WORKSHOPS: NYC’S MOST EXCITING AND FAST-PACED CREATIVE SPACES. PROFILES: WE TALK TO SELF MADE ARTISTS JACK HENRY & SUNNY SHOKRAE LEONARD PREDNIS: A SELF MADE SAN DIEGO LEGEND
A BOOK ABOUT PEOPLE MAKING IT
win a trip for 2 to nyc for more info visit benchselfmade.com ENDS 05.04.13
The book you’re holding is the second chapter in our Self Made story. The second part in our campaign to travel the world, meeting the inspirational, hard-working guys and girls that are changing cities the world over. And this time we went Stateside. To celebrate our new Spring/Summer 2013 line, we packed up and headed out to New York City. An iconic and groundbreaking playground that draws people in and never lets them go, NYC was the obvious place for us to track down the people making it happen. For anyone determined to succeed, the city can give you the world, but it takes everything in return. And here in these smog filled streets, nestled between the skyscrapers, we captured the stories and the lives of those who’ve given it their all in our new film Self Made NYC. The campaign, a love letter to the city and a fearless manifesto of what exactly it means to make it on your own, features some of New York’s most exciting creatives and shows a side to the city you won’t see in the So here is Self Made NYC. And, as always, this is for the ones that understand that life is simply what you make it.
SPRING SUMMER / 2013
MEN’S COLLECTION -
A closer look at our SS13
Capturing this season’s looks
on the streets of NYC’s creative capital, Williamsburg
BEHIND THE SCENES: BEN RAYNER
SS13 COLLECTION: ROOFTOP
Photographer Ben Rayner tells
Our key SS13 looks against
us what it was like shooting the
the Manhattan skyline.
campaign and how he’s got to where he is today p.30
Peering through the keyhole
We talk to the guy who built
into some of NYC’s most
one of the most famous skate
exciting and fast-paced
parks in the world.
BEHIND THE SCENES: BEN FRIES
CRAFT MAKERS: StÖÖkI A chat with Stooki, deserving winners of our AW12 Self Made Competition.
MORE ON BECNH
Ben Fries walks us through the making of the Self Made NYC
WOMAN’S COLLECTION: GREENPOINT
A snapshot of our
Our SS13 women’s collection,
shot on the streets of Greenpoint.
PROFILES: JACK HENRY
Sculpture Jack Henry tells
Take a look around our
us how he came to make his
brand new concept store
unique and breathtaking art.
in Manchester’s Norther Quarter.
PROFILES: Sunny Shokrae Photographer Sunny Shokrae explains why she takes photographs.
NYC SPRING AWAKENING A photo story by chloe aftel
SELF MADE CONTEST 2013 Make It Happen For You.
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CODE: SELFMADE13 FOLLOW US at bench-clothing. tumblr.com
SS / 2013
Modelled on the streets of NYCâ€™s creative capital
WILLIAMSBURG PHOTOS: Ben Rayner Photography Assistant: Adam Gong Producer: Abby Bralove STYLING: Kylie Griffiths Make-up: Erin Green Hair: Darine Sengseevong MODELS: Tristan, Malik, Joe
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BEHIND THE SCENES
PHOTOGRAPHER BEN RAYNER SHOOTING FROM THE
HIP ON THE SELF MADE SHOOT
Spend just a few minutes in the company of British photographer Ben Rayner and you’ll wonder why he’s not the person having his portrait taken all the time. A bundle of manic energy, rock’n’roll tattoos and long red hair, he’s the embodiment of self-motivation. His infectious enthusiasm for his work leaves you feeling inspired and full of ideas. It’s easy to see why his vivid photos look so full of life. Like all professionals who make their work appear effortless, Ben puts in hours of preparation and research before each job. As the saying goes: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. A full-time freelancer, Ben has always worked for himself and this means he appreciates the value of each job that comes his way, whatever the size. Having made a name for himself in London shooting editorial and fashion for the likes of VICE and Vogue, Ben moved to New York a year ago to pursue his work Stateside, contributing to Nylon magazine and producing content for ASOS and Adidas, among dozens of others. In his spare time, Ben runs a boutique publisher for limited-edition zines called Rayner Books and sometimes drums in the punk band Throwing Up. For the Bench shoot, Ben and his two assistants worked 60 hours over four days – that’s 15 hours each day – and submitted a staggering 15,000 images for consideration. What’s his secret? “Eat lots of protein” he says.
Where have you been up to this last year?
Do you ever take time off or are you kind of
Ben Rayner: A total mix of everything. I’ve
working and shooting?
been fortunate enough to work on a lot of great
I am always working in some way or another.
projects this year, a mix of personal, branded
I do travel a lot, but this is often for work.
and editorial for a number of great people. What are the basic steps you take to get a How do you feel about living in New York?
shoot like this off the ground?
