Photos by Michael Cukr
Most people are lucky if they can say they have one, maybe two great talents.
The human being production line must’ve been malfunctioning the day Julian Klincewicz got created though because the kid honestly does everything. The 21-year-old’s been scouted to work with everyone from Kanye, to Calvin Klein, Gosha, and Eckhaus Latta, just to name a few. Skating, music, filmmaking, writing, photography, designing, modelling, art: there’s no pie he doesn’t have his finger in. We caught up with the San Diego native to chat about how growing up skating affected his art practice and how he settled on his distinct, VHS inspired style.
What was your first taste of creativity?
My first taste of creativity came from my mum, she was a painter. Anything from there would have been very subconscious, maybe seeing her paintings when I was a baby in Chicago. I went to the Waldorf School, which is basically a whole different education system. And a big thing was also growing up skating. I think it’s an inherently creative activity and lifestyle—from the graphics on your board, to the different styles of skaters, to watching all the Alien Workshop videos, which in themselves are pieces of art, and even how skaters dress.
How long did you experiment before you landed on your current style?
For me making art is, this is going to sound like the most bullshit thing ever, but I feel like I identify as an artist the same way I would identify with a sexuality or gender or whatever. Everything that I do or see in the world is shaped around the context of art. I never tried to measure myself against other artists in terms of style, it’s more I sit down, I have an idea and an emotion, and I try to make sense of it.
Everything you’ve done feels very honest…
I think that comes from identifying what really interests me. There’s this Charles and Ray Eames video called Glimpses of the U.S.A., and it’s this giant seven-screen installation comparing the US and Russia in this big overview. And for me that was super informative, this was before I was even interested in video, but I was like, “Wow, you don’t just have to make a film or a skate video.” You can create an overview of a feeling and transport people.
Do the different mediums ever compete for the spark of inspiration, like should I make this a song or a poem or a short film, do they intermingle?
Usually when I think of anything I think in four or five different mediums. And then I do whichever one feels right for me. A lot of stuff just starts with writing, like I have this sentence that I see in my head that I really like. So I write it down and then if I’m playing guitar it could be a song. Or if I’m looking through my photos I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this photo is a song,” or it could turn into a video, it kind of just depends on what I’m working on at the moment.
What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
Inspiration I think is the best time because it’s something you feel in your whole body. There’s infinite potential, and it’s something that you haven’t made yet, so there’s still the possibility that it could become everything and anything that you’re imagining. When it comes time to edit, it’s a whole different thing of taking all these different pieces and the original idea that you had, then turning it into a reality. I make stuff that’s really meaningful to me and try to hold it to the standard of, “Is it the best thing I can make?”
Even the hard parts, like when you’re doing client work and they want to change parts and you need to come up with a creative solution so it’s more concise. It’s like when you’re skating and you’re physically in pain from trying a trick that you didn’t get, I still like that because I’m like, “Fuck, well at least I tried.” Skating is such a personal thing, ultimately you have to learn it all yourself and eat shit a bunch of times. But then you just get it.
That’s a pretty cool analogy, I wouldn’t have thought of that. It is funny how a lot of skaters are becoming, I wonder if it’s because of that?
Even now that skating is cool, there’s still such a dislike of it because of how destructive it seems to be. I get it, if you’re an old lady and there’s kids skating in front of your house at 11 at night, it’s loud and fuck that. But the thing about skating is if you start from that place where you’re a true skater and you’re just doing it because it’s fun and you get to spend time with your dudes, it’s such a specific thing that uses all these tools which translate into art so well. Persistence, a little bit of fuck you, and learning to do it yourself ’cause that’s what you had to learn through skating.
What’s in the works for you this year?
In the past six months I’ve been doing a bunch of collaborations with brands and stuff which I’m super excited about. But for the next two months I’m really going to try and focus on personal work, maybe a couple of exhibitions, and putting out two new books, or a book and a zine. I’ve still got my album, maybe I’ll send it to you to check out? But I’ve been sitting on that for a while, so I’ll try and release that properly and try and do some work around it.