About a month ago, I was asked to be a speaker at Vancouvers 24th volume of Petchakucha.
Without hesitation, and without knowing what a “Petchakucha” was, I said “of couse, that sounds fun.”
Well as it turns out, this is a pretty big event held at the Vogue Theatre that sells out.. I wasn’t really nervous, until the morning of the event, when I found out that I would be presenting last..
Now all of a sudden I felt pressure to perform in front of the 1400 or so in attendance.
If I was somewhere in the middle and totally blew it… who cares, no one remembers the middle people that suck, right ? but when the last guy blows it….
there isn’t a video or anything like that of my presentation, so I thought I’d share my 20 slides and an outline of my story with you here..
The idea behind the event is that you have 20 images that will be shown for 20 seconds each….
and somewhere in that mess, you should make some sort of point.
I figured the only way to really start something like this is to set it up with what your life currently is… Kitty and Me, this is it.
This how most of my mornings start…
In my introduction, they made fun of the fact that I was from Red Deer, Alberta… Well, I showed them!
This is what it looked like, when I was birthed upon this earth…
Born from a shooting star and brought down from the clouds, on a cloud, a little, fat, blonde locked, ball of joy.
Things soon changed though..
At age 13, I found skateboarding, and a band called Gwar.
My home situation wasn’t ideal so I spent 99% of my time rolling around town with my friends trying to kill ourselves by jumping off everything in sight…
This is how your classic 90′s “fuck up” kids life looked. I’m not too sure how I managed to escape and become who I became today.
Oderous was my Father figure, and skateboarding was my means of expression.. I never saw it, but my friends said I was “evil” thier parents called me “the Devil” and a teacher once told me that I was “incapable of being serious” Oh and Nora at Allrose asked if I was Gay?
4. Art as Expression
Growing up, I found it very difficult to express how I felt verbally, I still do to this day.
“Art” became a way that I could say exactly how I felt, without feeling like…. I was bothering anyone, or going to be judged in some way.
Art became my safe place, to share but still sort of hide how I felt,
“Dear Father” was a perfect example of that.
Growing up I hated my father. I hated him right up until the day that he died in 2002.
I didn’t cry for for even a second, I felt literally nothing…
When I was 8 years old my father drank and drove with me in the car,
when he lost control , swerved across the 2 lanes of traffic and we were hit by an oncoming car.
I remember seeing an image of the accident in the newspaper.
The red car the woman was in was totally fucked, and they needed the “Jaws of life” to get her out…
I also remember the little picture of my Father next to it, saying he was in jail.
The car struck the trunk of our giant brown 80′s Crown Victoria, displacing it about 3 feet to the side…
We spun a mellow 720 and hit the ditch.
I was sitting less than a foot away from where the car hit us, and sometimes feel lucky to be alive.
This incident immediately led to the separation of my partens, and I was crushed.
Up until that moment my father was my hero, A brilliant athlete, cook, funny man and artist in his own right.
His first night back I stayed with him and begged him to stop drinking…
He ignored me, walked away and mixed up another cocktail..
I didn’t realize how much his death and everything surrounding it bothered me until I started to read some of the things I was writing in and around 2005.
“Dear Father” was a painting/ video I made in one night, around what would have been my fathers 62 birthday.
I recorded myself writing him a letter, one that I would have loved for him to read.
I don’t off the top of my head remember it exactly, but as the image here shows, I wrote that I hated him, and I hated that… Something I don’t think I had ever expressed to anyone.
I also referenced his will, which I then read quietly over the video, well hidden under the music…
5. Writing as Expression
I didn’t like this image much , but it was the only example of something I wrote where you could see what it says
Art,was the place that I could say all the things that I wanted to say. I hate you, or I miss you… Or in this case, call myself out as a liar. This one has actually a pretty hidden message… one that I’m not about to share but I like it. I think this piece was called “O K_I_am_a Liar”
Or “you make me smile”. ”Somethings more beautiful” was the name of this piece.
I chose to use this image because if it’s contrast to the majority of my other work.
It was the first piece I had made of a girl that literally stopped me in my tracks. I met her at a party, the next day we met by her house and the next we shoot this..
That night I made this and 1 other painting.
We spent every possible day for the next 22 months together after that..
