Josh Stewart - Portrait by Sam Ashley
Josh Stewart is a good friend of Slam City Skates. When this idea for a regular feature on the blog arose he was one of the first people we reached out to and also one of the first to get back. We would like to thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to have a look at this. I'll explain the idea first and we'll quickly move on to the pictures. Having toyed with the idea of a regular column on this blog I soon settled on it being as visual as possible. Asking someone to come up with five photographs is a far more interactive thing than a straight interview and potentially reaps more rewards. It's wide open, it encourages a narrative but could just as easily be accompanied by a caption or none at all. 5000 Words works on the mathematics that a picture is worth 1000. That's more than enough of an introduction for this new column which should speak for itself...
I had been making skate videos for about 5-6 years at this point and had already done 3 videos based around the skate scene in Florida. So I started trying to work on a project that involved skaters from up and down the east coast, particularly dudes that were still under the radar. And decided to call the video "Static". I wanted to do a cross-country filming trip so I got a crew together and we left Tampa. We met up with Jake Rupp in Washington DC and set out for California. I had never really met Jake but I was a fan from seeing him skate in Tampa Am contests. From Washington DC to San Diego Jake destroyed every spot we stopped at and he did it all so casually it was one of the sickest things I've ever had the pleasure to witness. He filmed his entire part on that short 3-4 week span. And when he did this frontside nose slide to fakie in Las Vegas I think it was when it really settled in how special his part was going to be. I was shooting this photo and Ed Selego actually filmed it. To this day that was one of the most memorable tricks I ever saw go down in person. Jake Rupp is a legend.
On this day Ricky Oyola had literally not stepped on a skateboard for over a year. He had a hernia operation exactly one year and one day before this photo was taken and this was his first time on his board. He had just taken the 2 hour bus ride from Philadelphia to NYC and met us at the house and then we skated to catch the train into Manhattan. The second he started pushing we could all see his demeanor change, you could see how happy being on his board made him. He did a kick flip first try. I had my little point & shoot camera on me and snapped this pic of him pushing by. This photo just perfectly captured that moment and you can see how stoked he was to be cruising on his board again. So sick.
Around 8 years ago I got Quim Cardona's number from someone and random called him out of the blue. I think that there were maybe 2-3 skateboarders left on my wish list of classic skaters who I had always wanted to see have a Static part, and Quim was right up there at the top of the list. He agreed to come meet up with us in Miami where we were filming for Static 3 at the time. I picked him up from the airport and I felt like I was picking up a movie star or something. I hadn't felt that way about meeting a skater since I was a teenager. We pulled into downtown Miami straight from the airport and he was like "Let's skate! Let's film something". So we pulled over at this street gap spot and Quim skated over to a fire hydrant that was literally chest high. And he cleared it first try. Right off the fucking plane. So I pulled out the VX and rushed over to film it and that line ended up in Static III. Still to this day, I've never see anybody ollie anything that high in person. And he did it fresh off a flight from JFK to Miami. I shot this portrait of him later that day at another spot. I was fanning out on him hard. He's magical. And skateboarding culture is far better because of him being a part of it.
(Funny thing, I just now noticed that weird tag on the wall that says "Dirts win". That's Danny Renaud's drawing. He was the king of the "dirts". I had no idea that was even there until right now)
This is a fairly recent photo I shot of Danny Renaud skating with us in NYC while we were finishing up Static IV earlier this year. I dig his form and the aesthetic of the light in this photo. But the whole point of including it in this piece is just the fact that this kid was told by doctors that he would never walk again. He fell 9 stories and crushed his legs. And here we were watching him doing a smooth switch crooks on a tall ledge. Incredible. It's shows that there's not much that can keep us from the things we really love. Danny is living proof.
We had been filming for 'Static 2' in Barcelona for a couple of weeks and I wanted to have his part open up with him writing a post card to Paul Shier and then have the camera pull back to discover that he was writing from some crazy location. The idea for Egypt popped up and tickets were super cheap so we bought them immediately and then 2 days later we were in Egypt. That trip was incredible. Egypt was insane. At one point I opened the door of a cab to get out and another cab sped by and ripped our door off. And Kenny paid off the guards at the pyramids to let him film a trick in front of the Great Pyramid. The US had just invaded Iraq over the whole "weapons of mass destruction" thing so we lied and told everyone we met that we were from Canada. But even after all that my biggest memory from that trip was that I went on a random internet date with a local Egyptian girl while we were there. No shit. For a while we suspected that I had been set up by a kidnapping ring and that I'd be held for ransom when I took a cab 30 minutes out of Cairo to meet up with her. But I survived. And we even got some skate footage out of it. Definitely one of the best trips I've ever been on.
You can shop for DVD's from the Static series HERE