Talking About Money with Mike O’Shea

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“Mikey, my big butt brotha, an authentic individual with a rotund rumpus. A man with the weight of a moon on his back. Posterior monthly’s rear of the year. Yes it’s true that Mike can do really cool doodles, but it’s unfortunate that his raw talent should be so overshadowed by his bell shaped buttocks! Such is the luck of the draw (get it…draw?) in the birth lottery that his undeniable gift as an artist barely gets a look in because of his undeniably god given curves. But he doesn’t believe in God, because he thinks he’s a bit of a berk, not just Christian God either..all of them! What sort of God would gift Mike with a trouser-bursting hump like his and deny the same privilege to his two identical triplet brothers! A God of war! Or a God of phwooaar! Zing!

Anyway, enough butt jokes, Mikey is a breath of fresh air in a sea of pretentious try-hards, he has an in-built default setting for always calling things as he seems them (whether you like it or not) and I believe his authentic approach to life really shines through in his art. Plus it looks fun, like Mike, a fun dude who has a mean bs 360 to boot. I feel honored to have him as a friend and to be able to piggy back on his talent..and he can croon like you wouldn’t believe…plus he can dance. MIKE IS ART! Mike is his butt! Like Totally! Yeah buddy!” – Phil Evans

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Our cartoon correspondent and all round dope doodle cheese Jon Horner talks wonga with this week’s guest…Mike O’Shea.

Let’s start with Lightbox. A lot of how you made the animations is covered in the behind the scenes video, but I was wondering whether you had ideas for scenes you wanted to do before you started working on it, or whether you were reacting to the footage once you saw it?

There were no set plans beforehand, I just knew I wanted to do some sections where one frame animated into the next frame. Other than that I just made it up as I went along. Phil would send me rough edits and ask if I could add stuff in certain parts and I’d just try stuff and send it back to him and go from there. I was getting bits sent to me all the time and we would talk about ideas for it and stuff, but most of the time I didn’t know what it was going to turn out like until I had finished that section. Long story short, it was all about reacting to the footage when I got it.

When did you know what the music was going to be? Everything fit together so perfectly, it’s pretty impressive that there wasn’t some massively elaborate master plan beforehand.

Haha, Maybe Phil had a plan all along and didn’t tell us! It just kind of grew organically I think. Me and Phil are on a similar wavelength so it just kind of worked. It was so easy working with him, he pretty much liked everything I gave him and we seemed to have a very similar view of what we thought worked and what didn’t. I didn’t know what music he was using until he sent me a rough edit for me to work from. Like I said before I couldn’t really do much until I saw the rough edit, I responded to the footage and the music at the same time. I really like Gibbo’s music and I think it fit really well with the whole vibe and that definitely helped when i was drawing my silly pictures. I got super amped on the tunes and it made me want to do some trippy stuff that would work with them smooth beats, ha!

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Have you and Phil worked together before?

Yeah, we have worked on getting a dance floor pumping with our sweet moves but we have never worked on a video project before. Phil got me involved with a group exhibition he was apart of a few years ago, so we kind of worked on stuff together before but not really. We both had work up in the same show but that’s about it until now. We clicked pretty quick and I always really liked his video work and he seemed to like my drawings so it was only a matter of time before we did something like this together, I think he was just waiting for the right project to bring me in on. We had talked about doing something like this for a while and this seemed like the right time to give it a go. I hope we get to team up again in the future, just like they do in the Avengers.

Ha! Which one of the Avengers are you? Which one is Phil?

Hhhmm, good question. Which one keeps them all together? I guess that would be Captain America. Phil is that guy, the nerdy dork that no one likes but without him it would fall apart. I think I would be Ironman because I’m super smart, witty as hell and I have loads of money and sex appeal. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Good choice. And you make things that almost destroy the world.

Haha, hell yeah. That’s me. The key word there is ‘almost’, I also save everyone’s asses. People reading this who don’t know the Avengers aren’t gunna follow this, ah well screw em, those jocks.

It is pretty odd that a huge amount of people now do know who the Avengers are. Ten years ago I don’t think anyone would have seen that coming.

Yeah for sure. Anyway Jon, back to me and my drawings. Jeez. it’s not all about you and your dorky comic book heroes. Why did you bring that up? (I know I brought it up but I thought some tension would be good for the readers, ha!)

Hahaha! Did you read comics much growing up?

