This made us want to go out and skate with a big crew.
Our good friend & partner Tom Botwid has a little video portrait up on Youtube where he talks about his journey through life, art & business. There are some little gems in here about building, friendship and internet perception versus real-life situations.
Filmed & edited by one of Poetic’s own Peter Johansson we find out some intimate details about the man that once dressed as Bond…James Bond.
To further delve into clichés this video piece might not stir things but it might shake them up.
We had the pleasure to combine the launch of our all-new “Stefan Marx Issue” with the Berlin premiere of Nike SB’s all-women video “GIZMO”. Now you might think, “What do those two things have to do with this article I am about to read?”, well, our trip had Lea Schairer on it and she skates for Nike so when we got the call to ask if we wanted to talk to any of the girls we had a plan.
The plan was this: Lea would integrate and spend some time with her team-mates while they would go through their media rounds, a Pappelplatz skate sesh and finally the premiere of the video. She would then take a moment, regain her thoughts and note them down for us all to read.
I mean what is better than having a woman evaluate a major moment in all of skateboarding but women’s skating in particular. Nothing right?
Well, you better start reading now!
Drawings by Stefan Marx
Intro by Roland Hoogwater
Text by Lea Schairer
Finally, there is a queue
Right before the video started I already tried to fight my way to the toilet but failed, because after three beers I definitely was ready to pee! But I was too busy talking to people and was too excited for GIZMO to start that when I was finally able to go in, the projector was already switched on. Since I didn’t want to miss anything I told my body to hold it back. I actually forgot about it watching the video, also because there were two guys standing next to me who couldn’t stop saying: “Dude! What?!”, literally every trick they saw. I was wondering where they had been in the past five years. It’s not like you wouldn’t expect those girls to blow your mind. Because their level of skating just went through the roof during those years. These people are – with a handful of others – currently the best female skaters out there! Thinking of a new skate video being released featuring any pro there is, you would already expect a certain level of tricks… I think we should definitely be in a time where you should expect the same from female pros.
I was fortunate enough to spend the afternoon with the crew of the GIZMO video, which means Sarah Meurle, Elissa Steamer, Nicole Hause and Ashley Rehfeld, who is a co-producer and athlete coordinate at Nike SB. We met at Civilist, we went skating and we talked a lot. It’s great to see that with skateboarding we had a connection right away – I knew I’d get along with these women, even though I had never met them. All of our experiences and impressions about skateboarding coincided.
It was also great to feel the vibe that gets shown in the video when skating with them in person. It was impressive how the skate park sort of shifted their attention towards these women.
We talked about gender equality, equal or at least adequate prize money at contests, how well women are integrated in the skateboard scene now, that, even though all of us have been skateboarding for 11-17 years (Elissa more like 30 years), it’s just now that some of us have the possibility to live from it – despite the already existing high level in women’s skating many years ago. Having trouble finding a sponsor in earlier ages and now asking yourself: well, is it really the skating that drives the companies to support us or is it just because girls who skate are so marketable?!
Fuck! That is definitely a major downside of female skateboarding becoming more popular.
It’s important to know that GIZMO is NOT the first all-women skate video – there have been a few, all privately financed and produced. It’s the first one a big company has produced and put its name behind; which is amazing and is a big step in the right direction. It probably means that more will follow… already shown by the premier Vans had in London with their Bali skate trip video.
Unfortunately, we didn’t speak much about the video itself and how everything came about. And then again, there is actually no need for that. When you see the video, you see the same things that you see in any other skate video. There are struggles, there is the pressure everyone puts upon themselves because they want to deliver the best part possible. There are the super fun times, going on tour with your friends and just hanging out, there is the hype after landing a tough trick and there are the times of doubt.
With my bladder still filled, a few drops went into my pants when I saw the tricks, where those two guys behind me yelled the loudest. There are nose grinds on handrails, bs tailslides flip out, tre-flips over motorcycles, super high grab less alley-oop bs airs in deep-ends, and much much more you will be impressed with.
Even though it can be a little annoying having guys scream into your ear for 10 minutes straight, I was obviously also flattered by the guys’ comments, because it means they have now realized on what kind of level female skating is. It also shows that men are starting to dig the different styles of those women skating, mentioning things like: ”Damn, I wish I could do this trick like that!”. It’s just that the implicitness is still missing!
There were also several other people who came up to me with different perspectives to the video. For example, two super shy girls saying how much they enjoyed seeing me (and the other girls) skate. This has never happened to me and I found it more than flattering. I can’t imagine how many times this must have happened to the GIZMO team over the past days… the motivation for those who are starting to skate has probably risen to a maximum watching this video. It’s just so cool that now there are female role models (several) in skateboarding and that these are all over the world and not just in some far away place. I think this is a big push for skating in general!
