav – always a good choice – and does his tricks big at 100mph (the smith grind down the curved rail was amazing), whilst Antoine Asselin does the same, but with complicated lines instead. Both are good.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Hell yeah: Justin Brock! This guy is (in the opening words of Stefan Janoski) ‘so fucking good’. His opening skatepark line should clear any doubts up: no need for mindblowing tricks when your natural style is like that. But mindblowing tricks he’s got, so that’s all angles covered. The 360° flip-to-ledge-to-frontside-bigspin sequence is sick. Nollie shove-it 5-0 at Hubba? Oof. His handrail antics (fakie ollie to switch feeble or fakie ollie to bluntslide to handcuffing, being two prime examples) are flawless as well.

JT Aultz skates BIG rails and 360° flips roof gaps, again at mach 5, while Massimo Cavedoni and Robbie Brockel share a section packed with difficult tricks, fast lines and too much good shit to individually name here.

Ishod Wair’s opening slow-mo/HD montage shows just how good he is. Precision isn’t the word. The nollie flip down the brick double set is on-the-bolts perfection. Great music is the icing on the top of one of my favourite sections in the whole film. Feeble to backside lipslide on a rail, the switch flip down the fountain at Love Park, sliding round the corners of kinked rails and the best frontside 270° to lip on a rail since Shiloh in ‘Love Child’. Amazing section. One of the best.

Max Schaaf has put in time as one of the stalwarts of vert skating, and his short and laid-back section is nicely put together. Whether he’s doing big lien airs or riding his motorcycle up banks, I don’t really need to see him do much more than that to know he’s one of the best to have ever dropped in.

And then there were two.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Peter Ramondetta and Dennis Busenitz probably have two of the most highly-anticipated parts of the video – and I can confirm that you won’t be disappointed. You know what to expect from both skaters and they deliver in bucketloads.

Peter skates like he’s fleeing a pack of Aids-infested zombies. Some of my favourite tricks in his section include the 50-50-to-ollie over the post, the l-o-n-g nose grind to nollie heel out on the steps, the kickflip crooked grind on the green rail and the steep 50-50 right at the end.

Ahhh… Mr. Busenitz. We’ve been expecting you. Style, power, speed, pop, trick selection: he’s got it all. If he didn’t do any flip tricks (or thread the needle on wallrides occasionally), you’d think his feet were glued to the griptape. He’ll do a 10-foot tailslide on a waist-high ledge and bomb a hill just as easily as do a bigspin fakie manual on a block. The quick combination lines he does just show off his natural ability (I’ll use this statement to link up his Battle at the Berrics match, just in case anyone missed it). Super super good.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Living up to the hype has got to be one of the toughest things when you embark on a project like this. But Jim, Tommy, Mic-E Reyes, Dan Wolfe, Gabe Morford and the Real team have delivered one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. This film made me want to go skating: what more could I ask than that?

Dig out your $10, set aside an hour and enjoy some of the best skateboarding ever to be seen on screen. Real have upheld their tradition perfectly.

– data –

Length: 71 minutes
Format: DVD ($19.99) and iTunes download

Featured skaters: Johnny Romano, Dennis Busenitz, Ernie Torres, Max Schaaf, JT Aultz, Ishod Wair, Keith Hufnagel, Chima Ferguson, Nick Dompierre, Peter Ramondetta, Davis Torgerson, Alex Perelson, James Hardy, Jake Donnelly, Massimo Cavedoni, Justin Brock, and Jim T’s sneaky footage at the end!

Bonus DVD additions (this is taken from press release: NOT authenticated yet, so I can’t help anyone trying to find the ‘missing’ Ishod part… yet anyway):

– 100 page photo book from Gabe Morford
– Extra footage includes: Philly filming trip, ATL filming trip, Austin filming trip, NC filming trip, LA filming trip, 5 days with Ramondetta, Justin’s little brother’s part, Woodward skate camp edit, ‘a year of Ishod’ in HD (as yet undiscovered?), Gabe’s slide show (with music by Tommy Guerrero) and ‘tons more extras and outtakes!’.

