J-imageSome people’s work is also their passion and it takes them to new levels and allows them to create something very special. These same people tend to be difficult to pin down as they are already ten steps ahead. The founder of Welcome seems to be in this category,  so when we found out he was willing to answer a few questions we where beyond stoked. Below is that exchange

Back on 2010 when you launched had it been a long time coming in your mind was this something you had dreams about growing up? 

It was more of a case that there wasn’t anything I wanted to spend my money on. I felt like skateboard companies were just marketing companies and that just seemed like the worst thing that can happen to something so great.

Is it scary at all how fast things seem to be growing, in 5 years you went from bringing some creativity back to helping start a wave that is spreading and helping to fight the good fight against the mundane and repetition?

Not really, when you are working super hard (along with another full time job) for 5 years and paying everyone but yourself it probably seems a bit longer for me than for people on the outside. However, I am not complaining because it has never been about the money or success.

Prior to Welcome were there any other prior jobs that used your artwork or was Welcome your first professional entry?

WELCOME is my first professional entry. I have always been pretty guarded about selling my artwork for whatever reason. I won an art contest as a kindergartener and as a HS Senior so that was the big accomplishments prior.

When you set out to do a board graphic, do you have a clear end result in mind or do you start off with a rough idea or a doodle and let the piece take you on a journey that results in a finished product?

I definitely start with a feeling or something I want to happen (like a spell) before I start drawing. I have a loose idea of what I want to accomplish visually. From that point it is just pretty much problem solving and letting it flow. Music is a driving source once I get going.

With how busy things are with Welcome do you still find enough time to skate?

I go few times after work during the week but I hate it (its either too dark or sun glare). The best sessions I have these days are by myself on the weekends…nice and early when no one is around. I try to do that either on Sunday or Saturday depending how beat I feel from the week.

Have you always been in Mission Viejo, Ca? If so did you skate Levels back in the day?

I am from Whittier. So for me it was Magnolia Bank, Alpha Beta, Rat Hole, Whittier HS and Geoff Scofields ramp. I would also go skate Upland Pipeline a couple of times during the week whilst it was still open.

Most everyone has at least one stand out day that they remember skating it could be the company they had or the tricks they pulled or the stuff they got to skate but it’s a day they keep replaying in their mind. Do you have any of these that stands out as one you’d love to repeat over and over again?

Absolutely, I have too many to list. I would say the first was when I first discovered skateboarding and just skating around the city with my friends Mike and Darren. It was pure magic, I was so stoked on my board and it seemed like I found something with boundless possibilities along with being fun and scary all at once. The goal of the company is to give that feeling to people every time they set up a welcome board.

Do you remember the set-up you where riding before your first actual Welcome set-up?

8.5 Popsicle with 149s and 53mm SPF. Boring

I remember back in the 80’s it seemed everything was fair game, neon, pastels, black n white, people were wearing parachute pants and skinny jeans (at the same time), acid wash, hair styles where all over the place it seemed the barriers disappeared for a bit and it was rad. It seems Welcome embraces that and takes advantage of a blue sky approach. Some people find it a scary animal to let run free, is this a philosophy you enforce or does your company embrace in this freedom without thought.

I think the spirit of WELCOME is that there are great aspects of all generations and types of skating. Just because a trick isn’t the popular trick at the moment doesn’t make it any less important or fun than one that is en vogue. Some of those older tricks are rad because based on the style that you do them they are good or not. Do whatever you want you know? That said there is ugly tricks and style I can’t stand just like anyone else. Skateboarding is the same as music. There are bands and styles of music that you love and hate. I would say WELCOME has pretty broad musical taste but there is some “bands” I am not into fur sure.

You been on record as a fan of the supernatural does it seem it odd or frustrating how resistant some people can be to acknowledging that we may be capable of more and there may be more out there that isn’t explained by any religion?

I am more frustrated on what people are willing to accept on faith or poor supporting evidence. With such easy access to information its amazing people are still into religion. Just think positive and I bet you will get the same results as praying to an imaginary friend. To each there own as long as it doesn’t affect others or mine freedom, unfortunately that is rarely the case. I don’t think you should need a reason to be good to one another. In regards to the supernatural, I just think it is fun. I am not going to kill someone over it.

Do you always start off in pencil?

Always with graphics. I’m too insecure.

Are there any works of yours that when finished you felt it might not be that popular but then you were completely surprised by the demand?

Every time!!! My favorites are guaranteed not to be as popular as something I wasn’t totally happy with at the outcome.

We grew up on old 80’s contests like Savannah Slamma and Street Style in Tempe etc. and everyone’s run would be totally different. Blender would be doing push carts and tagging, Hosoi would be rocket/method airing all over the place and then Lucero would do a bunch of curb tricks that wouldn’t even be properly digested until the 90’s etc. Do you think we could ever get back to that type of expression and creativity in contests or do you think the current formats simply crush that dream? For that matter have we gotten to a point where contest are hurting the life of skateboarding more then they are helping?

I think the last HB Vans contest showed some potential as having a lot of different approaches to the same terrain. That might be the future and somewhat of a tranny/street mix.

phorto by: Welcome /  Interview by: C.Black