Growing up I had never heard of DIY.. “Do it yourself” was just how we did it…
This video was the first time I saw that other people were like me in the sense that, they were making things happen happen with little to no means.
They saw what they wanted, and however possible, they did it.
In 1995, I wanted to make a snowboard video… I didn’t know how to edit, or have a computer… so I made due with what I had, A VCR, a VHS tape recorder, and a stereo.
The result was super ghetto, but it was that kind of thinking that made me who I am today.
CAPiTA.. in 2001, I was a professional snowboarder for then Vancouver/ Seattle based CAPiTA snowboards.
We were a collective of individuals that shared that same DIY mentality.
A few people really inspired and pushed me into the person that I am today.
Human 5 (Blue) , Jason Brown (Green), Tyler Lepore (Yellow).
I think back to those days and im really impressed with the group of people that came together so organically.
Guys like Tyler Morten and TJ Nelson who to this day remain good friends.
Human 5 were the frist people that I ever met that were “Artists”.
They took what was in their head and consistently made it into “art”.
Tyler was someone that, rather than talking about doing thing… Was doing them.
This Zine came out of a conversation that started on his back deck at a party in late 2003..
Something along the lines of “How fucked would it be to make a naked zine, and sabotage the new CAPiTA catalog be?”
That would be rad in my mind … turned into Gregovoytek in his and was produced… FUCKING BRILLIANT!
Jason Brown, pushed me to share everything… He encouraged every line I drew, every word I wrote every idea I had.
Jason inspired me to be more than just a professional snowboarder..
I was always someone that drawing and doodling but I never saw anything I had ever made as “art” until I met hese guys.
H5, Jason, Tyler, CAPiTA… Their influence spread to my friends also.
Truth Zine was a small mag that I helped my friend and roommate Mike Carter with..
The idea was born at a strip club on the south end of Calgary.
I was driving Mike over to the mall to meet his girlfriend, but we were super early… Soooo with an hour to kill we crossed over to the “French Maid” He started talking about how he wanted to start a zine… Snowboarding, Art, Music and Prono ! Perfect! … This I remember because, I had never won anything at the peelers before, and I haven’t since.
That day though, I bounced 3 bucks off of Miss All NIght Maddy McKnight into her bucket to win her poster.
When Mike and I went to get it signed, I told Maddy that we were working on a magazine, that she should give us her number… Her number, Nope! but her email, yes!
Thus the porno element of Truth was born.
Aside from Maddy and being one of the main subjects in Turth, my only other contribution was the cover and back cover of issue one.
I remember suggesting to Mike that the cover should be a photo looking out, and the back cover, should be an image looking into his room where he made the zine.
Truth went on to make 4 brilliant issues.. and helped land Mike some pretty heavy gigs..
Through my sponsors advertising, Mike met some people in California, that eventually hired him for some free lance work while in school, which helped him land a job at JDK with Burton… eventually leading to a position at Nixon and now owning his own design firm…
This was just another image from Truth issue 1.. Mike used me for a 1/2 day in the life… which I found kind of interesting since it actually became the next 12 years of my life.. Snowboarding, painting and sleeping.. that’s who I was.
12. World Wide Web
After a few years, CAPiTA and my life started to change, The people that made CAPiTA what it was to me had mostly left, and well… Art was something that I was using more and more as a tool to communicate when I literally could not say anything. In 06-07 we filmed a movie called “First Kiss” with CAPiTA…
I knew that nothing would ever match what we had done that year, and that I would never want to film with another film company, so I started my own. Thesnowboardrealms.com and tjschneider.com were born.
The whole goal of the sites, was to connect with people.
Yeah there was Facebook, myspace, friendster and all that shit.. but this was something that was mine and would be more personal.
“Seventy Some Faces” Was a project 100 percent about connecting with the people that viewed my site anonymously. While in Europe I bought a small note book and painting set.. I had no idea what to paint but had the idea to make portraits of the people I share my art with. 3 months and seventy some images later… this book and video was made.
An interesting connection that also came out of my web site was with the woman that found and wrote a book on Egon Schiele, and his time in Prison.
Egon Schiele is by far my favourite artist, so to connect with someone who has spoken to his sisters, and multiple people that sat for him, his was pretty amazing.