I grew up in London so it’s a nice change. I
I am always prepared with my equipmentand
visit London very often so it good to have both.
make sure that assistants are briefed.It’s important to take charge and direct models
Being a freelance photographer, how self-
motivated would you say you have to be? You have to be really self-motivated and
How important are the assistants to what
proactive and can’t ever take anything for
granted. No job should be considered a
I usually have one or two assistants. This job
‘small’ job. You can never expect things to
was fairly intense so we constantly needed to
just come to you. Self-promotion is very
dump cards of shots as we shot a lot.
important and reminding people who you are! How was it shooting the Bench campaign in What motivates you?
a city you know so well? Did you find new
LIFE! Life inspires me. I walk around a lot and
locations, did you surprise yourself?h
find motivation and inspiration in everything
I am always on the look-out for suitable
around me. I am constantly creating work for
locations for future shoots. I often cycle
myself alongside commissions.
around looking for places that I feel haven’t BENCH. SS/2013
been used so much. This shoot was a mix of
How ambitious should you be, or it always
familiar locations and some new ones but
best to be realistic about these things?
shot in a way so that they aren’t necessarily
It’s important to be realistic for sure, but one
should never be afraid to experiment.
Where are your favourite places to hang
What’s lined up for next year?
out in NYC?
A new personal book, lots of travel, and
Takahashi, this amazing Japanese restaurant
starting a long-term project.
in the East Village. Max Fish is my local. I also DJ Wednesdays at Lit Lounge
which is fun. I also like Forgetmenot and Clandestino. Does the finished version of the shoot generally match with the vision you had in your head at the beginning? Usually a few surprises present themselves, which is part of the fun, but the final images tend to match my initial vision.
WORKSHOPS Dotted throughout the boroughs of New York, in studios and warehouses, the cityâ€™s creatives are building up their factories. Over the next few pages we take a closer look at some of these hidden work stations and how theyâ€™re set up to enable their inhabitants to create.
11th Street Workshop
Throne Of Blood
11th street studioS INDUSTRY: PRODUCTION JUGGERNAUT LOCATION: Brooklyn - NEW YORK 7
Helmed by production veterans and brothers Anthony and Lou Asaro, 11th Street Workshop is a powerhouse working with a diverse array of clients with everything from set design and construction to custom 5
fabrication, production, prop styling
and more. With a massive second floor workspace above the main workshop, a formidably jam-packed prop room and a cavernous studio space onsite, it’s no wonder that 11th Street tackles everything from fashion photography projects to custom cabinets and residential construction. For
one lucky client they’re even working on a “redneck motorized recliner”, fusing a cushy old sofa with a scooter and a fridge custom built for a sixpack. www.11thstworkshop.com
4. SAWING AREA
We have lots of our work
We store a large quantity
Hanging extension cords
These table saw areas are
kicking around the studio. It’s
and variety of materials so
set up for cutting the sheet
important to keep the floor
that we’re ready to fabricate
the workshop allow us to
goods stored along the rear
clear; our unfinished work is
just about anything at a
reconfigure and get power
kept on racks in the back.
where it’s needed.
5. FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
6. WALL RACK SYSTEM
7. DUST EXTRACTION
When you work with lots of
There’s always music
The pipes running along the
We use these trollies to
wood, paints, solvents, and
pumping in our workshop.
ceiling are the shop’s dust
move props and tools around
also welding tools, things can
There’s all kinds of people
the workshop to allow the
get ugly pretty quickly.
working here, so we listen to
staff to divide and conquer
a lot of different kinds.
projects more efficiently.
DORLAND STUDIO INDUSTRY: ART/PAINTING LOCATION: Brooklyn - NEW YORK ESTABLISHED: 2008
Chris Dorland is a Canadian artist based in New York City. His studio, located in North Brooklyn, is the engine room for
the conception and execution of his photomechanical paintings. Building original works by copying imagery and then duplicating these copies, Dorland assembles collages from found images, scans and prints them through multiple iterations. He then uses these heavily processed assemblages as the basis for his paintings. Mechanical reproduction technologies are a crucial component in Dorland’s process of distancing the images he selects from their original sources. 6
1. UNTITLED 1
2. UNTITLED 2
3. Image trash pile
4. Riso Rz-220
This large piece is a new
A painting in progress. I
Source material that sort of
The Riso is a high-speed
collage. It’s a study for a
still need to add a silver
festers in piles around the
digital printing system from
large painting commission
gradient to it. You can see a
Japan. It’s sort of a cross
I’m working on with the Art
test version taped above the
between an off-set litho press
and a copy machine.
5. Photosmart Printer
6. Nitrile Gloves
7. STORAGE RACK
8. Flying Pigeon BIKE
I use this printer to produce
For handling chemicals and
Ronan and One Shot enamel
I love that bike.
paper copies for use in
sign paints. Hoards of cans of
spray paint, automotive paint and HVLP spray gun set ups.
