The master of the underground skate scene, Creator of the wierdess brand, Polar Skate Co.
What have you been up to these days?
My life is just working on the company, taking care of all the things everyday – from production to graphics, team, filming and everything that you can imagine.
Are you working on any new stuff lately?
Yeah, we are working on some video and we’re finding some time to edit it. I have so much work all the time with the production so it’s hard to find time to edit the film. We’re done filming pretty much by now. We just need time to put it together. It will probably be our full or half length video, I don’t know, we’ll see along the way how it will turn out. So yeah, it will come out this fall in September or October but I’m just going to take my time to work on it and not just mess it up. It’s a very important piece. I want it to be a really special one and unique, so it’s going to take some time for sure.
How would you describe you arts?
I don’t know what you’re thinking about specifically because they are all different. Some of them are photographic and some of them are illustration, painting. We don’t really have a big master plan to do the stuff. We just go with the feeling so when it feels good then it’ll look good, if it’s right or if it’s funny or not. It’s very spontaneous. We just produce stuff and try to make the best of it. I mean, there isn’t some deep meaning, but sometimes there is. It really depends on the graphics. Some stuff is just funny or looks good. It’s not like some deep process. To describe my art, the graphics I do, I do them just for fun. I just like doing them. I’m not a graphic designer or a painter. I just mess around and try to make it.
Is there any inspiration from the art side of skateboarding?
Yeah, of course. We’re inspired a lot by the old master in the skate history: all the Old Bones, Santa Cruz, Powell stuffs, all the stuff from the 80s and early 90s. There was some really amazing artwork being produced then and of course, the time of skateboarding means a lot to us and sometimes we find inspirations in it, create our own twist and do our
own things with it. The main inspiration is some skating from my childhood memories, late 80s or early 90s stuff that we’re into or I’m really into. For me, it’s my childhood, so we’re just creating our own things and everyone is developing their own ideas. We also find inspiration anywhere. It’s like where you can find anything in life – walking down the streets, seeing other things, travelling or just hanging out with the team rider, anywhere that we’ve travelled and what we usually do.
Do you give art direction to your artist/rider who worked on the art or is it by individual creativity?
For sure. Like, sometimes the riders have their own ideas and creativity that they would like to see on their graphics, or sometimes they don’t have any ideas so we try to come up something for them. We’ll just do stuff and show them if they like it and most of the time they will like the things that we’ve done for them. It just works out in a natural way and yeah, if we don’t like it we don’t produce it. So, it’s a mix.
Was starting POLAR base on a long time reflection, a dream for you to run your own skateboarding company?
It’s every skater’s dream and for me too. I’ve been involved in skateboarding for 27 years. I’ve done so many different things, from projects to video and films, being part of a team and whatnot, and of course what else am I going to do. Like, I’ve produced my own film and I was a pro-skater and all these things. It’s my last chance is to run and create some- thing of my own. Put all my ideas to it and my vision. Create a team and video, create a full circle with all the knowledge and show my vision of skateboarding and the world, so this is what comes out and that is what you guys are seeing. It has always been a little bit of a dream, and also a challenge trying to create something new. Many years of skate- boarding can be pretty boring: I wanted to make skateboarding fun again. I think a lot of people get inspired and they start doing their own things and now, I think skateboarding is nice again, a lot of new energy in the industries, new brands, new people are all doing cool stuffs and these are great times.
What do you look into from someone to ride for Polar?
Relationship starts from everything like skating and hanging out to making sure they are cool guy. The person has to be someone you want to hang out with – great personality – and of course, the skating has to be cool and interesting. Yeah, so it’s all about originality, great personal- ity, great creativity, and having your own style. It should be also possible to hang out with the people and the rest of the crew. It’s very important to have unique character.
If you don’t have enough places to skate, the best idea is to build your own spots.
Are you particular with spots that you want to film?
Yeah, the spots are kind of really important. It has to make sense where we ride, so we don’t have spots from like China, Barcelona, L.A., Flor- ida, you know what I mean. I try to film where the guys live or where the guys skate and of course I try to keep things rough and industrial, old rusty-looking. I think it looks more interesting that way. Making a film is not only about the tricks, it’s also about the spots as the spots tell the concept of the whole thing. It’s like, when people feel it then it’ll make sense. It’s not just another random spot from around the world, so it’s important to have ideas on what spots you want to skate and film.
Photos by Nils Svensson
Does that bring you to build your own spots?
Yeah, I’ve been doing that for many years. If you don’t have enough places to skate, the best idea is to build your own spots. If u can’t find it on the streets where you live, then of course you’ll have to start building your visions and ideas.
How long does a spot last, before it gets removed?
Some of them last for a month, some a few years. That you’ll never know, you have to see what will happen, when you build it, you need to skate on it. One can’t have a fix plan on its durability. Sometimes, we need to rebuild it, because there will be fucking people breaking the spots. There might be times in which you’ll have so many problems you’ll have to look after them.
"We really don’t care about the hype, because people are the ones who make the hype."
What makes a brand works well in the market?
I don’t know, because I don’t have a set plan. It’s not that we do it to make it a business; we do it because it’s what we do. We make film, art and skate. This is what we’ve been doing for so long, keep on doing until people are into it and support it. One has to be original, do it’s own thing without copying existing brand, trying to create something new and fresh. There’s no guarantee for this, one will have to create message-like idea or a vision to make people dream. One has to be a lifestyle creator for them in order to join in or to be part of it.
What comes first: hype value or aesthetic?
We really don’t care about the hype, because people are the ones who make the hype. If you do a great job that people like, eventually they will write and tell stories about it. They want to a have the piece of it. Of course, you need to push the culture and aesthetic forward, as well as great ideas, quality skateboarding, videos and products. That’s how you’ll do well in the things you do. The hype will come by itself. It is not on us to create it.
Are you satisfied on how the brand is evolving right now?
When you grow global, every company has issues. There will always be problems with cash flow, money, production, business and distributions. The moment you create a brand, it is impossible or everything to be perfect. Sometimes, having a brand can be a real, very tiring nightmare. Yeah, it’s not easy all the time. There are a lot of things that needs to be done with.
Are you planning to tour Asian market?
Yeah, we are going to Japan this year, featuring Carhartt and Polar. I really like Japan. That’s the only thing I have in mind for this year. It’s quite expensive to travel in Asia with the team, considering our company’s budget in order to travel around, say China or else in Asia. We only had the opportunity to go to Japan.
Also, we’re doing collaboration with Carhartt this year, which is already done and is about to be released this fall. Surely, that’s going to be fun. Of course, if there are some sponsor opportunities, we will defi- nitely be in other part of Asia.
Interview by Taufek Asmarak (Waxfeather Magazine, Issue 02)