All in all, it was an overwhelming vibe. It was so great to see everyone being hyped about the video. There was a lot of cheering and yelling, clapping and laughing. An honest: “Ouhhhhhhhh” when seeing a bail and the same honest: “Whaaaat?!?! Yeahhh!” when seeing a banger. The place was packed, the drinks were cold and people even started bouncing to the tunes of the video.
When the video was over I remembered what my bladder was telling me, also realizing that it should move right now to let it out! I hurried, in the expectation that at video premiers it’s not a problem for girls to just walk straight into an empty booth. After finally fighting my way to the toilets, I found myself waiting in a super long queue… Fuck! That is definitely a major downside of female skateboarding becoming more popular.
Watch GIZMO again here.
And whoop there it is, one of the best things Nike and all of its participants have ever put out!
Obviously, we had the honor to premiere the video last Saturday and we would be lying if we said we didn’t watch amidst people screaming and cheering. Enjoy!
Some of our favorite skaters to watch are ripping up Malmö in this video! Enjoy the witches in Sweden’s home of skateboarding Malmö.
A jazzy thing from the Scandinavian side of life with Klas Anderson.
Also featuring a Female European Skater of the Year: Sarah Meurle.
Our friends over at the Poetic Collective hit us up last week and put a little X-mas present under our digital tree. The gift was filmed throughout the latter half of the year by Makke Bengtson and Tom Botwid, it features both the last rays of the sun and the cold of the winter winds.
Instead of just gifting us all with this video the collective gifted themselves a new team member as well, Santiago Sasson now rides for Poetic! Merry Christmas Santi!
Enjoy the video and celebrate the holidays from the birth of baby Jezus to Hannukah or Kwanzaa!
since a triptych consists of three parts, it is safe to say that this is the last one in the series. And having watched this we feel like “the collective” saved the best for last. Enjoy!
Last year I got to know Robin Pailler on a trip to Malmö, where he told me about this project he was about to film for Poetic Collective. The vibe Robin’s work creates matches perfectly the smooth skating of the Poetic guys, and thus results in a tour clip that makes the viewer long for a skate session on a hot summer day.
Featuring Tom Botwid, Sarah Meurle, Samuel Norgren, Nils Lilja, Peter Johansson, Johanna Juzelius, Johannes Packalen, Klas Andersson, and Simon Källkvist.
A big part of the reason we came to make the Malmö issue where the two Mortensen Brothers Sondre and Amandus. We watched all of their edits and like DRIV3R, where one of the brother’s drives and films while the other one skates, it shows a good example how things are in the life of a Mortensen. They were just different, they seemed to be doing their own thing and it made me very curious. I wanted to know what kind of people they are. So, I started to ask people about them.
“They just keep to themselves, they go out alone film each other and edit together. Sondre even makes some of the music.”
Tom Botwid told us, “They don’t even really curse!” – “What, who doesn’t curse?” – “They do, kind of but they have their own words.” Things like that made us want to go to Malmö to see what’s in the Swedish water and to really get a taste of what it’s like to be around them.
Now, over the years, the city has become somewhat famous for its “non-spots” and the people who skate them. An “if you don’t have it just build it!” attitude has been in the air for a long time. Pontus Alv, Nils Svensson and their friends built up Malmö’s image by executing ideas like these. They did not do it like they did it in the US. They took things and did it their own way, which made it relatable to all of us in Europe. It was clear from the first moment that I saw them that the Mortensen’s seemed to build on that tradition but at the same time the way they are doing it had a whole new feeling to it.
A good example would be to say that after Joy Division came New Order. The band regrouped and started to try and find a new sound – their own sound! The journey to find their own, ended up creating some pretty good and maybe even classic albums after.
“No band ever survived the death of their lead singer, so when Joy Division became New Order Nobody expected them to succeed.”24 Hour Party People, 2002
Now obviously, Mr. Alv is neither dead or gone. To this day he is a driving force in Malmö but the thing is that nobody expected Malmö to become this big and we thought that like Manchester in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s it will produce a lot more interesting people, projects, and styles. MADCHESTER is no more but maybe “MADmö” is around the corner, this new work of documentation by the Mortensen brothers definitely shows all of the above.
Video by Sondre & Amandus Mortensen
Photos by Conny Mirbach
Text by Roland Hoogwater
When I got invited to go on this trip I can’t tell you how excited I was. It was a chance to go and meet some of skateboarding’s new faces. Not random new faces but people that are part of an important wave in our culture. These people have names, names like Savannah Stacey Keenan, Lacey Baker, Josie Millard, Charlotte Hym and Sarah Meurle, the latter I was less excited to meet because I knew her.
