Josh Stewart Interview

josh stewart interview Monster Skateboard Magazine

Are you looking forward to get your life back, when the premieres are done?
Oh man… well, it’s less about not having the time and more about feeling guilty whenever I’m not filming. I have a distribution company in NY and it takes up about 10 hours/day of my time. So when I finish up a day of work I want to take it easy and go skate or do something relaxing. But I have been working on Static IV for 6 years and I just always feel guilty if I’m not filming or working on the video. I love filming and making skate videos. But I’m really tired of feeling guilty for trying to live my life.

When can we expect Static IV?
I’ve made way too many empty promises. I literally was telling people that it would ‚guaranteed‘ be done before 2012. And now it’s 2014. My goal is for it to be out within the next 3-4 months. But if you’ve started a betting pool, I would be careful how much money you place on that promise.

My goal with Static IV is to show the old gritty vibe of NYC that has almost been forgotten about

What will be different to the previous Static videos and what will stay the same?
Yeah, that’s a good question. One problem with doing a video series is trying to stay true to the original vision and theme but still offering something different. With Static IV I’m just trying to perfect the feel and look of the dark, gritty vibe of Static. Static III was warm, the 16mm film was smooth and clean and it had a more ‚beautiful‘ feeling to it. Static IV will hopefully be the opposite; dark, gritty and cold. Everybody in the skate world has been filming in NYC and releasing web clips based around the city for the last couple of years. My goal with Static IV is to show the old gritty vibe of NYC that has almost been forgotten about. But it’s still there. And I have a few surprises lined up that I hope don’t piss people off. But I’d rather piss everyone off than bore them. So, fingers crossed.

A lot of independent videos came out recently and reached the quality of company videos. What do you think about this trend?
Yeah, it’s really interesting. Indie video makers have grown into an army and a lot of them are extremely talented. It’s crazy. Most of my favorite videos over the past 5 years have been underground independent videos by kids, I had never heard of before. I think it’s great. It’s really democratized the skate industry. I love it. Skate companies got a little too confident that they had control of the industry but these young indie videographers from around the world keep putting out interesting and well-produced work. I love it but it also changes the game quite a bit. Because it’s upped the competition to create something really unique. It’s really challenging to do something different nowadays. That’s why I keep having to be careful with Static. I feel like you really have to come correct now or just don’t come out at all.

josh stewart interview Monster Skateboard Magazine

What were the latest skatevideos that inspired you?
There’s a been a lot of good stuff over the past year. I definitely am hyped on a lot of the stuff coming out of Japan. Their whole approach is different. I think that the style that the Far East Skate Network crew created has been one of the most original things in skateboarding of the past 5-10 years. (Takahiro) Morita is incredible. The industry needs more out-of-the-box thinkers like him. I’ve also been stoked on the videos that Peter Sidlauskas of Bronze has been doing. And Pontus always surprises me with his video releases. That son of a bitch is too talented. I’m always intrigued by his video work.

What do you think in which direction will skatevideos evolve in the next years?
Hmmm…, that’s a good question. It seems like there is a strongly growing support network for underground skate videos over the past 2 years. Skaters really want to support the things they like and non-internet videos became such a rare thing that people see them as valuable. So I think the trend will become shorter skate videos, between 15-20 minutes and they’ll be released on dvd only. There are going to be little video dynasties in each region of the world. Like the Bronze guys in NYC or the Sabotage dudes in Philly or the Far East Skate Network dudes in Japan. Since everything is so accessible nowadays through the internet, we are all more intrigued by these small strange crews of skaters doing their own weird things. I like it. It’s like a network of resistance fighters around the world. Not subscribing to the norms of the industry. Doing their own thing and their skate videos are like messages in bottles the send out into the ocean to wash up on foreign shores and teach other scenes what their skate scene is like.

It’s like a network of resistance fighters around the world

Do you think it’s still important to get a video out on DVD or is it okay, to release it online only, as long as the quality of the skating and editing is good?
It depends on what you want for your brand or your video. I think that the internet serves it’s purpose to introduce a skater to the world or to advertise your brand. But art has an assumed value. People pay millions of dollars for paintings that look like a child painted them. But those paintings would immediately drop to being almost worthless if everybody in the world had access to them and had a piece of that artists work on their walls. I think that in a world where everything is now immediate. We have immediate gratification for anything we want. And everything can be found online. The things that are harder to get ahold of and are less accessible will be more remembered and respected. It’s just human nature.

With Polar, Magenta and Palace, you distribute three strong european brands. How do you see the process of european brands, gaining worldwide recognition?
It’s crazy. Because I only started selling Magenta and Palace because they were my friends before and they started up new companies and asked if I’d be down to carry them on the TOA web store. We started very small and didn’t really expect much growth. We just wanted to support our friends and give them an outlet in the US. But they’ve all done such an amazing job at inspiring skaters around the world that it quickly turned into a phenomenon. It’s rad because European brands really never found much traction in the US. But something clicked a couple of years ago. We were all ready for something new and fresh. And something that wasn’t owned by a parent company or a group of investors. It’s exciting. And companies like Traffic and Hopps, which were also skater-owned indie brands on the east coast before this whole indie craze started, are starting to receive the recognition for the rad brands that they always were. It seems like skaters around the world are waking up.


Are the early 2010’s like the early 90’s?
Yeah, they say that everything goes in cycles and I guess it’s being proven right again. It’s really going to be interesting. I think that nowadays it’s just so rare for something unique to pop-up. So right now a lot of independent skaters are getting to show their own voice through their own brands. So we’re finally getting some new ideas and variety back into skateboarding. And I think it’s just refreshing to everyone after the same brands having a strong hold on the industry for so long.

If you could possibly make any video project you wanted to, what would it be? Would there be one part you’re still dreaming of or one skater you would want to work with?
Hmmm……that’s almost impossible to answer. Over the past couple of years I haven’t had the freedom or time to do any big projects in the way I’d like to do them. It would be amazing to be able to do a sort of „Static All-Stars“ video with new parts from all of my favorite Static parts in the past. Oyola, Stiener, Rupp, Mullendore, Igei, Puleo, Quim, Jahmal, Shier, Selego, Brandi, etc. But that would literally be impossible today. I’d need a time machine. As for skaters I wish I could’ve done full parts with, Robbie Gangemi would’ve been such a rad addition to the Static history. I wish I had gotten a Pontus Alv, Danny Wainwright or Ben Jobe in one of the older Static videos. And Jan Kliewer was someone I always had wished I could’ve had involved in Static too. I’m a big fan of his skating. But I’d say that ideally I’d like to do a sort of documentary/skate video that tells more of the story behind the personalities who really built street skating culture as we know it. And then include skate montages intertwined with the storyline. That’s something I’d like to make happen some day. But I have to finish Static 4 first. Haha.



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