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You’re not a true New Yorker unless you’ve heard of, met or hung out with Dave Ortiz. An integral “cog” in the development of street culture, Dave has had his hands in everything, with highlights ranging from his past boutique endeavor Dave’s Quality Meat, riding for Zoo York, collaborating with power house brands including Nike, and now with his anti-trendy store Dave’s Wear House and fixed-gear specialist shop ANOTHERWHIP. As if all of these accomplishments weren’t enough to inspire you, Dave also delves deeply into the art world; his recent exhibition “The 20 Year Retrospective” at the prestigious ArtNowNY gallery in the Chelsea district drew a record-breaking crowd on its reception night. We sat down to catch up with this renaissance man of lower Manhattan.
What have you been up to for all this time? It seems you were quiet for a minute.
I’ve been painting and focused on Dave’s Wear House, building a new customer base.
What are you working on now?
A bunch of stuff, we are working with GoPro and a local non-profit called DCTV to do a short film contest judged by Elijah Wood. We have an exclusive capsule collection that we will be carrying from the New York Red Bulls soccer team. We have launched a bike brand called ANOTHER WHIP starting with single-speed bikes. And a bunch of other stuff in the pipeline that we can’t tell you yet.
How did your recent retrospective art show come about?
Well it started with me clearing out a storage unit and finding a shitload of paintings that were super dope and no one has seen, along with all these new paintings I’ve been doing. Then I was at a Ro-Star opening which was dope by the way, and my friend Ryan Keeley was outside and said “hey I been seeing all these new paintings you are posting, wanna do a show at my friend Joey Gross spot in Chelsea called ArtNow NY? We sat down they told me about their gallery in SF/NY. Turns out they knew and rep some people I knew so it was a perfect fit and that’s how it went down.
How big has art been a part of what you do now and in the past?
My first store was a concept that I came up with as an art installation – it was a butcher shop that sold clothing, sneakers and skateboards. My new store isn’t directly connected but I do feel they both benefit from each others existence, through networks of people and connections.
“Well it started with me clearing out a storage unit and finding a shitload of paintings that were super dope and no one has seen, along with all these new paintings I’ve been doing.”
David Ortiz speaks about how his retrospective art show came about
How does the aesthetic of Dave’s Wear House differ from other projects you’ve worked on?
This shop is about products that you would use every day not based on fashion or that collector vibe. That shit is done if you ask me. We just put together a collection of products you wouldn’t normally see next to each other but we feel they work hand in hand.
What’s it like to see the whole skate scene blow up into this big and largely commercial affair?
It’s weird because other than the top contest guys I think the Pro Street Skater is making less money now than in 1998 when I was at Zoo York. If you are talking about skating being on TV and commercial success yeah that is awesome. I love to be able to watch every now and again on ESPN.
Any regrets over parting ways with your eponymous store?
No regrets, I really like what we are doing at Dave’s Wear House. Also three years ago it was very clear that DQM stood for Dave’s Quality Meat. From what I can tell they are moving away from the words and branding the letters, DQM. It’s kinda like Kentucky Fried Chicken is now KFC. So as time goes by DQM is less associated with me.
“No regrets, I really like what we are doing at Dave’s Wear House. From what I can tell they are moving away from the words and branding the letters, DQM.”
David Ortiz speaks on any regrets leaving DQM
Are you still interested by the same stuff then as you are now? Probably not?
I think I’m into different stuff, as I’ve gotten older in the years. I am looking at things with a different set of eyes if you can say that. This time I’m about doing things that are good for people and trying to make this a better place. But I am still into skating and BMX, That’s the same and will never change.
Can you touch on the importance of the skateboarding, BMX and fixed gear scenes in New York?
It is super important to me cuz it’s what I’m selling nowadays. There are so many people on bikes and boards that are using modes of transportation other than the MTA. I feel it is important to be part of this movement. It brings me such joy to see a person riding a bike that he or she got from our shop. It’s the best feeling in the world cuz I know that I have changed that person’s life.
Which one do you do more these days?
Depends on the day, for commuting to work and daily meetings I use my fixie. During lunch while working I skate to the sandwich spot. On my day off I either ride my 20-inch BMX at the skate park, or my 24-inch BMX at the dirt track in Williamsburg.
DQM has been a part of New York’s skateboarding culture for 10 years plus, what’s changed in skate wear since the inception of DQM?
Skate WEAR, what a funny term. It’s all fashioned out. It’s all knockoffs of fashion brands like A.P.C. or Opening Ceremony. Those are real fashion brands and they don’t claim skate. Lots of skate wear brands knock them off or try to be that fly guy skater thing.
“I think I’m into different stuff, as I’ve gotten older in the years. This time I’m about doing things that are good for people and trying to make this a better place.”
David Ortiz speaks about his interests and if they