I read Spider-man a bit for sure but that’s about it for the American stuff I think. I always liked that guy. I read a lot of the Beano and some Dandy also. Can’t remember too much of it now, but I used to have a stack. Me and my brothers would try and come up with new super heroes all the time. We would all draw a bunch and try and out do each other with the coolest heroes.

You make comics yourself, right?

Not too much, I have dabbled. I did a couple for Eyeball Comix and some small ones for Vice. I want to do some more for sure, I think its fun to mix up what I do. I get bored if I just stick to one way of working. I like to paint, illustrate, animate, make comics, clay sculptures and whatever else I can play around with. This week I have been playing with clay. It’s fun to use your hands and experiment a bit with the stuff rather than just drawing all the time. It’s cool to think in a different way sometimes.

Yeah, I totally know what you mean! It seems like a lot of how you work is really tactile, like you keep computer stuff to a minimum. Is that true? And is it a choice or just how you like to work?

I wish I could keep it even more minimal on the computer front. I’d love it if I never had to use a computer again to create anything but that’s not going to happen. It is very useful and of course it is great for a lot of things, I just don’t like staring at the screen all day.

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Did you go to art school or anything like that?

Yeah man, did all that jazz. Got into debt and learned a little bit, ha. It was good actually but I’m not sure I would go now with all the rises in fees. It’s way to expensive for what you actually get out of it, you spend most of the year off with half terms and summer holidays.

When did you start Highbrow? What made you make the plunge into small business ownership?

Haha, to be honest I’m not sure when I started it, it kind of happened slowly and is now moving even slower! I just wanted to make a bunch of stuff and put it all in the same world, the world of Highbrow. I was starting to make videos and I wanted to make some board graphics that I didn’t think fit anywhere else so i made them for my own thing instead.

So what’s up with it now, is it on a Roger-style hiatus? Got anything planned?

Haha, yeah kind of I guess. I just moved to London so I’m trying to still find my feet here. Once I am settled I think I’ll start doing some more with it. It’s not going to be a proper board company or anything, it’s more of a fun side project I can work on from time to time, you know, put out limited edition boards and shirts and stuff. I am about halfway through filming a new video. Now I’m in the big smoke I hope to get the ball rolling on that a bit more. I’m sure I’ll have something else to go along with that when the video is done.

Also, starting cool, independent, underground board companies is so last week.

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What prompted the move to London? You were in Bristol before, right?

I had enough of the white crusties with dreadlocks and bare feet! I was there for 9 years and one by one a lot of my friends moved to London. I came up to stay with Chris Jones a bunch (yeah I just name dropped, big deal) and he pretty much convinced me it would be a good idea to move here. I don’t think he has many friends, so I have to hang out with him now to make sure he has company, I mean, who likes that guy? Well apart from everyone. Only playing. I luv ya C.J. Now go finish filming your Isle section.

I love London right now, I mean, it’s the honeymoon period so of course I’m loving it. I’m lucky that I have a good crew of friends that live close to me so I don’t have to travel for 2 hours to visit anyone. There’s also really cool stuff happening all the time. It’s hard to stay in and draw when there are exhibitions, book and zine fairs and stuff like that to go to. Also there are loads of new spots for me to skate.

Rad. You’ve done board graphics for the 3 Js (Joe Gavin, Jak Pietryga and Chris Jones), got any more coming soon? Anyone you’d particularly like to work with?

I don’t have anything lined up at the moment. I think it’s time I do one for the double J, Jake Johnson. How cool would that be? Ha. There aren’t too many that I’d like to work with to be honest. It would be cool to do a board for Polar maybe, or Magenta, but I’m not sure if my stuff would fit. Where do you think my vibe would work best? Which company would my drawings fit on?

Maybe enjoi?

Yeah, I think I could maybe do something for them if they were down for it. I like Drehobl’s new series that just came out. Oh and a Krooked guest board would be awesome.

Have you got any other projects in the works?

I don’t have any projects lined up at the moment. I’m just about settled into my new life in London and I’m now in a position where I can start thinking and working towards new things. I am pretty much just doing things for myself at the moment. If anyone is interested in working with me give me a holler, I’m well down for doing some cool stuff.

Do you have a day job then?

Yeah, I have a day job which takes up a fair amount of my time at the moment, but you’ve got to work to pay the bills and London ain’t cheap. I work in a coffee shop in Camberwell called Daily Goods. Most peeps who work there draw and skate including the badass boss ‘Carter’, so I’m in good hands. Pop down for a coffee if you’re ever in the area.

