SKATEBOARDING GRAPHIC DESIGN WITH COSME FERNÁNDEZ

Publicado en: Interviews | 0

Cosme Fernández is a freelance illustrator born in Ourense, Spain who has managed to work on big international projects such as the famous piece of art directed by Mandible Claw «Spirit Quest» or making the graphics of the well-known scene of Ricky Oyola vs The Street Cleaner for Traffic Skateboards, between others beautiful projects. Today we get in touch with him to talk about his journey on the skateboarding graphic design industry thanks to some friends in common.

Hi Cosme! How are you man? You still living in Barcelona or did this crazy lifestyle kill you already?

Everything is going well, thanks. I’m afraid I’m still alive though – my days are pretty dull and also I’m not living near the city’s centre. I’m 35 minutes away by train. Not crazy at all over there. More on a quieter small village vibe.

Cosme Fernández appeareance for No Swervice

You are from Ourense but you had been living in London… and now you moved to BCN. Worst/best things about these places according to skateboarding and the life in general?

Ok, Ourense is my hometown and I lived there for the longest time – the best thing is that I know exactly what’s going on at any given moment in all the little corners of town, worst part is that what’s going on in those corners is usually absolutely nothing. Love skating there though, I know all the the spots and it’s super easy to spend the day out not only skating but also revisiting the past. London was definitely easier than I thought it was going to be – I learned to enjoy exactly he other side of things, not knowing anything at all about what’s going and to abandon myself to the immensity of the city. Truly loved it there. Started going by myself to the classic spots and everybody was always nice. Then I met these guys that introduced me to the most perfect curbs just ten minutes away from my place in Peckham, they became real good friends and that spot became home, miss it everyday. Nowadays in Barcelona is kinda weird, I’m getting old so I’m starting to enjoy more the urban exploration aspect of going out skating. I go on solo sessions around here and I have found amazing spots that look like they haven’t been touched. If I venture into the heart of Barcelona is usually to meet friends from back home and chill at a spot. I definitely prefer cruising and exploring by myself. Still trying to get in the right mind frame to not end up becoming a hermit.

Working as a freelance illustrator sounds hard. Working in the world of skateboarding sounds impossible. How it all started? Do you remember your first jobs? And maybe do you feel that some of your work is a bit “underrated” in Spain?

Not sure that being a freelance illustrator is that hard or difficult. I guess that after Art School that seemed like the logic thing to try. But I knew that it wouldn’t happened right away so I’ve always worked regular jobs in different things while doing small commissions and trying to build a nice portfolio I was happy with. Then I also worked in agencies as a graphic designer which helped me to be more versatile and to have a wider experience of the industry – and, more importantly, confidence. Enough confidence to try and show my stuff to the brands I was interested in working with. I was really lucky that Josh Stewart liked what I sent him and we started talking about developing a deck graphic for Theories first and then some more stuff for Hopps and Traffic and that was it, we got along pretty well and kept working together since.

Spirit Quest the masterpiece of Colin Read is on the top of my favorite skateboarding videos of all time. You made the animations that looks like Colin and you had a fully creative connection as if you had read his mind. Can you tell us how you lived those days and how you see everything now after all this time?

Oh, thank you very much, I appreciate it – I’ll let Colin know. Well, by the end of the project we both were absolutely connected, but that took some time. I remember I had just moved to London and was sleeping on my friends living room in Camberwell when he got in touch and told me about the overall concept. We started working on the animations soon after and kept going back and forth for a whole year. He knew exactly what he wanted and how he wanted it, everything was super clear in his head. But it wasn’t easy to fully grasp, I felt the same way that the skaters in the video felt while filming, most didn’t understand what Colin was going for but trusted his judgement anyway. My main fear was for the animations to get in the way of the skating and distract from it. Once we found the proper way to do it then the process became pretty straight forward. Lots of hours but worth it. Definitely feels like a blur now. Best part was meeting Colin at the London premiere and watching it for the first time. I knew it was gonna be something good skating wise from the clips I had worked with but it blew me away nonetheless. Definitely a very special project and I’m really happy for been able to contribute a small part to it.

How was the premiere of Spirit Quest and how did you feel the feedback of the spectators?

It was honestly amazing – but I’m talking about the London one. Not the actual premiere in NYC some days before. Colin travelled to a lot of places that September and the first stop was London. I had to travel back to Galicia for a few months and just got back to London around the same time. So it was a mix of feelings, not only it was great finally meeting Colin for the first time but also meeting again my friends from London and other Spanish friends that lived there.

I knew it was gonna be something good skating wise from the clips I had worked with but it blew me away nonetheless. Definitely a very special project and I’m really happy for been able to contribute a small part to it. Venue was packed and honestly I was a little nervous. But once the thing started I was in awe just like everybody else there. Cheering the editing as much as the skating. Also during the interlude pause the Isle boys surprised Chris Jones turning him pro and the place went crazy. All in all an amazing night in Hoxton.