God! All of them are probably cringing while reading this, I know I am while writing it. But they are all worthy of praise because they are doing something important. I saw Josie struggle a bit when we were at the bar and some people came up and presented her with a fresh possibly alcohol infused dose of praise. Not because she wasn’t thankful but because it can be shocking to the person that is being praised to see the people they influence. Her voice was saying “Thank you, I really appreciate it” and her eyes were saying “Should we go back and meet up with the others?”.
I was hyped because the hype is real and all of these girls are really cool human beings.
Charlotte is working on her Ph.D., she is studying the effects of the mother’s voice on newly born babies. Savannah is into geography and fashion, Josie besides riding on the board owns a seriously beautiful motorbike and ever since this trip she is obsessed with doing long handstands. Sarah is studying fine art in Sweden, during this trip, she told me she used to be a Christmas tree salesperson in Canada “The best “real” job I’ve ever had”. Finally, Lacey Baker is always painting, drawing and trying to have Gaga moments, which basically means listening to Lady Gaga together and singing along. What more could you wish for?
I don’t know, do you? There is more and if you want to delve deeper grab a copy of our Holiday issue at your local shop. Right now we are pleased to show you what went down on this trip to Paris. Enjoy!
And for our Youtube lovers click here.
Video by Augustin Giovanonni.
Text by Roland Hoogwater.
Photo by Conny Mirbach.
Two weeks ago I got two DM’s, one from Sarah Meurle and a little later one from Josie Millard “I am coming to Berlin with (insert the others name.), want to hang out?”. I did want to hang out, it would be cool seeing them again after our days in Paris at the end of the summer. So I texted the people from the Nike SB Shelter and asked them if I could join the “Girls Night” session, “Of course you can.” they told me. “Would you guys be down to feature it on the site?” “Why not, we want to know more about the girls’ side of the Berlin skate scene.”
Finally, last week I stepped into the skatepark and spent some time with my friends Sarah and Josie but I also found some time to talk to two of the skaters present at the event. They had a lot to say and thus this little feature turned into a full interview.
Pictures by Kyra Sophie.
Text and Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Let’s start off with both of your names:
Pernilla Stadler, like Adler (German for eagle) with the st in front (laughs) and I am Lea Isabell Uhle
Can you tell me why you came to this “Girls Night” tonight?
I have been actively skating for about 4 years now, Skating has been the most important thing in my life for a while now. Two months ago I moved out to Berlin and I wanted to find other Girls in Berlin that skate. So, when I saw the Facebook event I directly went to apply, I really appreciate that they are organizing an event like this.
I was planning to come here after I finished my day at the University and my boyfriend sent me the Place Mag Instagram story.
He told me, Josie and Sarah, we’re going to be there! He knows how much I like their skating, so I went.
How did you get into them?
I love their skating, I got into it via the Poetic Collective Instagram and it took me a while before I figured out that Sarah skates for them. After that, I liked the brand, even more, cool product, lifestyle, skating and on top of that a girl on the team! I think the fact that they support girl skateboarding is great. Sarah really inspired me.
As far as Josie goes, in England, there are so many girls ripping it is crazy! I fell in love with their style of skating and that is how I found out about Josie. Can I tell you a story? One time at night, my phone lit up on the nightstand and I looked at it and it said @josielorie liked your post! I couldn’t sleep after that, my heart was beating so hard! For me, they are role models.
What about you Pernilla, are they your role models too?
I know a lot of female pro skaters mostly from the USA though but I did not know these two.
Who are the skaters that you look up to then?
Four years ago when you (Pernilla) started those role models were not a prevalent as they are today though.
A lot of girls saw footage of other girls skating through Instagram and I think it showed them that skating is not only for guys. They can get out there and do it the way they want to do it. I also believe that the attention that some brands put towards female skating inspires a lot of young girls.
It is really motivating to see other girls skating!
So is this event bringing girls together or are there already some crews out here? Are girls skating amongst themselves or are the crews mixed?
I am from Wuppertal in the Ruhrpott and there I used to skate with the heckmecks (an all-girl crew) and when you skate with girls only you start to see skating in a different way. When you are out with the guys and you see them jumping down 12 stairs it feels like you don’t know where to start. But when you are out with the girls you have more opportunity to learn and support one another.
Yes! There are some crews in Germany, Facebook and Whatsapp groups do exist. But I am still getting to know the Berlin scene, it does seem a bit underground.
What do you think about the fact that Nike SB put out a shoe especially for Women?
I think it is great! Even before that I really like the fact that they put out things in unisex sizes. I really like their shoes and I haven’t seen other brands put out shoes specifically for women yet.