OF BLOOD INDUSTRY: MUSIC LOCATION: Brooklyn - NEW YORK ESTABLISHED: 2009
Located within a disused brewery in East Williamsburg, Throne of Blood Studio is home to a close knit group of friends including Max Pask and Andrew Potter of Populette, Kim Ann Foxman (ex-Hercules 34
and Love Affair), and Brian Hersey. This studio is set up to allow these four musicians to string a diverse collection of new and vintage electronic instruments together in order to record collaborative jam sessions. Whereas much electronic music eschews live performance in favor of carefully constructed perfection, the output from Throne of Blood embraces the spontaneous, improvisational serendipity that can emerge from unconventional combinations of equipment and ideas. www.throneofbloodmusic.com
1. MINIMOOG MODEL D
2. THE HUB
3. Mackie 32-8 Desk
4. Arp 2600 Synthesizer
A total classic and famous for
Assorted compressors, filters
Our old faithful. A bit worse
The rarest and most
being the first synthesizer to
and effects units, as well as
for wear, but crucial.
impressive bits of kit in the
be widely sold to musicians.
two patchbays for linking up
studio. One of these was
all the kit in the studio.
used to create R2D2â€™s voice in Star Wars.
5. Moog Source
6. Bob Moog
7. Daft Punk
8. Poo and Pee plushies
A classic but deeply flawed
Action Figure of synthesizer
Daft Punk action figures to
Always there to let us know
80â€™s era synth.
pioneer Bob Moog is always
supervise studio sessions.
when something is total shit.
here for inspiration.
ALCHEMY PAINTOWKORS INDUSTRY: Fine Arts FABRICATION LOCATION: Brooklyn - NEW YORK ESTABLISHED: 2009
6 Brooklyn’s Alchemy Paintworks has operated for the past several years from a landmark building off of Bushwick Avenue. Founded by Jason Brown after a decade
spent running Jeff Koons’ state-of-theart sculpture painting facilities, Alchemy
employs techniques learned from his work with world-renowned fabricators and restorers, as well as his extensive research and experimentation with the latest materials and technology. Fusing art and science into a seamless whole, Alchemy now lends its unique expertise to a wide range of established artists, working in partnership with them to bring their singular creative vision to life. www.alchemypaintworks.com
2. COFFEE CUPS
Workspaces littered with
A lot of coffee gets
These cabinets and flat files
This is an industrial vacuum
transfer tape, Xacto knives
consumed in the shop every
hold every kind of sandpaper
for cleaning up dust
and burnishers for masking
day. It’s essential fuel for
grit imaginable, from 40 to
produced by sanding
off areas to receive different
some very painstaking work.
finishes or colors.
5. PAINT MIXING
7. BUSY WORK
This cabinet is actually a
These yellow storage
The staff here are hard
The dividers separating the
paint mixing apparatus.
cabinets along the far wall
at work on a restoration
room are made of industrial
It contains disposable
contain all the various
job. They are sanding and
plastic and .09 micron filters.
containers filled with custom
chemicals used in our work.
cleaning in preparation for
mixtures for each project.
Do you need to be well organised to shoot a film such as this one, or do you rely on others to be organised on your behalf? Ben Fries: All you can do is be as prepared as possible and then, once the shoot starts, be ready to improvise. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned but if you’ve thought everything through in advance then it’s much easier to think on you feet. For this particular film,
we were capturing ‘a day in the life’ of five
people in two days so organisation was really important in terms of coordinating everyone’s schedules, making sure that we could get to where we needed to be at the right time. The schedule was extremely tight and we had a
Director Ben Fries talks
few hiccups along the way but we were able to keep things moving and get everything we
us through the Self Made NYC video shoot
needed. Did you storyboard the shoot? I generally don’t do storyboards, especially for a shoot like this. When you’re dealing with real people and observing them doing what they do, you have to see what’s happening in the moment and let that dictate your
shots. What I do think about is the locations we’ll be shooting in. If possible, I try to see Filmmaker Ben Fries had his work cut out when he shot
the locations in advance so that I’m able to
the documentary for Bench. Tasked with telling the story of
visualise how to shoot in the space: where
a regular day in the lives of five busy New Yorkers, we gave
is the light coming from, what are the most
him just two days in which to squeeze the entire shooting
interesting angles, that kind of thing.
schedule, crossing all four corners of the city. That meant a lot of running around town with his crew in a bid to film the
How do you go about assembling a team to
subjects in various locations as they went about their daily
work with you?
routine in his intricately-crafted video piece. No matter how
I have a team of people that I like to work
much preparation goes into it, filming on the streets is always
with. On a film set it’s important to surround
unpredictable. And Hurricane Sandy was just around the
yourself with good people who you trust.
corner. How important is it to have good relations Fortunately this wasn’t the first time Ben had used his
with the team, or is it more a case of relying
hometown as a backdrop. In his acclaimed video for the song
on everyone being professional and getting
‘Cyan’ by the British musician Kindness, Ben shot the singer on
the job done?
the streets of the East Village, while an earlier promo for the
Both are important. I feel you usually get
band Holy Ghost! depicts a freeze frame timeline of their life
the job done better if you are able to have
in NYC. He may know the city like the back of his hand, but
good relationships with the team but you
on such an intense shoot, Ben needed his best team around
also don’t want to crew up with your buddies
just because you like to hang out with them. Again, you have to trust your crew to do their jobs well because that allows you to focus and do your job well.