Real ‘Since Day One’ soundtrack:

Intro section/opening titles KnightsBridge ‘Streets of San Francisco’/Minor Threat ‘Salad Days’
James Hardy Molly Hatchet ‘Flirting With Disaster’
Jake Donnelly Too $hort ‘Blow The Whistle’
Alex Perelson Joy Division ‘The Drawback’
Davis Torgerson Brian Eno & John Cale ‘Lay My Love’
Ernie Torres & Nick Dompierre Green Eyed God ‘Treadmill’
Keith Hufnagel Tommy Guerrero ‘Yerba Buena Bump’/The Nerves ‘Hanging on the Telephone’
Chima Ferguson Cass McCombs ‘She’s Still Suffering’
Kyle Walker & Antoine Asselin Public Enemy ‘Can’t Do Nuttin’ for Ya, Man!’
Justin Brock George Thorogood ‘Move It On Over’/Boyz N Da Hood ‘Gangstas’
JT Aultz Egg Hunt ‘We All Fall Down’
Massimo Cavedoni & Robbie Brockel The Stooges ‘Down On The Street’
Ishod Wair Tommy Guerrero & Monte Vallier ‘The Drain’/James Brown ‘Get On The Good Foot’
Max Schaaf The Dutchess and the Duke ‘Reservoir Park’
Peter Ramondetta Exodus ‘Only Death Decides’
Dennis Busenitz Brian Eno ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’/The Modern Lovers ‘Roadrunner’
End credits Tommy Guerrero ‘The Paramour and the Pugilist’

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise VHS T-shirt

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

Finding myself ‘reviewing’ a t-shirt for Trashfilter wasn’t something I originally planned to do when I started the site. It seemed there were enough others doing that kind of thing already and the web didn’t really need another unknown idiot wasting bandwidth with more of the same. To summarise, it’s gotta be something particularly good for me to take the time to photograph it and spend an hour or so typing, all the time unsure whether anyone will read it.

And, much to my girlfriend’s annoyance, my house has more than enough t-shirts in it already: I certainly didn’t need to spend $26 (plus international shipping) on another one. Hell, at the time of writing, I can’t even afford next month’s rent.

But then I saw this.

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

Hopefully, you’ll have already seen the Chrome Ball Incident site and our interview with Chops here on Trashfilter back when his Nike Dunk SB dropped in 2010. If not, play catch-up quickly and we’ll meet you in the next paragraph.

Instead of plastering a nondescript logo or forcing some stylised typography onto this shirt, Chops took 12 screengrabs from a variety of classic (ie. important) skate videos. Some are more obscure than others (I consider myself reasonably proficient in stuff like this, but the G&S Footage and Sick Boyz grabs took me a while to work out), but that’s all part of the fun. What I didn’t realise until later on was that all the grabs have in fact already been decoded on the Heel Bruise site, with a nice little paragraph about each video: see the end of this review for the link.

So, whilst it’s a nice enough tee anyway, all the contextual stuff made it a winner for me. Watching that kid exhaling in a bin full of trash at skate camp in ‘Hokus Pokus’ or being told to ‘kiss my ass and go home’ by a hobo in 1281 was all part of my childhood. Thanks to Chrome Ball and Heel Bruise for taking me back there again.

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

You can buy the tee here, and I suggest you do so before they disappear. There’d be nothing worse than seeing someone less deserving rocking one. Oh, and if you were stuck wondering what the chimney grab was from or who it was complaining about ‘breaking some wood’, then head over here to Heel Bruise and get the full rundown.

Thanks to Richard at Heel Bruise: watch this space for a chat with him about the Heel Bruise project shortly.

Warning: The Art of Marc McKee | a book by Winston Tseng

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

My affinity with everything World Industries-related might’ve died with the birth of Flameboy, but there’s no denying the back catalogue. A third of my infatuation came from Rocco’s business model and his marketing schemes, another third from the ridiculous skate talent all World teams contained – but another hefty portion came from Sean Cliver and Marc McKee’s incredibly good artwork.