How important is the fact that they did not use any typical “feminine colors”?
Me personally, I am not that into those type of stereotypical colors, a lot of girls that skate don’t wear girly clothes when skating. I don’t want to be boxed in like that.
I do really like wearing pink and lilac (laughs).
What about the media, are we as a whole covering what is going on in the female skate scene?
It is coming but in my opinion, it is still not enough. We see female skaters in magazines but it isn’t at the point it could be at.
Also at contests like the German COS Cup (*editors note other contests as well), you see the difference in prize money. Of course, you could argue that at the moment maybe the girls are not bringing in the amount of interest that the guys are but as that changes those things should change too.
I feel the same, you do notice a change though.
Stefani Nurding is featured in our current “Funbox” issue.
I really like her, she skates in some cool outfits! Of course, I like to wear some baggy dickies from time tot time but Stefani shows that you don’t have to give up your feminine side, you can skate in all different sorts of looks.
Do you agree with that Pernilla?
I do really like baggier clothes, I only buy unisex stuff.
Of course, you don’t have to lose your feminine side by wearing baggy clothes. Is there such a thing as your skate clothes?
I wear what I wear, I don’t really tend to change my style. This is how I look all the time.
My closet is split in half (laughs). Sometimes I like to wear my skate clothes but sometimes I like to put on something else…… But because I try to skate every day I end up wearing my skate clothes almost every day (laughs).
Both of you are not originally from Berlin Lea Isabell you are from the Ruhrpott area and Pernilla you are from?
I am from Sachsen.
Do you notice a difference between the girl scene there and here?
I come from a small city where I was the only girl skating. So I always skated with guys. In Sachsen, there wasn’t really a scene for girls like here in Berlin.
In the Rurhpott the scene was bigger, I had my squad of girls. The heckmecks where there, at the same time girls from all over the different Ruhrpott cities would meet up and skate together.
In Berlin it feels like the girls are more dispersed, they skate alone or with a group of guys, a real group of girls that skate together is not something I have seen here. But I haven’t been here for that long, so maybe it is not what it seems, I hope that events like these will change that.
Alright! Thank you so much for talking with us. Enjoy your session.
If you have been following our Instagram you know that are working on something with Lacey. If you were ever doubtful of her watch this video and see why she is not only a great person but also an amazing skater.
The Poetic brand is growing steadily with every new collection they put out, their crew is energetic and wants to get around. So they packed their bags and paid a visit to the city of light, a.k.a. “The city with the worlds best pavement” the French capital city of Paris.
Everything around us is designed. Someone, some time figured out what it is going to look like, how it is going to work and where it is going to be put. Everything is there for a reason, everything has a purpose.
But what if we start reimagining the purpose of our surroundings? What is the role of the architect if we start using the objects around us differently than what was intended?
As I make my way into the city from the airport, the rickety subway line I’ve been riding so far is replaced by one which reminds me more of a movie poster for Metropolis – huge caves of concrete and glass echoing the footsteps of hundreds of commuters as we collectively make our way up to street level.
Up here, the metropolis is mostly gone. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a building in the inner city that reaches higher up than the caves of the subway reach down. Instead, the facades looking over the street tell of a kind of lost grandeur – beautiful old buildings worn down through the decades.
I came here with a group, and as always when we travel together, we came here to skate. But this time I am focusing as much on the city as I am on the board.
“Our everyday life in the built environment
is far more complex and intriguing in reality.”
I meet Gergő Hory at Studio Gallery – a small art gallery and studio space a few miles west of the city core. As we speak, Gergő is very thoughtful, it seems he does not want to rush into someone else’s point of view, but would rather consider his own. When I ask him about Budapest though, he smiles and gives me a reference.
“I heard someone describing Budapest as an old lady once – a bit dirty, she’s seen better times. She has a makeup on which is a bit old fashioned, trying to pretend that she has some kind of greatness and elegance but in reality, she is a little bit poor and not as elegant as she wants to be. Some kind of lady who pretends she is a bit younger. Well, if you really want to experience the atmosphere of Budapest you ought to listen to Tamás Cseh. He was like the Hungarian Bob Dylan you know, with one guitar and very very strong verses. The melodies are melancholic but very lively at the same time, listening to it I think you can grasp something of the essence of this city.”
Gergő moved to Budapest in 2007 to study architecture and is now doing a research project while working as an architect. Coming from outside and being a student of architecture, he has been able to see how the city has changed over the years.
“It was very different some five or six years ago, that time I think it was more inspiring than it is today. When I came here the now very famous ruin bars were not so famous. For example, you could walk into places like Szimpla and spend the whole day there brainstorming with your friends and working on projects. Today some of those places are either not existent anymore or they are full of people who go there to party. Tourism has really transformed some of these places.”