Is it better to be ambitious or should you have a more realistic outlook? Itâ€™s always good to be ambitious. As you start planning and figuring out the logistics, youâ€™re always going to face limitations but you deal with that then. Hopefully you can use those limitations to steer the work in interesting new ways. What hours were you working each day on this shoot? We worked roughly from 7am until 10pm. Long days, even thought it only lasted for two of them. We had to cram in a lot of shooting. How do you get through the shoot in one piece? I drink a lot of coffee. Watch the film at: www.benchselfmade.com
“Me, Sesse Lind (the Director of Photography) and the rest of the crew hanging precariously from a moving car, filming Jeff Henrikson riding the streets of Brooklyn.”
“Getting whipped up in a breeze as we shoot Sunny on the East River Ferry.”
“They may be similar in style but no two of Jack’s work are the same. It was fascinating to capture him working.”
â€œThe subway is the fastest way, unless you want to play dare devil on a bike, of getting around the city. We took it across the river with Kish.â€?
together. You can see them working together in the film.â€?
â€œJeff and Kish have worked together before and we wanted to capture the chemistry of them
Womens Collection: Shot at the foot of the bridge into the city
GREENPOINT PHOTOS: Ben Rayner Photography Assistant: Adam Gong Producer: Abby Bralove STYLING: Kylie Griffiths Make-up: Erin Green Hair: Darine Sengseevong
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Once upon a time, the weary and
poor of New York would head for Brooklyn. Rough around the edges, the borough became the destination for immigrants looking for a new life and a
fresh start in America. In recent years, like many deprived areas in major cities, the artists began moving in, attracted by cheap rent and large studio spaces. The neighbourhoodâ€™s diverse cultural and social mix made it fertile ground for a burgeoning creative community who soon gentrified the area and stimulated the local economy.
Beneath The Surface
In the heart of this hotspot, nestled on a quiet street in Bushwick, we find the studio of fast-rising artist Jack Henry, whose provocative paintings and abstract sculptures are attracting attention.
What is it that you do?
Was there a heavy influence from your
Jack Henry: I’m a sculptor who uses found
family on what you do?
objects and cast materials to make monuments
My dad is the director of the museum in Flint,
in honour of post-industrial America. I also
Michigan, my hometown, and my mum is an
work part-time as a freelance art installer,
interior designer. So art and aesthetics have
making pedestals and stretchers for other
always been a focus in my family. Growing
artists. I want my work to look like something
up, I was always playing with Lego, building
found, as if carved out of some unknown time
a tree fort, drawing or making videos with
and place. The theme in all my work centres
friends, but I didn’t start making art seriously
around an idea that our objects will become
until I was in college.
the artefacts of our time. I’m retracing my steps, picking up objects that have been left
How did you learn the skills you needed to
behind, and thinking about moments in my life
do what you do?
that I’ve seen common curiosities: a roadside
I think that any skills I’ve learned have come
memorial, a tattered billboard or a random
out of necessity. I had an idea that I wanted to
collection of objects in an empty lot that
execute and had to figure out how to make it.
when combined create a poetic moment that transcends the original purpose of each object.
When you look back at your earlier work, how do you feel about it? I’ve always made things, but a lot of the stuff when I was growing up was pretty random. Most of the work I did in high school and college I wouldn’t want to show people now. But, occasionally I’ll go home and come across a little painting that I did as a kid and
How does going solo affect your lifestyle? It’s always tough picking up freelance work. Sometimes I don’t get a call until the night before and may not have many details until I get there. But being freelance does allow me a lot of time to be in the studio and I can turn down jobs if I have a show coming up or a commission where I need extra time. Why you end up in Brooklyn? I moved to New York on July 4, 2010 – about two and a half years ago. I moved straight to Bushwick and have been there ever since.I graduated from the University of Maryland and was going to be looking for work wherever I ended up living. So I moved to New York because of the opportunities. There are so many galleries, artist-run spaces and pop-up shows with really good work in them. How are the people around you important when you’re trying to make it? There is a great community of artists in Bushwick and I think I benefit from being around people who are serious about the art BENCH. SS/2013
kind of like it.
they make. There are so many artists making good work all the time that it motivates me to get back in the studio. Plus, I figured that if there was an audience out there that would appreciate my work, with all the people in New York, I should be able to find that audience here. Do you think you’d be at the point you’re at in your career if it you didn’t live here? I feel like there is a sense of urgency in New York that I didn’t feel in other places. Time seems to move a little faster, and I get more done. And there are a lot of things to do in the city. I’m never bored.