15. Tears and questions
I used this image just as a transition between art and motorcycles..
And kinda segway from how I was feeling so frustrated about art and snowboarding…
Why do you always paint girls crying?
The answer to that shares a ton about how I feel, and why I make art.
For anyone reading this…. this is a pretty big secret of mine that very few people know.
Why nude woman ?
I paint nudes because of their immediate association with sexuality, their vulnerability and because they are beautiful, I love their lines.
I use women because I can hide myself in woman so much easier.
No one will look at a portrait of a woman, and think or know, that it’s actually me crying and sharing everything,
I’m far too insecure for that…
Everything, is a self portrait, They’re just as another person.
The last few years I’ve actually been pretty happy, which, is a bit of a double edge sword.
Art for me, usually comes from a pretty unhappy space.
From that unhappiness though, came something that I personally found very beautiful and rewarding…
So many wonderful paintings and videos, came from something that hurt me so tremendously.
I started to associate my paintings and videos with who I was, and the only thing that made me special.
If I made nothing, I felt like I was worth nothing.
I think there is a line in the Basquiat movie that said something about “the total of one mans worth could be seen in someones art …” I cant remember, Ill look it up later.
My last girlfriend said she loved the work I had made, and was making when we met.
As I fell in love with her, my art suffered, and it frustrated me to no end…
I still produced videos and paintings, but I was desperately trying to make pieces that gave me that same satisfaction, but
the “feelings” were borrowed, and no longer “real”.
Art has became very difficult for me.
For someone like me that uses it to communicate.. this is not a good thing, and left me feeling pretty poorly about myself.
I started to substitute The Snowboard Realms and other non personal video projects for painting.. It pushed my videos to a new space and made them something I was really proud of, but it wasn’t really enough…
This was confusing
Motorcycles gave me something to sink my love into.
I took the photo of Ben, on our trip to California in June along the Oregon coast highway, and this photo of Tyler a couple weeks before he finished his BornFree 4 build. Also the picture of “The Sex Carpet” my recent 1967 Triumph project I put together. Motorcycles reminded me when I started skateboarding or snowboarding..
The solo element; when you’re in your shop working away or the freedom to do whatever you want out on the highway.
The artistic element; of taking an idea and making it something real that you can see, feel, touch and ride.
The Connection: of being a part of some bull shit “scene”, hitting the road with a group of friends or just having a brew with a homie talking shop and blasting ideas of each other.
I sunk myself into my motorcycles, because aside from my Girlfriend and my dog, this was the only thing that I was excited about.
17. The Shop
Tyler and I had spoke briefly about doing something like this a couple years ago… but he wasn’t into doing retail again..
In passing, I mentioned it to another homie that I met through riding and voila…
A few months later he called and said “Are you serious about wanting to do a shop ?, because I found a space”
I was a little hesitant on jumping in with Two feet but, I wasn’t really stoked on the job I was working for the last 6 months.. and I was letting that frustration leak into my home life, and I let it was put a lot of unnecessary tension on my relationship. I saw as an opportunity to work doing something I really enjoyed again, and ultimately, strengthen my damaged relationship… by being a project that my significant other and I could do together… get our feet wet so to speak in the “owning your own business” game. The plan was by no means perfect or what either of us wants to do for the rest of our lives, but it was a start down a path I hoped would lead us to bigger and better things…
18. The Shop Vancouver
The space was a shit hole, and the situation I found myself in left me a lot of time and let me focus all of my energy on the space. My partner and I, together with Devon our contractor.. went to town for the next 4 months transforming this shit box, into what is now The Shop Vancouver.
19. Come together
It’s a space where like minded folk can have a coffee, play some crib, and shoot the shit… oh and buy some fine lookin duds also
20. The message
This is a shot from one of my videos.
In 2008, I bought this desk to give myself a spot where I could make things, I wrote “Create something” on it and used it as a reminder..
It never had to be good, I just needed to share ideas and make them appear on paper, and that’s the whole idea of my 6:20 worth of slides
I know it’s cliche to say, “the only failure, is something you dont try” But it’s the truth.
You never know where some, inspiration, fan zine, or chance encounter will lead you.
The greatest things happen, when you least expect them to.