Are you working in a big project right now? Or you want to keep it secret?
Nothing secret, just the usual stuff I’ve been doing for Theories of Atlantis for some time now – working on new graphics for the next seasons of Traffic and Theories brand, also just finished the titles for a Dialtone clip that should be about to come out. Some commercial animation stuff as well and I dunno, that’s basically it for the next month.

Thanks for everything Cosme! It’s a pleasure to have an artist like you among these weird pages. Now you got the super-power of the last words of your interview!
Many thanks to you Rafa, my pleasure. Keep it weird!

Cosme Fernández / Halfcab noseslide

Interview by Rafael Álvarez
Photos by Pablo Pérez

MARBLE INTERVIEW

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What means Marble as a collective for you guys and how you would explain it to the people?

Marble is pretty much a group of people doing what they LOVE. Taking care of their spot, shredding the plaza every day and for sure documenting and filming what’s going on in there. Everything started when Louz bought the first VX around 2015. The first tryouts were just filming whatever was happening every day at the Plaza. A bit later on, we started to go on the first early missions to the spots around the outskirts of the city, but pretty much all around Barcelona. Little by little, the map started to get bigger and the missions started to evolve to different cities around Spain: Madrid, Valencia, Vigo, Zaragoza, Mallorca… and obviously the bug progressively evolved into skate European capitals: Prague with Stalin Plaza, Berlin with Warschauer, Milan with Centrale, Copenhagen… Some of these trips were even before Marble existed, but, you know, the classic skate pilgrimage… But if there is a turning point in all this process was the summer after the first VX when we decided to skip another Eurotrip and go straight to China. It was a turning point because ever since then the trips had been reaching further destinations and the world had been expanding. Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Philly, Las Vegas (with or without much skating), Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzen, and the list goes on and on… But the whole point of all this is that all these trips and moments, combined with the everydaylife plaza, are basically what our videos are made of.

Basically, everything born at SNT, always following the philosophy that the OG’s from there taught us (Gómez, Raul Navarro, Pabli Dominguez, Koth, Julio…) and just having the will do something without having to wait for anybody doing things for you. We decided to rebuild the plaza that had given us so much even if we had to do it spending our own money, buying the camera and spending our holidays to travel with the only purpose of stacking clips and having a good time. Also during this last year, after seen that the hype on Marble started to grow we decided to start doing even clothing collections. But I guess that is something that you learn from being in the streets every day, that if you want something you have to do it yourself and that’s exactly what and how we have been doing it so far. Without anyother goal behind it, just because this is the way we feel it. 

Is only skateboarding the main thing that surround your lifes?

No way! hahahah skateboarding is definitely a big part of all our lives, but most of us have our 9 to 17 jobs like the rest of human beings. Louz is a teacher in a primary school, Martin works in publicity, Josep is an architect, Bruno is a tuner and many others combine their studies with skateboarding. But I guess that’s the beauty of it too, you appreciate way more what skateboarding means and you quickly realize that is not just about doing tricks on the biggest stairs, so I guess we have to continue saving the world in the office..hahaha. Our understanding of skateboarding is just go down to the plaza to be with the homies, tell some crazy stories about how fucked it the people at our jobs, grind our favourite salmon colouerd granite and have some beers meanwhile we do all those things. The only struggle actually comes when we want to organize tours because we have to sync everybody’s vacations so we can go all together to film somewhere and travel around the world. But it always ends up working out one way or another.

The way you work guys are really amazing, its like you three together became a only one in the last Marble 3 video. How the fuck you organized all the work without wanted to kill each other? Hahaha thank you! Seemed like you were talking about the Holy Trinity ahahaha. I guess you are referring to Erques Torres, Martin Verástegui and Marcos Lozano, right? In fact, the process had been evolving very naturally and spontaneously actually. Louz bought the first VX and he started filming like 4 or 5 years ago as I mentioned. 

By then, Martin was already working for his advertising agency, where he often does edits for ads or clips for their clients, so by that time he already knew how to work with the editing program Premiere and was very hyped by the idea of editing the first video we did. The first one was actually filmed by Louz and edited by Martin and Louz. And to be honest, if we look back at and watch it again it’s unavoidable to laugh at it… What a change! The second video was edited by Martin but then it’s when the key element and our third man came into place and joined the team. Erques Torres is actually Martins coworker and they literally sit in front of each other every day at work. So during the process of editing the second video, Erques noticed how Martin was taking some time off from work to edit the video at the office when he was supposed to be working on a campaign hahaha! By that time everybody from SNT already knew Erques because we would all party together since he was Martin’s friend. And although he has nothing to do with the skateboarding world, he thought that would be a very interesting idea to collaborate with us. He was actually hyped to help on the project without any kind of interest. Merely because he became a homie and that friendship made us closer.