Winston Tseng put together this nice little monologue of McKee’s artwork for Mark Batty Publishing: Winston’s own artwork is worthy of review, as he’s the Art Director at Enjoi skateboards and has created loads of amazing work himself.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

This book isn’t the massive portfolio that it could have been, but it’s a nice portable size: whether you’d risk reading it on the bus is another matter, as there’s plenty of McKee’s confrontational graphic work in here to offend the most stoic of commuters. Fucked Up Blind Kids? Yes. Natas ‘Devil Worship’ board? Henry’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ deck? Yes, yes, yes – they’re all in here and they still look as good as they ever did. I liked the nod to the Randy Colvin ‘Censorship Is Weak As Fuck’ graphic on the cover as well.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

Alongside the board graphics, there are some original sketches (I was amazed how much work went in the Jovontae Turner ‘Napping Negro’ board) and some editorial work for Hustler magazine, which was interesting to see although I can’t say I’d want it framed on the wall.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

The portfolio has been compiled in chronological order, so when you get towards the end of the book, you start encroaching on Devil Man, Flameboy and Wet Willy territory. And to be fair, it’s given a fresh piece of contextual reference: you can see the brand strategy document that details the later years of World’s product licensing. After years of getting under everyone’s feet as the annoying underdog, Steve Rocco, Rodney Mullen, McKee, Cliver and the rest of the crew got the well-deserved last laugh.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

Whilst I still think there needs to be the definitive book about the whole World Industries story published, that’s another topic altogether: in the meantime, this book gives a glimpse into the archives of one of the most important artists in skateboarding’s history.

Data: 96 pages/21.6 x 16.2cm/ISBN: 9781935613237

The Doomsday Papers | Mysterious Al at StolenSpace

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

When I was working in the centre of town, I’d usually check out most exhibition launches, regardless of the artist. Free drinks, the same crowd of familiar faces and occasionally some interesting artwork to see as well. These days I’m far more selective with my free time. Traveling for an hour into London to see an exhibition is less appealing unless I’m a true fan of the artist’s work. So when I got an email from Mysterious Al asking if I’d like a sneak preview of his solo show, ‘The Doomsday Papers’ at the Stolen Space gallery, it was an easy decision.

When Trashfilter last caught up with Mysterious Al, he was preparing to collate his work in order to get a show together – and it’s obvious that he’s been very busy. Put any preconceptions aside: whilst there’s enough of Al’s older established (and much-loved) style here, the work in ‘The Doomsday Papers’ is a totally new level. Beautiful screened pieces with spraypaint and collage details are well positioned alongside some new wooden maquette pieces, with a subtle theme of masks and monsters running throughout everything.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

The first thing you’ll notice is the painted shed in the middle of the gallery – more on that in our interview with Al below – but as you walk around the space, you’ll see a sacrificial altar overlooked by Bela Lugosi-eque renditions of Amy Winehouse and Kate Moss, a huge photography-based main piece and a collection of Mayan mask prints that would make a modern-day headhunter proud.

Eager to interrupt Al while he was putting the finishing touches on the exhibition, I grabbed him for a few words about his exhibition.

At the end of the feature we did back in 2010, you mentioned that you were planning your first solo show… and now here it is!

I know! When we spoke about it, it was really just a plan: nothing had been set in stone. So I’m just really lucky that the gallery let me do it and that I had enough ideas to produce all of this work. And I’ve actually got too much work! I’ve never been in that position before.

So, which pieces did you work on first for the show? Are all of these new pieces?

Yeah – all of them are new. I was looking at masks and collage work, which really gave me a new lease of life. For so long I’d been going down the commercial route – and I loved it – but for ages I’d draw something and just couldn’t turn it into a finished thing. I didn’t want to just copy what I’d been doing on the computer: that didn’t work. But by doing this, I’ve stripped it back and got into doing things a little more abstract. Collage is just good fun. It’s immediate, you don’t get bored doing it and I’m really into it at the moment.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

What inspired you to look at masks as a visual theme?

Actually, I should say, there’s none of this bullshit about ‘Oh, it’s something to hide behind’: I just really like the aesthetic of a mask. That’s all it is. I went to the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill: they’ve got a collection of witch doctor masks and it’s the coolest thing in the world. If someone came to see a witch doctor to get treated for toothache, the doctor would make a mask for toothache and do a ritual with it. And then that mask would go into a box until another person came in with toothache. And over time they’d make all these different masks and trade them with each other. And I just really like the idea of this. Some of these masks are so stylistically current, they look like they could have been made this year. These got me interested in Mayan art – tongues sticking out and that kind of thing – which I really like the symmetry of.

Over the years, we’ve all seen people doing things with wrestling masks and that kind of thing, but these are very different.

