When did you start skating?
I started skateboarding in 1992. I’m sure you remember, it was the days when decks were losing their shapes, wheels where becoming tiny, and pants were experiencing a major growth spurt.
What was your first skateboard?
My first deck was a Vision Gator. It was outdated when I bought it, but I was stoked to have a real skateboard growing up in rural Vermont. As I remember it, I cut the grip tape in to 3” Doritos shaped triangles. This allowed the lime green stain of the top ply to show through between the black triangles. I thought this was pretty cool at the time… hah!
When did you stop or slow down significantly?
I slowed down significantly in 2007 after popping my knee out skating a pool in Santa Monica, CA.
What do you do for a living?
I own and operate an animation studio named Little Zoo Studio, LLC. I’ve been animating professionally for over 15 years now and have been involved with a great many creative projects ranging from feature films, short films, commercials, and video games. I’m also a Senior Mentor at AnimationMentor.com, one of the top animation schools in the world.
When you are not skating, how often do you think about skateboarding?
All the time. Anytime I’m walking around town, I notice ledges, curbs, roof tops, and even cracks in the sidewalk and envision what tricks I could do on them. I’ve even fantasized about the snow drifts outside of my house and if they turned magically to concrete, what kind of lines I could do on them. Skateboarding is a filter through which I look at the world.
How did skateboarding affect the direction of your life?
It’s affected it immensely. Up until my freshman year of high school, I played team sports such as baseball and soccer. These were fun, but they always felt regimented and unidirectional. Once I started skateboarding, I quickly discovered that one can express oneself as an individual and not be restricted by the rules and limits of others. In fact, the idea that one can twist, alter, and even invent new tricks and apply them to a huge variety of environments, really opened my eyes to a new way of viewing the world. This is not the normal “keep your head down and nose to the grindstone” attitude that so many people have, but more of a “pop your head up once in a while, look around, and think of a fresh and better way” approach to life.
What is the connection between skateboarding and creativity?
I think being a true skateboarder forces you to look at the world in a different light. It forces you to be creative. Before the world had skate parks in every town, skaters had to find unique applications for the elements in their pedestrian environment. It’s one thing to go to a skate park and just skate, where it’s all been laid out for you. It’s another thing to take the most mundane location and invent a way of using it to the same end, which can really flex your creative muscles. This directly applies to a blank canvas, or an empty frame of film. To state it simply, skateboarders and artists are connected in that they both are forced to create something out of nothing.