That’s pretty much how the three of us fit perfectly, it is a team and everybody understands the role they play in it. Louz is the Master lens behind the VX. Martin is the Master Premiere and takes care of the editing and Erques is the Master Animation, taking care of that aspect, doing different graphics and designing the clothing collections. Besides these three, it is important also to mention the work of David Susko, Axel Serrat and Quel Sunday which are also part of the crew and that always help with graphic support and photos that we have sometimes exposed at the premieres. At the end of the day everything comes out from the plaza and it is for the plaza. SNT4EVER!

The level of the tricks and almost more important the spots for these tricks are like a beautiful synesthesia skater/filmer. Is this planned from the beginning? Do you guys use to go somewhere for a concrete spot for film a concrete trick?

Not really! Of course we are always looking for new spots and this is why we have travelled so much in the last years. But as we all know, many times you are looking for a specific spot for a specific trick and then when you get there and you try the trick in mind you quickly realize that is not possible. So most of the times we plan a route to hit different spots and we go as many as possible. The good thing about that is that there will be always someone skating, and that motivates the rest to try something. Good example of that is the time that we got to a double set that only Xino (Ales Amor) wanted to skate. At first, nobody even dared to try a single trick and when they saw Xino jumping down the stairs little by little Bruno and Axel fired up started skating it too, to a point all three ended up getting tricks and clips on it. So what we try to do is to go to the maximum of different spots possible so that everyone has the chance to skate and to see how this motivates the rest, so at the end of the day there are clips stacked and everyone had a session.

Regarding the relationship filmer-skater. That’s a connection that only is achieved when you have been filming a lot with a person. The framing, the way of skating, the timing of the trick, the position of the camera… each of these elements is something that you have to work on it and it had to get, but can only be achieved when you have been skating and filming with a person for a long time. Now Louz is filming different clips for personal projects that will be dropping out soon and he always based it on the same principle, he has to film with someone with whom he has feeling. He doesn’t want to go film with a random dude that has never meet before, I mean that it is in itself a very awkward situation, isn’t it? To sum up, and as we said, everything is an organic process where things just happen by themselves or because they feel this way and makes sense to do it. Like this interview, that was planned a night at SNT after meeting you guys on a sesh. It might sound lame but pretty much is just go with the flow…

Talking about spots and Barcelona, what is the main diference for you guys between SANTS and for example MACBA or other places for skate in the city?

Barcelona has a thousand things more than MACBA and SNT luckily! hahaha. There are much more people doing things like the Sentfields crew at Spotter or Toni Lopez, Alberto Castor and all the guys from Badalona working at La Bobila and thousand of DIY projects that from our point of view deserve much more respect than just skating a classic spot every day that has been there for ages. This mentality of just sitting down at the famous spot is actually not doing something for the scene and you just end up watching pros come and go and by the time you realize, years have been passing and you haven’t done anything. Locals change and if you don’t do a shit nobody will remember you.

At the end of the day, skateboarding has always been based on Do It Yourself, like Rocco with World Industries or Girl doing it on their own. They were just kids skating and doing what they liked. The same mentality applies to every aspect of skateboarding. It doesn’t matter if you build a ramp, make a brand or design your own promodel.

Big ups to the whole DIY around the world and to the people that fight for their spot. That’s what it’s all about. As far as SNT, right now it’s a DIY spot in the middle of the city, the plaza is abandoned and destroyed after the construction of the new high-speed train. No one knows exactly how the future of the spot will look like and how long it will last but that won’t make us leave the spot. We will keep it alive until it’s dust. Regarding Macba, now they started to move around to try to save it because the neighbours were collecting signatures to try to shut it down and make it unskatable.

So if things are done well it would be a unique opportunity for Barcelona, not only to save the now classic Plaça dels Angels also known as MACBA, but also to set a stepping point to be able to dialog and open relations with the city council. So that could be a chance for the city to understand the relevance that skateboarding has in Barcelona and start a path where we can see more skateable urban spaces. This might sound ironic saying it about Barcelona where there is a spot every 50 meters but it could create an opportunity to stop seeing skatestoppers at spots and to don’t have to run from the police if you see them coming at you by just integrating skateboarding into the public society.

A good example of that are cities like Malmo in Sweden, Copenhague in Denmark, where they have it all figured out or the well known Southbank in London. We hope that the people that are now fighting for MACBA will make the right decisions and won’t look at their personal interest, but for the interest of the city. The most important point about saving MACBA or to be able to talk to the city council is to be able to create more skate urban spaces so that we don’t get all crowded in one particular spot, to avoid skater congestions, more exactly in the city centre.