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Do you collect boards or art or anything like that?

Yeah, I have a few boards that I have kept hold of and not skated. I have a Roger deck that I really like, it’s called the Bowl Troll. I also have the first Skate Wizard Polar deck, which Jakke said was the first graphic he drew for them, so that make it even more special for me. Jacob is my boy.

Oh and I have Chris Jones’ first pro board for Crayon. I don’t really like the graphic if I’m honest but when your mate gets his name and face on a board that’s kinda a big deal. Most of them are sentimental I guess. Oh, and I’ve kept one of each graphic I’ve designed in the past.

I collect art and zines from my friends too. We normally do swaps. I give them something and they give me something in return. It’s good to support friends. I have some stuff from Kyle Platts, a few paintings from Jacob Ovgren, Paul Arsecott, Tim Ryan and a bunch of other friends that make cool shit.

Who else’s stuff are you into at them moment? In skateboarding and outside?

Hhhmmm, well to be honest i have not been looking at much artwork at the moment. I find I get too influenced by other people’s work so I’m making a conscious effort to stay away, ha! I want to focus on developing my own stuff and not get side tracked with what other people are doing. Also, I think I’m more inspired by people’s attitudes towards working then their actual work. Like, somewhere who loves to make things and is honest and pure in what they do and just does it because they have to. People’s positive energy for life and creating get me hyped, I’m hoping some of it will rub off on me. All that aside, I really like that cartoon Rick and Morty. Have you seen it? It’s so interesting and goes to some deep places at times but is still just a funny cartoon. It would be pretty damn cool to work on that show I reckon.

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What medium that you’ve never tried would you like to have a go at?

Stand up comedy, that’s an art form right?

Yeah, definitely! How come?

Because I think I’m funny. Ha, well normally when I’m drunk. Oh and I like the attention. A room full of people watching me makes me feel good inside. I’m a bit of an attention seeker sometimes.

No, but I really like stand up comedy and I think it could be an interesting thing to try, or maybe do sketches and weird videos and just put them on YouTube, ha. I mean, I use humour a lot in my artwork and I always wondered if I could translate that to something else other than drawings. But these are just thoughts, I’m in no position to actually try it out. I’m too scared.

Me and Phil Evans send each other little weird videos of us trying to act and stuff from time to time, mostly to make each other laugh. We have talked about trying to make something for the public also, but maybe they are just funny to us. Inside jokes and the like.

Last words…

Try not to be to self conscious about what others might think. Do what makes you happy and enjoy yourself. You don’t have long on this planet so have some fun. Oh, and go dancing in a club, field, bus stop or whenever it doesn’t matter, as long as you are dancing its all good. GO DANCING RIGHT NOW.

Check out Mike’s dancing skills at his site, buy some of his rad shit on his shop and follow his doodles on Insta. Phil Evans’ Lightbox project can be found here.

Now get those teas on mate…

Coping Mechanism

Coping Mechanism DVD by Phil Evans

coping_mechanism_skate_dvd_malmo_sweden_phil_evansPhil Evans is somebody who has built himself a reputation as filming skateboarding differently from everyone else. The obvious definition of a skate video is a film that features skateboarders doing tricks on spots with a musical soundtrack. The purpose of a skate video is to get you hyped to go skate and hopefully incite you to support the skaters you’ve seen on film. Coping Mechanism goes beyond the conventions of a typical skate video because it introduces the viewer to a group of skateboarders who rip great spots but also drive their scene forward through positive actions. As a result the viewer wants to go skate, act in a responsible and positive manner for their local scene and support the guys featured in this film. Coping Mechanism is a documentary film that focuses on the efforts of the Malmö (Sweden) skateboarders who have learnt to work with or without their local authorities to build one of the strongest and most influential skate scenes in the last decade.