Does the city influence your work? Well, for me, it provides a wealth of discarded objects. There is never a shortage of things to pick up that inspire a piece. And I see the best art in the world. The museums are excellent and there are tons of galleries. In one afternoon I can see a variety of 64
exciting artwork that I didn’t have access to in smaller places. Where are your favourite spots? There are some great bars in my area: Bodega, Pearl’s and Miles. I can always manage to have a good evening with my friends and girlfriend. And I like going to Chelsea to check out what’s new at the galleries. But it’s New York City and one of the best things about it is there is always someplace cool that I haven’t been to. It never feels like the same routine. www.ackhenryartist.com
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Even if you’ve never been to New York, you
How do you spend your time in the city that
know exactly what the place looks like. The
Big Apple has to be the most photogenic
Sunny Shokrae: Taking photos, looking at
city in the world and thanks to cinema and
photos, fixing photos, storing photos, backing
TV, endless images of sparkling skyscrapers,
up hard-drives. When that’s all done and I
yellow taxis and jets of steam rising poetically
feel good for the day, I’m all about watering
from the subway are burned into our minds
my plants, exploring the city I live in, making
from an early age. It’s one giant film set, and
trouble and remembering to call my family at
whether we like it or not, each of us falls in
least once a week.
love with NYC at some point. With its iconic skyline up top and
Which path led you here?
tremendous energy down below, it’s little
When I was young I got into photography
wonder that photographers travel here from
to keep an archive of my personal history
all over the world not just to snap away at
as it was happening. It was a way for me to
the famous sites, but to seek inspiration in
visually communicate the admiration and
every corner of every deli and bond with like-
affection I felt towards the people and things
minded souls. Iranian-born photographer
Sunny Shokrae was one such person who
It quickly turned into something that I
made the journey towards the bright lights
never stopped doing. I was mostly self-taught,
and over the last four years she’s made
and eventually after a degree in politics
the city her own. Her candid approach to
and working for a few years in LA, I moved
verité photography has been celebrated
to New York to do an intensive year-long
in VICE magazine and Sunny has recently
programme at ICP [International Center of
collaborated with fashion houses Opening
Photography] in photography. I’ve just been
Ceremony and Vena Cava.
learning and growing ever since, whether from a job I just did or the people around me doing the same thing. It’s always evolving and getting better and better. What is it about photography that you love? I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s amazing to visually relate to, excite, inform or communicate with people I’ve never met and never will meet. It’s a way to talk to the world however you want to. It’s endlessly satisfying and the day that it isn’t anymore, I will find a better or new way to do it.
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How do you keep yourself motivated when managing your own career? You have no one but yourself to kick your ass into gear. You have to create your world, to meet the people that facilitate and nurture your work. And you have to know the business side as well as the creative side. But the feeling you get after you nail a project or assignment or shoot ¬makes you feel so accomplished and driven to move on to the next thing and nail that too. What role has the city played in pushing you to succeed? I moved here in May 2008 because it’s the place to be if you’re pursuing photography as a career. There are so many doors to open; there’s so much going on. There are so many people doing exactly what you’re doing that it really pushes you to work your ass off and try to set yourself apart. It’s a constant motivation and the resources and opportunities here are endless. You just have to make it happen. I’ve learned a lot about what I do and who 68
I am by being here, but I think that happens with any big change or move. I assumed I would only last in NYC two years max, but every year that goes by makes it harder to imagine living anywhere else. It sucks you in pretty hard. Where are your favourite spots? It’s an impossible question as it’s constantly changing. I love it all. Which cameras do you always carry in your kit bag? The list is long, but if I were to name four that are always in rotation, they’d be: Canon 5D, Mamiya 7, Hasselblad 500C/M and the Yashica T5. www.sunnyshokrae.tumblr.com
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NYC SPRING AWAKENING : A PHOTO STORY BY CHLOE AFTEL
Creatives from around the world make the journey to New York to be inspired by its imposing streets and driven inhabitants. We asked Chloe Aftel, fashion photographer, to explore the boroughs, documenting the sights through a mixture of digital, 35mm and polaroid photographs.
“I wake up to New York!”
“I used to walk by it and during the warm months, the people who live there would come out to sunbathe, it’s just such a funny little spot on a busy street.”
“Of course there’s tons of graffiti in NYC, but in Queens, by PS1, there is some incredible stuff, entire blocks covered in art, all different styles. It’s one of my favourite places to check in with every few months.” 75
“George Washington Bridge.”
â€œLittle Red Lighthouse by George Washington Bridge. What a funny little place to find a lighthouse. The bridge is always lovely, but this odd lighthouse and the park by it are charming and understated.â€?
“Stained Glass, Greenwood Cemetery”
“Pepsi Sign in Queens - This is by the water, the building next to it is hideous, but there’s something about looking through it at the city.”
“Vernon blvd in Long Island City is one of those beautiful areas of a changing city. There is a lot of construction and development. I always enjoy shooting around
“Brooklyn Sandwich Shop - A lovely little spot, with delicious food, I try to get there every trip to the East coast.”