Especially those situations come from people who come from outside and don’t respect anything. Because obviously the locals want to keep skating their own city, but the reason of closing Macba is because those who think this is a party-skate city and I can do «whatever I want whenever I want» give the right reasons to the wrong people to build the argument to shut down the spot. With all that said, there are obviously people coming to skate the city that are respectful, but we all know the kind of person we are talking about. So about MACBA and the possibility of closing it, we hope that this will never happen.

Thanks guys! Was fantastic to know more about the guys behind this characteristics and own-shine videos. Something to say to the readers?


I guess this is the question where we are supposed to start giving shout outs! hahaha But for real we would like to thank everybody on the process of making these projects possible, in front and behind the camera, and thank also those who are not even exposed to even any kind of camera but that go alongside with us. If there is something to learn from all this is that if you want to do something just go and do it. People will tell you constantly how crazy you are and in how many ways things are not gonna work but after a while, they will start saying: “I should start doing it too.” Last, but not least, thank you guys also for the interview and big big big ups to all the SNT locals from each generation. Is crazy to remember the first day at the plaza and how far this is going. If the cat statue on top of the roof could talk I’m pretty sure we could write a best-seller. SNT4EVER.

VAGUE INTERVIEW

Publicado en: Interviews | 0

How would you describe what is VAGUE and what do you think that makes the difference from other magazines?

Vague is a magazine containing mostly skateboarding, beer, art and music and anything else. We like the aspect of it being ‘unspecified’ so we can feature what we want be it any country or genre of topic. We like it to appeal to a wide demographic.

Who are the members that make VAGUE Skatemag right now? Where you guys from? How it all started? I love the name you have used to call this magazine!

Guy Jones (Writer), Reece Leung (Photographer), Hannah Martin (Designer) + Heywood Ward (Public Relations) make up Vague mag and we are all equally as Vague as each other therefore communication can be tricky but it’s how we work most effectively. The name was because we all got called ‘Vague’ at school and we’re bullied for being so ‘Vague’ so the word has stuck with us all of our lives.

Kyron Davis / Wallie Melon / Photo: Reece Leung

I personally love the way you guys mix ART and SKATEBOARDING. Was this planned from the beginning?

This was always planned at the beginning and we feel these two aspects always compliment each other. We like the artistic aspect to the magazine and think it sets us apart from the usual skate mags out there. We have lots of friends who work in the art scene and tons of skateboarders work within it. Art is heavily used with in the beer and music scene too so it all links up perfectly for us. If people approach us regarding a particular genre of art we usually have good links to source.

We know the colours is a key to get the attention of the reader so… Imagine that VAGUE only can be printed on black and white; Do you think It would change a lot?

I think if Vague could only be printed in black and white then it would affect it massively, we’d all only be able to process the magazine in the same way a dog does, and as much as I like dogs, I have an equal fondness for colour.

Rikk Fields / BS Noseblunt / Photo: Reece Leung

At this point I’m sure my Spanish lads will want to get a copy of your magazine. How can we get it in Spain? I think it’s time for a Spanish Dist. to get in touch with you guys!

Currently we have no distribution in Spain; although that’s something we are working on and hope to have sorted out for the future, so if anyone wants to hook us up, let us know!

In the meantime if you want it you can get it directly from us, through the dark web where it’s currently trading for Bitcoin or by offering us illicit substances. We’ll also trade mags for trips abroad!

Okay so lets go with the serious questions. How long do you use the same underpants? I have heard that putting them three days in a row is illegal in some countries…

Here at Vague we all share underwear. To decide the order and who gets to go first we usually play a game of rock / paper / scissor, with the victor being crowned the clean underwear king or queen and the loser left with 4 day old skids until wash day comes about again – I’m assuming this is common practice in most European countries?!

Korahn Gayle / Kickflip / Photo: Joel Peck

Which is the perfect skateboarder «image» for you? The one who has all the new brand clothes and smells like Hugo Boss or the drunk one with broken pants and half teeth?

The perfect skateboarder image to me is the one who’s wearing the bin bag tied around the waist with a shoelace, who smells like they’ve been playing a game of “human portaloo” all evening on the off chance of having a “juliebaby” piss on their face and who just will turn up at the airport for a trip with nothing but their passport and board. 

Thank you guys!  Hope to see VAGUE in the skateshops of Spain coming soon! Well I guess is time to shout out someone and get your last words in these weird pages.

Shout outs to all the lovely people who have backed us and supported our cause up so far!

Liisa Chisholm / FS Blunt to the Moon / Photo: Rich West

Text by Heywood Ward
Ugly collages and interview by Rafael Álvarez