I want to take things even further, which is why I’ve started doing things out of wood as well. I don’t want to start making actual masks, but this seemed like a good next step to try out.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

These pieces are all really bright and bold, which works really well as a contrast to some of the darker pieces we’ve seen from you over the past few years: layered paint onto top of black and white photography etc.

Yeah, over the years, a lot of my work has ended up being really muted – I really like desaturated colours and things like that. I think that works fine for digital work, where you can really make the dark areas bold, but for painting I find it makes them look really muddy and boring. Going into this Mayan theme, it’s given me the perfect excuse to try using some colours that I’ve never really used before. I was finding myself going to Chrome & Black and buying lime green paint and sky blue stuff: things I’d never really used that much before. It feels quite liberating.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

Did you plan the pieces beforehand or did it naturally evolve into what’s on the walls now?

When it had to be a show, it had to be more concise: it had to be a bit of a story. This is my first solo show, so I did really have to think about what I was doing. I did a few things that are a bit more commercial or accessible, like the Amy Winehouse pieces, but the overall theme or theory behind everything here is different kinds of monsters. Different monsters in history all brought together. Influenced by Mayans, influenced by mythical monsters – werewolf, forest men, yetis – and monsters from the past and present like Dracula, the Phantom of the Opera, Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse…

It’s really nice to see a loose evolution in your pieces here. I can see where you’ve continued what you were working on when we last spoke. So, let’s talk about the scary-looking altar…

You know when you think of bad religion and Satanism and things like that? People always think of pentagrams and stuff like that. What I think is more interesting is English occult and Wicca and witchcraft. Weird shit made out of bits of stick and stuff. When I lived in Cornwall, we’d always find these sacred stones. We’d go out for walks on a Sunday and we’d always find these weird creepy things when we were out: piles of stones with burn marks on them – proper ‘Blair Witch’ type things, but before that was even around. Just evidence that something had happened there the night before. I didn’t find it necessarily sinister, but it always interested me.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

I started thinking about sacrificial things and offerings and that kind of thing. Not so much in a morbid or evil way: when I was in Thailand, people would leave things out. Little deities and stuff. There’d be a crumpled postcard of a God or something… and then a can of Coke and a bag of crisps next to it.

And the paint-covered shed in the middle of the exhibition?

This… this is my studio. This is where I make my work.

So, hang on, this is where you made some of the work for the show?

No, no, no. This IS my studio: we moved it into the gallery!

Wow! How long is the show on for?

The show is open from the 4th March through to the 27th March.

It’s a big thing for me, it’s my first show, I’m really pleased with how everything looks and I just want to get back on people’s radars a bit. I’d been going down the commercial route for so long that I really missed doing the pure art stuff. I’m going to carry on with this momentum of work and I’ve got some more ideas with the wooden pieces. StolenSpace are looking after me now and I’m hoping to get involved with some of their other group shows and exhibit through some of their sister galleries and just see where it takes me really.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

Too often you go to a show and there’s some lovely work, but it all looks a bit random or disjointed. This show is really cohesive, without being boring. You can get as deep and wanky as you like when you write about gallery shows, but at the end of the day you can narrow it down to this: all of the work here looks fucking amazing. I’d put any of these pieces up on my wall at home. And that’s probably the highest praise I can give.

Go and see the show, pray at his altar and try to pick up one of Al’s pieces before they’re gone.

– Exhibition and gallery details

Mysterious Al presents ‘The Doomsday Papers’
4th March – 27th March 2011

StolenSpace Gallery
Dray Walk, The Old Truman Brewery
91 Brick Lane
London E1 6QL
United Kingdom

OPENING TIMES
Tuesday – Sunday
11:00am – 7:00pm

P: +44 (0) 207 247 2684
info@stolenspace.com
www.stolenspace.com
www.mysteriousal.com

Nike Sportswear | Nike Lunar Macleay+

Nike Lunar Macleay

The Nike Lunar Macleay mid-top, which aside from the Lunarlon sole unit looks like it could have fallen from the ACG catalogues a decade ago, has quite rightly racked up more than a few words online. Everyone loves it. And when you see it for yourself, you’ll understand why.