Going into it, Gergő knew very little about architecture. He had been interested in art and drawing before, but it was the multidisciplinary nature of architecture that attracted him. During his studies he was also active in a group that did different kinds of interventions in public space, aiming to provoke the city dwellers to take notice of their surroundings.
“When the new metro line was still under construction, the whole city was filled with barricades. It lasted for almost 10 years I think. It was a very haphazard and expensive project which created a very chaotic situation for people. We wanted to make it even more chaotic by building a fake construction site for a fake metro ventilation shaft on a very narrow street. To provoke, and to show people that it is insane what’s going on.”
“As a member of the group I experienced during the projects that the everyday life in the built environment is far more complex and intriguing in reality than in the abstract world of most university design courses.”
After a while, the local residents started protesting and demanded it would be taken down, which in this case was actually the success of the project – to raise awareness about our everyday physical environment.
Perhaps the way we relate to space and what demands we put on our surroundings is not very apparent to us until our surroundings get in our way. But thinking about the others out in the city looking for places to skate, I can see that skateboarding is an exception to this rule.
In skateboarding, the relationship to space changes dramatically; everything around you is either an opportunity or an obstacle, and this can be very different from the experience of a pedestrian or driver – an obstacle walking or driving is many times an opportunity for the skateboarder. This is my strongest relationship with architecture, a physical and experience driven one, one that leaves me with sore legs and hands so dirty it turns the tap water brown when I wash my hands in the evening.
Talking to Gergő I get another perspective. He is working on a research project about public spaces being used for something entirely different than what was intended. It is something which skaters are very good at.
In my research project, I deal with these types of uses of public spaces which are not intended but just happen informally. I think it’s a great thing. They are things that a designer can hardly cope with sometimes, but you can learn from it, of how people relate to space.
I think architecture is good if it serves many possibilities for different uses, and it is not over-determined, over controlled. However, people’s behaviors will find their way even in the most controlled area, if they want to use it differently they will use it differently. In many cases, it leads to very interesting situations. You know the classic example – there’s a park with designed pathways but users usually don’t use the designed pathway but the shortest path instead.
The phenomenon Gergő is talking about is called Desire Paths, and it is happening everywhere. It is of course often based on a need (“I need to catch the bus”), or maybe a disdain for the alternatives (“no way I am walking all around this thing!”), whereas in skateboarding it is more related to some kind of push and pull play with objects and spaces. What they have in common though is that they both stem from the question what if? What if I could just cut through here? And as with desire paths, once someone answers that question, a hundred others will follow. In a park, this creates a beaten path, in skateboarding, it is how new skate spots are born.
“It’s not about intentional design,
the people themselves design the city.”
Moving through Budapest, I notice one very public display of this behavior. The Freedom Bridge, one of the many bridges connecting the two sides of the city, Buda and Pest, is a massive steel construction used by cars, trams and pedestrians alike to cross the water each day. Except nowadays, not everyone who walks onto the bridge aim to cross it. The construction of the bridge mimics that of a suspension bridge, but in place of wires forming the classic arcs, the Freedom Bridge uses broad plates of steel “hanging” between the two towers. In the middle of the bridge, the structure reaches down low enough for a person to climb, and on warm evenings you’ll find people scattered all over this oversized bench enjoying the last of the sun reflecting off of the river.
“In the case of the Freedom Bridge, I wouldn’t say that it was designed badly just because the designers probably didn’t think about that people will sit on it. It’s not about intentional design, I mean the people themselves design the city.”
It seems architecture is not just a building or a structure, it is the relationship between an object and its occupant. The architect and the user both produce architecture — the former by design, the latter by use. However, one object can have an infinite amount of different relationships with different individuals.
This begs the question of authorship. If the purpose of an object or a space is tied to use and not to form, then who really creates the city?
“Use is a challenge for design since the designer cannot have full control over it. No matter how controlled and deterministic a building or a space is, human behavior will find the loopholes and implement unexpected creative uses. This uncontrollable side of use fascinates me.
If a street or a bench is used by a skateboarder for skateboarding, then it is not a bench anymore. But only for that moment.”
I say goodbye to Gergő and head out on the street again. When I get back to the others, I notice something else – not only do they have their own relationship with the objects around them, but they are also actively questioning them, constantly changing them, twisting and turning them, both physically and mentally.