“Grand Central. Always a pleasure to travel through Grand Central, going upstate or around town.”
dress blsa1436 cheried
A look at the SS13 collection against the backdrop of iconic Manhattan
CITY SKYLINE PHOTOS: Ben Rayner Photography Assistant: Adam Gong Producer: Abby Bralove Make-up: Erin Green Hair: Darine Sengseevong
MODELS: Dayna, Lauren, Kendall, Tristan, Malik and Joe
dress BLSA1392 HIPSTA
STYLING: Kylie Griffiths
knitwear blfa1179 fancytown shirt blaa0924 camberwell
jacket bmka1543 ashdon jeans bmma0224-3 breaks v3 top bmga2761b juror b
t-shirt blga2556 rigmorolled shorts blla0102 prancers
her: knitwear blfa1188 fairuza him: jacket bmka1564 mizze shirt bmaa1086b roundhay b
top blsa1456 christener
shirt bmaa1085 otley shorts bmla0142 aintree
t-shirt bmga2985 postcard jacket bmka1578 tbc shorts bmla0142 aintree
dress blsa1439 pincrop
jacket bmka1556 mizah
t-shirt bmga2943 pontcanna
t-shirt blga2561 timerama
LEONARD PREDNIS THE MAN WHO BUILT THE GREATEST SKATEPARK IN THE WORLD
Located just north of San Diego at the foot of America’s sunny west coast, the city of Encinitas is famous for two things: surfing and skateboarding. The Beach Boys immortalised local hotspot Swami’s beach in the lyrics of 1963’s ‘Surfin’ USA’, and a steady stream of homegrown skateboarding champions in the ’80s and ’90s such as Tony Hawk and Danny Way cemented Southern California – or SoCal – as the sport’s spiritual home, flocked to by one man in particular who nailed Encinitas – quite literally – to the world skating map. To anyone connected with the San Diego skate scene, Leonard Prednis is a legend. An unsung hero who nurtured the skills and facilitated the dreams of scores of wannabe skaters. At the age of 25, he founded, built and maintained the skatepark at Encinitas’ Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, which at the time in the early 90s, was regarded as one of the finest skatepark in the world and is still popular today. On the back of developing from scratch one of the first successful skateparks, Leonard became something of a guru in this field. Although he’s no longer involved with the YMCA, he regularly receives requests for tips from budding skatepark enthusiasts and is only too happy to dispense advice. Leonard had never built a skatepark and had little practical experience when he embarked on the project as a volunteer at the YMCA in 1990, but he’d been a passionate skater since 1976 and had been a part of the scene as it blossomed throughout the ’80s.
thousands of skaters every year. But there’s
“I loved skating empty swimming pools
Leonard was working at a software
and vert ramps with friends,” says Leonard,
company when he saw the YMCA position
now 49. “What worked out well for me
advertised in the local paper. Soon he was
was that I was not your typical in-your-face
organising skate contests for 12-15-year-olds
skateboarder. If the police showed up, I was
and fixing the centre’s old ramps and building
like, ‘Cool, sorry, what do you need us to
new ones in what was once a 3,000 sq ft car
do?’ So we’d clean up and then the police are
park. From administration to maintenance,
thinking, ‘Hmm, maybe skaters aren’t so bad.’
Leonard was doing anything and everything
This positive attitude and natural ability
to improve the skatepark. No job was too
to foster a sense of community stood Leonard
small or unmanageable for the self-styled
in good stead when he took on the role of
“skatepark elf”. As there was little or no budget for
skateboard coach at the local YMCA. “I wanted the parents to trust me because they
repairs – this was a voluntary position after
were trusting their kids in a programme I
all – whenever Leonard came across some
was developing and riding on the things
wood or other suitable material, he would
that I was building,” he says. “I wanted
invite the young skaters to sketch their own
school administrators to feel comfortable
designs for ramps which he would then build.
recommending me to parents.”
Responding to their feedback, Leonard would change the ramps accordingly. “I always started with speed and flowlines,” he says, “but then I would get feedback from guys who wanted more street maneouvres.”
Leonard quickly put his resourcefulness
Capitalising on skating’s growing
to good use. “Through the YMCA’s contacts
popularity and keen to raise the sport’s profile
in the community, I’d end up talking to
in the eyes of the establishment, Leonard
contractors who’d let me know when another
started a programme called Skate PE (physical
company, for whatever reason, had to get
education) through one of the local high
rid of a lot of wood. So I met someone who
schools. “Rather than have kids run around a
owned a trucking business and then they’d
track and do 50 push-ups bored to tears, we
arrange for a flatbed to bring the wood over.”
set it up so kids would come to the skatepark
The park’s SoCal location meant that the
and get PE credit,” he says. “I would bring in
local professional superstar skaters would
PE instructors and say, ‘Our guest instructor
often drop by for a session – like everyone
today is Tony Hawk’ and he’d be standing
else, they needed somewhere decent to skate.
right there and the kids can’t believe it.”
“We’d develop a personal relationship with
As the park grew and attracted more
them,” says Leonard, “so if they were going
skaters, so too did the amount of paperwork
to do a photoshoot, I’d help them out by
Leonard had to undertake. As wild and
building a ramp or rearranging something.”
rebellious as skaters like to think they are,
Leonard has fond memories of Tony Hawk
the YMCA is a community organisation that
goofing around for photos with two young
demands accountability and so each time a
guys who’d travelled all the way from Alaska
skater so much as scratched a finger on the
to skate the park. On another occasion,
premises, this had to be documented. With
during one of the regular skate camps
this in mind, Leonard devised a ramp rating
Leonard would organise, Kris Markovich
system by borrowing the ski slope grading
made a surprise appearance as an instructor,
model – a black diamond would be the most
to the delight of the kids.
