For anyone with even a passing interest in skateboarding, Jason Dill needs no introduction. Professional by the age of 16, he is a true legend whose place in skateboarding history is confirmed. But Dill’s creative interests and exploits go well beyond planks and wheels. He also takes photos, publishes zines and designs for FUCKINGAWESOME, his clothing line. Dill has been a permanent fixture in New York’s downtown creative community for many years. We talk to him about skating, photography, Dash Snow and regret.
Where were you raised?
Huntington Beach California. I got out of there as soon as I quit school.
Where do you call your home base now?
The island of Manhattan. I want to move to the woods.
I read an interview where you said people always refer back to the early 90s as the “golden era” of skateboarding. Do you believe this?
I think the guy interviewing me said that the early 90’s was “the golden era”… I was just answering his questions. I don’t know or care.
There are no coaches in skateboarding… there is no finish line or winning objective…
How do you feel about being virtually immortalized in video game form for EA’s Skate 2? Now kids can literally play with you.
Ummm… yeah it’s great… I wish it was half grand theft auto, half skate.
Is it true that you are a guy that is more motivated by passion than by money and more driven by creativity than commitment?
Yeah, passion and integrity don’t get you the big bucks.
Is it true that you don’t have email or voice mail?
I have a phone at home. My friend bought me a cell phone recently. It’s somewhere in my messy house.
Do you find that due to technology such as the internet, twitter etc that nothing is sacred?
Everything now is made for instant consumption… eat it, shit it out, on to the next… nothing is held anymore… try holding your computer… it doesn’t feel like a news paper, photograph or record…I will lose this fight… we have lost this fight.
Do you smoke cigarettes? What kind? I’m going to guess Marlboro Lights.
Nice try… I’m a Camel man.
I heard that you are an avid reader. Any books you would recommend?
You’ve got a lot going on. You are not only a pro skateboarder but a curator slash business owner slash artist slash photographer slash designer. How do you keep up? Where does the passion come from that drives you to do all these things?
I don’t think of myself as any of those things… I mean aside from my occupation as a professional skateboarder… it’s nice to think people think of me as a person who makes things.
Tell us about Fucking Awesome? How did you guys come up with the name?
I thought of the name FUCKINGAWESOME in a cab when I was in London in 2001 with my partner Mike Piscitelli… we talked about what we’d like to see and wear… like all of our inside jokes and hatred for the western world put on paper then translated into clothing…
What’s up for next season?
Next season comes out next season.
It seems that you have a standard of integrity of who you would like wearing your clothing line. I read in an interview you did with Don Pendleton you are quoted as saying:
‘I made a clothing company and I’ve got fucking skateboard rappers wearing it. And I’ve got Paris Hilton’s latest boyfriend wearing it on the E! Channel or whatever. I don’t want that. And people wearing it on the covers of their fucking lame albums. Fucking dumb. I hate everything.’
Do you still feel that way? Have you ever said anything in an interview that you regret?
I didn’t say that exactly, if it reads that way so be it… I meant that I have seen these assholes wearing FUCKINGAWESOME, me saying “I’ve got” is like “look what I’m dealing with here”… I have accepted that kooks will buy and rock your brand…more power to the kooks… fuck it… if I see someone who I don’t like wearing my gear there is really nothing I could do about it…and no, there is nothing I regret in anyway what so ever… I don’t hate everything… I did at that moment… I may feel different in 30 seconds about anything… I am a much calmer person these days… I think drug abuse swallowed up the last of my craziness.
How long have you been shooting pics with your Polaroid camera? What led to this?
I lived in a trailer park with my grandmother when I was young, she had so many polaroids… I used to look at them all the time.
Looking at your photos from the zine “This is what its always been like”, there are a few pictures of your dear friend, the late artist Dash Snow (RIP), did he influence your art in anyway?
Yeah… totally… I don’t really know if it has sunken in that he will never buzz my buzzer again… I will never open my window to see him standing on the sidewalk below saying “dude lets go walk around”… I feel like he’s in a far off foreign land at the moment… and any day now I’ll get a postcard from him saying how great it is there… I miss my friend…I see him in the eyes of Secret (his daughter) everyday… yes, he had and still has a tremendous influence on the way I do a lot of things… he pushed me to put my photos out there in the first place…the sunshine bores the daylights outta me too Snowman…
Your photos look pretty candid with or without a person. Do you think you will ever explore doing a photo shoot that the subject is maybe posing and that every little detail is planned?
Uh, I dunno… well, no… not like in a studio… no… that’s like pro shit… I mean lets be real here… I’m just fucking around shooting boners and boobs most of the time…
Do you find by taking photos is a way of visually documenting your past?
Yes of course… at least of anything I have something to hold when the person goes away… and if I go away they have something to hold of mine.
What do you think about the future of Polaroids?
Ummm… I just saw the new Fuji ones…. the photos are cleaner and a lil’ wider than the Spectra… I have about 200 shots of Spectra left… so yeah… I dunno. But yeah I still use film… if digital is the only choice in the future perhaps I’ll stop shooting photos.
Are you nomadic in spirit?
I was on the run for a long time… now I don’t know what i’m doing…
I am afraid of flying again…