“I think a building is a manifestation of a social network,
a way of thinking and a way of living”
Of course, the most literal change is the marks left behind – chipped curbs and benches, dark marks on walls, ledges, and rails. This is one of the most common explanations as to why we should not skate somewhere – it is the reason we got kicked out from Fővám Tér by the Budapest river side for using the small plateau as a skate obstacle – and it is often put in terms of destruction. But I can’t help but think that it is only half of the explanation, because while the marks (and the sound) may be somewhat provoking, perhaps the bigger provocation is going around saying things are not what they are, that they are not what they should be, and in doing so claiming the space as your own.
“You can say a building is a piece of art, but I am not really interested in that. I think a building is a manifestation of a social network – a way of thinking and a way of living, these patterns of usage then creates then the physical form. To me, this point of view is more interesting. The buildings, they don’t change much, but the usage changes very rapidly.”
In this way of thinking architecture is not solid, as its concrete foundations might suggest, but instead incredibly fluid, existing only in a temporary space between the object, the user, and the way they use it at a specific time. And skateboarding might just be one of the most elaborate displays of it.
Gergő Hory is an architect living in Budapest. He works at PRTZN – Partizan Architecture, a studio he established in 2013 together with friends Zoltán Major and Péter Müllner. The group that he was a part of during his studies was called Space Detournement Working Group. Gergő is currently doing a research project surrounding the unintended uses of public space.
Video edit, interview, and text by:
I have the feeling that I stumble over the name Sarah Meurle quite often lately. Besides her skating and photography it seems to be her open-minded personality that causes people’s attention worldwide. Recently, she even got interviewed by the Dooonuts Mag, which is, if I’m correct, a magazine from Seoul, South Korea. The reason we like to share this interview with you is first and foremost that we appreciate her work a lot and secondly we like you to read it as a preview for her little contribution in our upcoming print issue as well. Shout out to Dooonuts, too! Read the full interview here (English version included).
Thumbnail by Sofie K Austlid
Photos below by Sarah Meurle
Robin Pailler has been around the block a couple of times, he knows his strengths and he is not afraid to talk about his weaknesses either. He has been responsible for some of the more enjoyable edits this year, videos like Cleptomanicx’s Stadt.Land.Skate and his depiction of Remy Taveira stood out to us. His latest work just dropped on our site yesterday, so we had a little chat about that and more.
Let’s start with your latest work, how did you get to know the Poetic Collective?
I think I discovered Poetic Collective about a year or so ago, probably around the time they released Surfaces. I just really loved the whole vibe they had going on, it had this really stylistic feel, the way it was edited, the use of Marcel Duchamp’s voice, it just seemed really different from most skate videos/brands out there. I think just after that they introduced Sarah Meurle to the team who I’d met a year or so prior and got on super well with, so I was stoked to see her on the team and it just seemed like a really tight knit crew with a shared vision and really artistic approach to skateboarding.
Tom Botwid told me that making a video was your idea, leaving you with complete creative control, a special thing to do for a brand with a strong image.
Yeah, the project happened pretty random actually, I bumped into Sarah Meurle at the Bright earlier this year and she introduced me to Tom. We got to talk and I mentioned that I’d love to get involved in any future projects, so we exchanged details and kept in touch. A few months later, I was planning my trip to CPH Open and was going to the Vans Pro Park Finals in Malmö the following weekend, so from there I realized I had like 4-5 days free in between. I reached out to Tom, asked him if he’d be down to shoot some stuff and we got the ball rolling. In terms of my input adding to the overall look and feel of their company, it’s a bit of tricky one. I think what really helped was that Tom showed complete faith in me. He didn’t try to tell me how to shoot or what sort of vibe to go for. He made it clear this was my project, so there was no pressure to try and fit into any image so to speak. He wanted it to be my own independent vision featuring Poetic as opposed to me trying to emulate a Poetic video.
How important are the scenery, the city and it’s spots to you when creating a video?
I think in terms of scenery, the city, architecture etc. it always plays quite an important role in the stuff I do. Seeing as a lot of my previous videos stem from a documentary approach as opposed to pure skate clips, you kinda become accustomed to capturing as much b-roll of your surroundings as possible. It kinda becomes secondary function because cutaways play such an important role in the editing suite when it comes to making documentaries. Malmö itself has some fascinating architecture, too. I guess for those guys they’re used to it, but I was really in awe of stuff like Santiago Calatrava’s “Turning Torso” building, or even the Central and Hyllie Metro Stations by Metro Arkitekter. Swedes just have a good eye for that stuff and I couldn’t help but be impressed by the look of the whole city.
More in detail you work a lot with sound in this edit fading in and out even mid-line. What prompted you to do that?
I’ve always been a fan of playing around with diegetic and non-diegetic sound, which again possibly stems from documentary work, but I’d be lying if I said it was all pre-meditated. Seeing as a lot of what we shot was on super 8 and somewhat impulsive (plus the fact I was shooting the whole thing on my own), I didn’t always have time to ensure I was recording sound externally. The use of fades on a lot of occasions is simply playing with the smooth, gradual transition of the edit as opposed to an abrupt cut off sound entering or exiting.