CUTTING YOUR TEMPLATES:
BRACING YOUR RAMP:
CRUCIAL ROLL IN SUPPORTS:
a point when he couldn’t go anywhere
His stack of paperwork also proved invaluable when he was able to provide
without people saying thanks for making the
evidence of the dangers of skateboarding to
skatepark. And he’s still a keen skater who
insurers in order for the sport to be classified
can often be found skating with his kids and
as a hazardous activity so that legislation
the other fathers his age.
could be passed in California allowing skateparks and ramps to be built in the state.
“Skaters always have to keep pushing
“After that controlled study, we had
themselves to try new and different things,
skateparks popping up all over the place,”
but it’s difficult if the environment doesn’t
says Leonard, “and unintentionally, I was the
change,” he adds. “I’ve always loved the idea
guy who started it. Over the course of time
of changing up the environment.”
I’ve had calls from all over the world from people asking about skateparks, safety and costs.” Leonard left the park around 1997 but by then its glowing reputation had spread around the world and Leonard’s legacy was assured, although being shy and modest, he’s the last person who’d admit that. He doesn’t get stopped in the street as
much these days, he says, but there was
3 LEARN THE BASICS
From noticing wax on a kerb to clocking paint on some steps, skaters see the world differently, and if I were running a park again I would incorporate that into it. I’d teach kids the basic principles of making dynamic structures.
for a Top Skatepark
4 MAKE YOUR ENVIRONMENT SKATEABLE
Skateboarding is so innovative and creative because it takes advantage of the environment, and there are things you can do to make your environment more skateable. 1 DO YOUR HOMEWORK
There are some basic structural principles that
People see the surface, but they don’t
people often miss. Say, if you have thousands
actually know what’s involved in it or
of people skating, your stuff wears out right
what’s behind it. So the first step is do your
away. If you can get people to understand
homework if there’s something you want
those basic principles, they can do things to
to take on. Research and find out what the
make their environment skateable
materials cost, for example. 5 DON’T BE A JERK 2 BE A GOOD CITIZEN
If you put up a little launch ramp and the
You’ve got to be good citizens. Some people
owner of the property gets mad at you, don’t
hear a skateboard coming down the sidewalk
start swearing at the guy. Apologise. Be
and they’re annoyed. Other people, like me,
cool. Unfortunately, when guys are flipping
hear it and step aside and hope the skater
themselves off stairs and getting hurt they
does a trick. But be aware not everyone likes
think they can take that toughness to the
skateboarding the way you do.
Leonard’s Five Tips
East London collective, The Stööki Craft Makers, is a creative ménage-à-trois between old friends Luke (24), Nadia (25) and Quincey
(24). Finding common ground in a love of art,
to push the boundaries of design, launching
label based in London.
fashion and film, in 2011 they joined forces Stööki Jewellery and Apparel, an independent Far from being a closed creative process, everything the trio does is collaborative, presenting themed capsule collections that are born through interactive art and immersive events that encourage anyone to get hands on and creative. And people
are beginning to take notice with the team having worked with collaborators such as Red Bull, the Tate, the V&A, MTV and Nintendo on artistic interventions for the Stööki community. And they’ve only hit the ground running just over a year ago. So far they have independently produced two jewellery and apparel collections, with no investment, no hand outs and only their intuition and guts to guide them. And it’s these levels of dedication that made them the clear choice for this season’s Self Made £1000 prize fund.
So what is Stööki?
events, which incorporate that element of
Stööki is a creative movement formed by
interactivity, are based on the individual items
three talented individuals. We’re split in two
within each collection.
different divisions, one side a Jewellery & Apparel Label and the other an art collective.
What’s the Stööki Curate series?
The label consists of small capsule collections
Stööki Curates is us three showcasing our
that are hand crafted and the collective
individual strengths within an artistic context.
(known as the Stööki Craft Makers)
The first one we did was heavily themed
around collaboration; we wanted to grow our
What do each of you bring to the table
community by engaging with them through
within the trio?
Myself and Nadia met at Sir John Cass Jewellery School and later met Luke through
How do you create your collections with no
mutual friends. I left university and was
funding behind you?
building experience within TV and marketing.
We have part-time jobs, so we all chip
Nadia was focusing on refining her craft,
in to buy materials and tools to produce
doing jobs for well known fine jewellers.
the products. The only downfall to that is
Luke always had a sharp eye for visuals since
always being limited on stock, however,
graduating from Central Saint Martins and
our audience are drawn to the element of
through Stööki his music production skills
started to flourish into Stööki Sound.
Have you hit any major obstacles along Where do you start?
We start the process with a brainstorming
We have met many! We’re taking risks and
session and it’s normally after being inspired
still learning as we go along. Being out of
by the locations we meet in. This could
out our comfort zone and knowing that our
range from the cinema, arcades and galleries
incomes are going to feel like they have been
we visit. Each piece we design and make
cut in half. In the long-run we knew it was
has its own story or theme behind it. So the
worth the sacrifice.
