FNG: Interview with C.R. Stecyk III

Multimedia artist C.R. Stecyk III has seen massive projects achieved in the world of photography, design and film. Having first made his mark back in 1971 at the Zephyr Skate Shop, Stecyk continues to innovate as evidenced by his latest film, FIN, with Hurley. Recently, FNG had the opportunity to talk with him about an array of topics. The full interview with C.R. Stecyk III can be read at FRESHNGOOD.COM, while choice excerpts appear below.

When and how did you start to take pictures?
I was always in the vicinity of cameras as my father had both a darkroom and the predelection to record the events around him. His course of practice, which he imparted to me via example, was to have mastery of the basic skills and then to use them to document his surroundings.

What are your first memories about surfing?
I grew up around the beach so surfing was always very much in evidence.
There were boards all around on the beach, so I just started borrowing them. Soon I owned one, and then two and then more. Steve Hawk who was the editor of Surfer magazine, claimed in print that he counted over 100 boards in my studio. As a trained newspaper correspondent, I don’t think Steve was prone to exaggeration. But personally I never totaled them up. They were merely tools to me, how many hammers and nails do you need to do any conceivable job that might come up? I never viewed myself as a collector. My conception was to accumulate raw materials and devices that were relevant to my active inquiry.

We know the word “Dog Town” came almost by chance but how did you come up with the Dog Town aesthetic?
The attitudinal stance of our environment was reflected in the art. The neighborhoods were blended in our region and they reflected the diversity of the residents. All communication of our shared values had a hybridized aspect as a result.

What are your thoughts about today’s skateboarding scene? Business and marketing are changing, or have already changed, the soul of this culture?
Skateboarding is a unique activity in that it is an inherently viable transportation form, that is also a culture, is sometimes a sport, in many instances is an art and is also a business. The soul of these activities is riding and adapting terrains and gaining energy from that. That is the basic premise; to adapt and improvise whatever is there and to travel into another situation, where the process is repeated on and on, in perpetuity. However the practitioner chooses to interpret that is correct. You can skate in place on a corner, push your ass cross country, seek, find and grind abandoned suburban pools, professionally compete/perform for large audiences, build a ramp in your backyard … All are equally valid. Market and economic forces are an influence, but if the skate industry or society itself were to cease functioning there would still be skaters. They would be harvesting/repurposing old equipment and riding the ruins of the industrialized past. Skating will always prevail.

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