At the 3:14 mark you have that line with the hippy jump, then a cut and the line continues did you film that with two camera’s simultaneously or did you make the skater do it twice?
Haha, yeah shout out to Samuel for that, sorry for making you do it twice mate. I wanted both angles on super 8 but I always feel bad asking people to do shit again, especially when you’ve just met them. Luckily, Sam was super cool with it, he would’ve done it again anyway, don’t be fooled by the baby face, he’s a beast.
Music is something that is important in skate videos and to skaters in general. Can you tell us about the music that you chose for this video and why you picked that style?.
Yeah well, Tom’s brother Paul is a super talented musician and he actually composed a lot of the pieces for Poetic’s previous clips, so I kinda wanted to continue that. Tom put us in touch and we discussed the use of ambient reverb sounds, which I’m a massive fan of. Paul actually composed a whole 8-minute piece that was super dope, but I only used the first minute or so in the end. I had been struggling with music choices and one morning whilst on the road, ‘Holding Horses’ by Colleen randomly came on shuffle and I just knew I wanted to use it in the clip. As for the final track, it’s a classical piece by Paul Misraki from the film Alphaville. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a complete film geek. And perhaps being half French, I’m naturally really heavily influenced by the early work of Jean-Luc Godard. I can’t help but want to pay homage in some form. I think both Tom and me are really similar in our love for conveying emotion through music. We are both suckers for that “romantic epic-ness” in music, you know? That shit that gives you goosebumps.
How does this project vary from your past videos?
I guess the major difference is that this was purely a skate edit. Most of my previous work has been documentary driven, so it was especially refreshing to break away from the constraints of following a narrative. Quite often my work has focused on certain personalities within the skate world, offering a somewhat intimate insight into their character and everyday life, and often a lot of those pieces are shot within a short time frame. It can be an almost invasive experience for the subject. They’re obviously very conscious of the image they’re portraying to you, their sponsors and I guess the internet as a whole. There is a lot of pressure for you as a filmmaker to build a good rapport. You have to gain their trust, all whilst pointing a camera in their face, asking them to divulge a lot of personal information.
You also filmed a video for Cleptomanicx recently.
I guess I was also really fortunate in that I’d filmed a skate trip in the German province with Cleptomanicx a few months prior, too. That was the first time I’d really produced a piece that was purely skate driven. I was lucky in many ways because I really feel Clepto and Poetic have a similar vibe and principles. Both crews have that super outgoing family vibe and in both cases, I felt they really showed a lot of patience towards me. There is always that fear when meeting a crew who’ve never heard of you, never seen your work, are they gonna be like “alright who’s this kook?”. They might think you’re from MTV or the fucking Ride Channel and I have a very different approach to film skating, there is not a lot of fisheye in my work. Because I’m lanky as fuck, so I really suck at it. I’m never gonna be like a fucking Ryan Garshall, Tor Ström or Ben Chadourne you know? Those guys are absolute fisheye machines! I’ll leave that shit to the best. So I guess in that sense my technical approach is way different to the norm, so it’s all about earning people’s trust, in that, you’re gonna produce something they dig but perhaps in an unorthodox style. In the end, it’s all about that love and support you show one another within skateboarding, that’s what makes it so special.
All photos by Robin Pailler
Robin Pailler hooked up with the people from Poetic Collective in Malmö and received total creative control to document the group as he saw it. He chose to mix up different styles of filming with music that was in part created for this clip, something that goes wrong more often than it goes right but here it works like a charm. Enjoy the video!
Poetic Collective is a brand that is trying to do things in their own way, the name of the company suggests that there is a group of people working on the project and that is the truth. The company has its roots in the art world with multiple artists or art students contributing to the collective look and feel. We had a talk with Tom Botwid about Poetic’s new collection, their team riders, the nostalgic vs. the contemporary, and drawing inspiration from outside of skating. We are happy to present their new collection together with Tom who provides some extra context to the whole thing. Enjoy!
This is your sixth collection isn’t it?