Where do you find your inspiration? Between all three of us we have different sources of inspiration. Nadia loves pop art and the opportunity to work with Yayoi Kusama at the Tate was amazing. Luke has a passion for sound and he has found many
others personality traits and ways of working,
ways of integrating it with the brand and I get
but we have formed a brother and sister
excited with interactive art and immersive
bond. It’s kind of funny that I mention that as
theatre productions such as PunchDrunk and
all three of us are only children.
Creators Project. The combination of things I just mentioned are so vast, yet they really do
What’s next for Stööki?
translate into what we do within Stööki.
We aim to connect with a few more countries in Europe and America doing events over
How has doing this changed your life?
there and spreading the Stööki vision to a
It’s opened us up to a lot of opportunities,
new audience. We’d love to have a concept
such as this. We feel like finally we’re free
store, incorporating a creative studio, event
to make and present what we want. We’re a
and retail space.
close knit team that work very well together. It took us a little while to get used to each
MORE ON BENCH We donâ€™t just want you dressed for success, we want you equipped with the tools to get out there and get shit done. Our hard-wearing accessories are designed and crafted for the people who use them, combining both style and function for fast-paced city living. So whether on foot, bike or board, our bags are made to 110
travel with you and withstand the pace.
PORTLAND middle 13S1BMXA 0711 right 13S1BMXA 0712
PORTLAND below left 13S1BMXA 0713
CROSS bottom left 13S1BLXA 0729 middle 13S1BLXA 0707 bottom right 13S1BMXA 0708
SPINNINGFIELD far left 13S1BLXA 0703 second left 13S1BLXA 0701 second right 13S1BLXA 0700 far right 13S1BLXA 0702
PRINCESS left 13S1 BLXA 0698 middle 13S1 BLXA 0697 right 13S1 BLXA 0699 113
MANOR left 13S1BMXA 0708 middle 13S1 BMXA 0710 right 13S1 BMXA 0709
ARDWICK 13S1 BMXA 0715
NORTHERN QUARTER INSIDE OUR CONCEPT STORE IN MANCHESTER, UK
SELF MADE IN THE NORTHER QUARTER
As part of our global roll out of the Self Made manifesto, we undertook a heavy-duty project to tear up our shop in Manchesterâ€™s bustling Northern Quarter and build in itâ€™s place a bold and unique concept store dedicated to promoting and supporting
people on a mission to make it happen.
New-look store upstairs showcases the new lines and capsule collections.
Screens showcase the campaign and content from the exhibitions
Dr Me Collaboration
Working closely with universities and the creative community, our transformation of the storeâ€™s previously unused basement into a constantly evolving exhibition and event space aims to give a platform to local creators on the rise and provide a blank canvas for like-minded people to come to together. The open spaces and raw fixtures made 118
from materials salvaged from the previous shop by our hard-grafting team, bring to life the ethos of Self Made.
The latest range from Mies Nobis, as featured in our AW12 book, on display
COMING UP AT THE GALLERY:
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MAS
A collection of individual
Focusing on the ever changing
An Exhibition of the Manchester-
photographic works by the
landscape and community that
based illustration collective,
MA photography students of
lives within the overspills of
Manchester School of Art.
MAKE IT HAPPEN FOR YOU £1000 OF PRIZE FUNDING
5 PRIZE PACKAGES
STÖÖKI OUR 1ST WINNERS
What is it that drives you and
£1000 to push you on your way.
The Stööki Craft Makers aka
where is your journey taking
Global exposure. Industry
Self Made trio Luke, Nadia and
you? Tell us your story and
guidance from mentors
Quincey. Stööki is an
share your talent and we will
Independent Jewelery & Apparel
give you the money to take your
label. Presenting themed capsule
ambitions to the next level.
collections through sound, vision and play.
SS / 2013
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AUSTRIA Americana Germany Markus Eibl email@example.com +43(0)662 45 33 38 BELGIUM Americana Germany Alex Delobe firstname.lastname@example.org +32(0)2 25 13 238 CANADA Freemark Apparel Brands Inc. Marcel LaFrance email@example.com +1 514 341 7333 CROATIA Kruna Trade D.o.o Damir Sablić firstname.lastname@example.org +38 521 380 255 CYPRUS London Clothing Company Louis Christophi email@example.com +35 799 49 0920 CZECH REPUBLIC & SLOVAKIA Destiny Distribution S.R.O Lukáš Přibyl firstname.lastname@example.org +420734445391
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GERMANY EAST Americana Germany East Joachim Geissler email@example.com +49(0)30 28 09 79 68
RUSSIA AG International Max Zavyalov firstname.lastname@example.org +7-495-2326262
GERMANY CENTRAL Americana Germany MID Wolfgang Schraml email@example.com +49(0)6196 20 27 994
SERBIA FM Company Milan Zeremski firstname.lastname@example.org +381 (0)63 779 33 66
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Published on Feb 19, 2013