I’ve been a fan of the ACG range for a long time. Back when my friends and I had transcended the whole Chipie jeans and Chevignon sweatshirts period, we moved from Air Flights and Travel Fox to more rugged footwear. Nike unleashed one of my favourite models of all-time around this point (the underrated Son of Lava Dome) and I became a fan of the often quirkily-named footwear that came with hiking trails, mountains and woodlands in mind. The Lunar Macleay, named after a walking trail in Portland, is right up there with the very best of the range, perhaps sitting alongside another old favourite of mine, the Air Approach 150 from 1996.

Nike Lunar Macleay

Using the Lunar Elite last, the first thing I really noticed when wearing these out and about was just how light and comfortable the sole unit it. Going into a diatribe about various cushioning systems is all very easy when you’re presented with strange and experimental technologies, but the Lunar sole is without a doubt one of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. Almost makes me wish I hadn’t slept on the Lunar Elites (which use the exact same last) from a few months back.

Nike Lunar Macleay

There have been a few colourways of this model in the shops so far: the ink and taupe models here were accompanied with a bright cactus version and a stealthy black version around the same time, but it looks like there are other colourways to come.

Nike Lunar Macleay

The ink version has a leather upper, with some embossed molded panels along the sides, whilst the faded taupe edition has a completely different and slightly ore lightweight synthetic upper. Other differences are the Swoosh on the side (embroidered on the leathers, plastic on the taupes) and the use of 3M on the lighter pair is reappropriated in stitching on the darker ones. D-ring lacing systems and proper hiking laces round things off on the outside, whilst the comfortable lining and pull-on tongue continues the style and comfort inside. For those of you more in-tune with your fitness levels, these will work with the Nike+ system as well.

Nike Lunar Macleay

Just when I thought I’d got enough pairs of shoes this month, Nike go and do it again. Watch for the other colourways in your local Tier Zero spots, although it seems that some colourways haven’t yet covered a global radius. More please!

Thank you to Phoebe Lovatt for the generous hook-up on these.

Addict footwear | Addict Scout shoe

Addict footwear Scout model

There’s rarely a situation where you can’t find an appropriate pair of sneaks to wear, but I’m starting to realise that broadening the wardrobe selection a little bit probably isn’t a bad idea. But, seriously, finding a decent style of shoe to wear isn’t very easy. I’ve got a pair of Clarks Wallabees for weddings/funerals/court hearings and some very similar-looking Paul Smith shoes for the same thing, but they’re a bit too… smart.

So when C-Law got loose with the new range of casual footwear at Addict, it was inevitable he’d be conjuring up something I’d actually like to own. Let me introduce you to the Addict Scout model.

Addict footwear Scout model

Those of you familiar with Japan’s well-respected Visvim brand will definitely draw similarities to their FBT model: there’s a trainer-style sole, a similar silhouette and suede uppers. But unless you’re happy to drop several hundred dollars on those, you’re not going to be getting a pair.

Rather than a straight facsimile, C-Law and Addict spiced things up and gave it their own twist. You’ve still got the comfortable shape, but things are simplified by leaving the ‘skirt’ off and focusing on other eras. I wouldn’t normally be down for any desert boot styles – a foot like a dirty Cornish pasty has never looked good – but these are about as far away from that as you could get. These have a refined shape but still show enough chunk to know they won’t fall apart in the first ten minutes.

Addict footwear Scout model

The D-ring lacing system is perfect for speedy fastening (with nice waxed laces) and the tongue takes aspects of sneaker comfort but looks a little more fresh with a really nice suede label. one thing that I think is really nice (albeit slightly unimportant), is that the packaging really looks quality. It’s clear that you’re getting something nice as soon as you see the box.

The midsole is EVA with a nice gum outsole for extra style points and it’ll give you enough grip when clambering home from the pub.

Addict footwear Scout model

Addict footwear Scout model

I’ve just started wearing them and although some people have said they feel quite snug, I’m glad I went a half size down. The best thing to do is try ’em on before you buy ’em. There’s a nice thick insole that actually does its job well and holds your heel well.

In three decent colours and at less than a third of the price of anything similar, you really won’t go wrong with these.

Addict footwear Scout model

You’ll find the Addict Scout in all the usual spots – Crooked Tongues, Size? etc. – but you can read a little more about them on Addict’s own site: http://www.addict.co.uk/products/sku/footwear/scout_desert. Based on these, I’m really looking forwards to seeing next year’s selection from the guys.