So much has changed from our first collection up until now I am sitting in my apartment right now and I have a board from each collection and the first one only had one t-shirt and one board and I did that while I was still studying art in Berlin. There I was making a lot of things that were very conceptual and I wanted to break away from that and make something that would speak to me aesthetically but didn’t necessarily have that strong conceptual background to it. So I talked to some people and they were interested so we made some boards without thinking too much about it. Just making something that you like to look at and skate on. Since then we progressed a lot, the first video I did the filming, my brother did the editing and we got a lot of good reactions. Now it is a proper company that is growing fast, maybe too fast when you have a normal job as well and then I feel like we progressed a lot aesthetically as well. We were trying to do something different and over time we dared to take bigger risks and that started growing us more and more into our own. The basic idea stayed the same, though we draw our inspiration from outside of skateboarding. I.E. when a new company comes along and has graphics inspired by an 80’s or 90’s company they are still referencing skateboarding and “skate art” but there are so many possible aesthetic influences that can be introduced into skateboarding. So to me, it was very limiting to only look inside skateboarding for inspiration. So much in skateboarding is wrapped up in nostalgia right now.
I noticed that Sarah Meurle has her own board can you tell me how that happened.
I think it is nice both to show the skills she has combined with her interests in photography but also to give her a platform that will draw attention to the fact that she is one of the best female skaters in Europe. She has been working hard and she has been sponsored for a long time already and done so much so we want to give her a platform and the good thing is skateboarding has been opening up to female skating as well.
I see Sarah’s board more as that she gets to do something with her photography than as a pro board, then we would want to get more guest artists in to do a series. We want to invite people in that fit in with our themes that at the same time allow us to reach over to other platforms and draw in different audiences. As for Sarah, it was important for us to let her do this on her own terms because a lot of female skateboarders only get portrayed by men and we wanted to have her express herself as she wants.
So do you select riders of their interests? Is that a factor?
Not of their interests but I do want them to have an understanding of what the company is about and I want them to be able to relate to that and be able to stand behind the ideas and product we produce. Because as a smaller company I can’t offer the riders that much so I feel it is important that they really want to be a part of it and are willing to invest themselves. Not everybody on the team has a big art interest but everybody has an understanding of what we are and are trying to do.
I know what you mean, sometimes I watch a VX1000 filmed skateboard video and my girlfriend says “Did they film this in the 90’s?” and the crazy thing is I don’t even notice the fact that the quality looks vintage for me the VX1000 is still up-to-date.
I thought about that but you do notice when something is very contemporary, like the clips Johnny Wilson is making, that instantly feels like today. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like VX footage, the nostalgia works but when I stop and think about it I want our stuff to looks contemporary.
But when you come to clothes and boards it is hard to do something that is not pre-set for us. Meaning that you have a body to work with and you have the shape of the skateboard reinventing those are big challenges.
That is why you need those other outputs like video, so you have more freedom still, we always try to keep an open mind when it comes to those two things. Then again references can be fun! We are doing the Muska thing in this collection which is ironic because he is moving away from skateboarding into the realm of art. At the same time, it’s fun because some will get it immediately and other will be like Muska who? First, we wanted to call that the noseslide stuff but this works better.
So for the Muska thing the colors were set but how do you guys choose the other colors that make up a collection?
In the beginning, we worked a lot with black and white, which are art references, we also had a red dot in reference to the selling of art but then Free skateboard mag came about and we decided to drop it. But as we progressed there was so much black and white being used in skateboarding that we felt like we wanted to work with colors more. A lot of the colors we use come from paintings and looking at things we want to use color tones that are not that in your face, we want to have it flow nicely together and combine that into something you would want to wear, even as a grown up.
Even as a grown up (laughs)!
To me, pink for instance has always been the opposite of what is black & white which are like “hardcore cool” and pink transforms things into something else and that is interesting. For a while, though I was doubting the pink on Sarah’s board because it seems almost cliché because she is a female but it actually worked well and she liked it. To me, the pink that we used doesn’t represent gender it represents something softer.
We are a group of people that hang out together and skate together but at the same time, we don’t want to push that part as a “cool” thing. It is not like ‘we are the shit, fuck everybody else’, it is more like a love thing and to me, pink represents that.
Alright! So since you are definitely into balancing things out well, how did you choose what type of clothes to make and what kind of fit to use?
I look at a lot of fashion outside of the skateboarding realm and as I said before that connects back to the point I made earlier that influence can come from different directions. At the same time, we still make a lot of basics as well. At the same time, I would like the company to grow so I can do some more obscure stuff as well. As for the fit, we spent a lot of time finding the right fit but it’s hard cause the next color way can have a different fit.
What about the boards?
As far as the boards go there is a lot to choose from! But the thing is people have their own preferences, they always say what about that shape what about this? I like them how we make them now and a lot of people do so why change that?
So what kind of people would you love to collaborate with?
Karin Mamma Andersson who is one of the biggest Swedish painters that is totally removed from skateboarding I wouldn’t necessarily want to do that Mark Gonzales guest board. I like something that is so far out that it becomes interesting.
Catalog photos by Nickolina Knapp
Lifestyle photos by Robin Pailler