Skate-Malmo and Brygerriet are two incredibly competent bodies that act as the link between the skateboarders and the politicians to get concrete poured, contests run, local entrepreneurs promoted and good times had by all involved. Phil turns his camera and mic towards a handful of individuals that each plays a part in strengthening the Malmö skate scene. Will Taylor and Dave Toms are both foreign construction workers who have settled in Sweden and helped pour a vast majority of the concrete everybody shreds on a daily basis. Then you have Emma Lindgren who acts as a figurehead for female skateboarders breaking down the barriers of convention and paving the way for Swedish ladies to get radical.

oskarPhotoNilsSvensson.A trip to Malmö is also a pilgrimage to the DIY spots of TBS or Steppeside molded and mastered by local rippers like Pontus Alv and Matthias Hallén. These guys knew that their city was limited in what it could offer terrain-wise, so they decided to grab a couple of bags of concrete and build their own spots. This do-it-yourself mentality has spread like wild fire around the globe, but for the Malmö skaters it was never a question of setting a trend. It was a simple necessity if they wanted to skate. All of this creativity and elbow grease has had a strong influence on the younger generations who lend a helping hand in building their scene, but also polishing off their abilities to rip all sorts of spots. Fernando Bramsmark and Oskar Rozenberg Hallberg skate all day and all night and are the poster children of this next generation.

Finally, one man embodies the Malmö skate scene and is held in the highest regard by his peers for going above and beyond the duties of a local skateboarder for his scene. That man is John Magnusson also known as J-Mag. Described as a calm and humble person by his peers, John took it upon himself to create a dialogue between the skateboarders and the local authorities to guarantee a constructive collaboration that has seen the old industrial town of Southern Sweden become a premier location for national and international skaters seeking great spots to visit. These visitors breathe new life and esteem into a community that previously had very little to offer in return. The key to the success of the Malmö skate scene is probably due to the level of trust between all parties. The skateboarders have the responsibility to develop and build their skateparks with the direct experience and knowledge of using them afterwards. The street scene thrives too as locals share their old and new spots with one another and newcomers in a bid to push the scene and be proactive in promoting local brands.

Evans has been careful to embed himself within a scene and listen to what the key players have to say without neglecting anyone or anything. The Malmö skate scene didn’t just appear overnight. Spots had to be built and sometimes re-built, lines had to be found, films were made and dialogues were established to serve as a testament to the City and the skateboarders who seem to have cracked the code of positive collaboration. If you were wondering how to push your scene forward, the first step would be to get a copy of Coping Mechanism and watch it with your friends, family and local authorities. As a documentary, a single viewing of Coping Mechanism should spark the fire in viewers to contemplate their own scenes and communities and figure out what needs to be done to compensate older generations and invest in future generations.

You can pick this DVD up from the Skate Malmo site where Oskar Rozenberg Hallberg’s photo featured in this review on this page and other shots by Nils Svensson are available to buy as prints.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

Watch Phil Evans’ Light is Light edit

Phil Evans has sent us another creative video edit to share with you today featuring Brian Corscaden, Fogo, Rob Moss, David Stenstrom, Al Collins, Martin O Grady, Daniel Stankovic and Phil Zwijsen. His mixture of Lomokino, Super 8 and digital cameras have been put to the test here with great results forming Light is Light.

The track is originally by Lungfish, one of Dischord’s most unique bands, but this version of ‘Love is Love’ has been recorded by Tortoise & Bonnie “Prince” Billie. A remarkable cover of a classically timeless track. Great stuff.

Light is Light from Philip Evans on Vimeo.

DIY Bowl video: How to skate a roofless room

formatperspectivePhil Evans sent us a DIY bowl edit this morning freshly built in Ireland inside an abandoned roofless room. This task took a while with not much knowledge and know-how but as we all know, effort and will always comes good.

Watch this edit featuring Rob Moss, Gibbo, Finn Merrins, Brian Corscaden, Ciaran Hughes, Gav Coughlan, Shane Wheelan, Rich Gilligan, John Dillon, Patrick Bateman and Sherbert Dipdab with Max Zaska’s drumming guitar skills.

Bowl Jazz from Philip Evans on Vimeo.

Leave It Out edit from Format Perspective

It was a pleasure to hear from Phil Evans last night who sent over this new edit shot last year whilst filming for the Format Perspective full length through Slovenia and Sweden. The results in this edit are a new experiment mixing HD, Super 8 and some illustration.

Click play for footage from the trip featuring Emma Lindgren, Olivier Shonqvist, David Stenstrom, Craig Scott and Jake Snelling. Format Perspective can be purchased here. Support the cause.

Format Perspective London screening details

If you have been stoked on the Format Perspective teasers that have been appearing online this summer then get hyped on the UK screening that has just been announced. Phil Evans’ film that documents the lives and opinions of six European skate photographers will be shown on Thursday 4th August, 8pm, The Wayward Gallery, 47 Mowlem Street, London, E2 9HE in association with Kingpin Magazine and Carhartt.