The San Francisco Skate Club is run by husband and wife named Shawn and Thuye Connolly. Shawn is a professional skateboarder and Thuye is a teacher at a middle school. At 3 oclock everyday Shawn opens up the shop and a rush of kids come flowing in. First they all have to do and finish their homework then they get to make art, or they can go on a skateboard mission with Shawn. During the time I spent at the San Francisco skate club I made a skate video, a zine, a music video, a commercial, and a short film featuring some of the bay areas best skaters.
Shawn grew up in Ohio and moved to SF at the age of 18. He quickly got picked up by companies and soon was on the cover of big brother mag. Shawn is a incredible human, he has spent the last 20 years teaching the youth and helping the image of skateboarding in SF. Shawn has also spent years working with the city on getting more skate designated areas in the city and in the last 2 years he has been successful with the outcome of new Skate parks one in the mission district and the other in the sunset.
Shawn has taught me so much over the years, from learning how to ollie to how to use premiere and how to render VHS files. I thank Shawn for so many of the things that I love about San Fran. Shawn is the true definition of a SF local, he was born and raised and hes still there holding on not letting the yuppies take him out.
I asked Shawn a few questions about what is keeping him doing what hes doing and what his thought on art in the city is like right now. I asked Shawn what he thought the skate club might look like in 5 years and he said ” in 5 years the club will most likely not be run by me, I want to ensure that SFSC will be here forever but I want to pass it down to someone who will stick with it for as long as I have.” I then asked how Shawn has been doing what hes been doing for so long he said ” The reason Im still doing what Im doing is because i love it, The feeling I get when I teach a kid to skate or when I Get to see kids like you grow into older mature skaters who are giving the skate scene a better look.”
Benji and I met when we both started working for a summer skate camp. It was right when I moved back to Santa Barbara and me and Benni started to skate and film a lot. He went SBCC a for two years and took photography and then recently Benji moved up to SF to a photography school. Benji has worked with a couple companies like rip n dip and spitfire for ad photography as well as taking photos for shows at the Fillmore. Benji always has a camera and is taking pictures of everything around him, it is great to have someone documenting all the time.
When I go to San Francisco and meet up with Benji for the day we like to meet up down town grab a bagel at our favorite spot Luckys and then hop on the the bus to GG park. We usually skate all the way across the city from GG park and up back in the Richmond. I love to just get to skate around with friends in SF and it is great to be able to go anywhere in the city for free. Benji has only lived in SF for six months but he thinks he wants to stay.
I asked Benji some questions about trying to be an artist and living in sf this is what he gave me. What is it like living in San Francisco in the modern day I asked “I love how SF is now there are some frustrating things like the prices foe rent and food, but besides that it is a beautiful place and it is great to get to explore the city.” I then asked what he thought about trying to become an artist was like and he said ” It is extremely hard to be a artist getting into the game right now, there are so many people that want to become photographers and there are also a lot of people that can.” The last thing that me and Benji talked about was his thought on the art scene in SF he said that it is becoming a lot more of a business tech city and less of an art one.
Kurt Is My step dad, he is a guitarist, a drummer, a bass player, and he is a studio engineer, he also owns his own studio. His mother was a beautiful singer and he has a lot of musicians in his family. Kurt has lived in multiple cities and counties like Japan, Iceland, Germany, and San Francisco, Santa Barbara, New Orleans, and Tennessee. Kurt went to UCSB for sound Engineering and Classical Guitar and then moved to SF and Started touring with Jello Biafra from the Dead Kenedys and the Melvins.
Kurt Started his own studio in Potero Hill of San Francisco and Worked there for 15 until recently when the Owner wanted it back. Kurt has been a huge inspiration for me to start playing am instrument and to pursue a art form. He has also has taken my mom, my sister and I to a bunch of festivals like Out SideLands and Coachella. He has traveled all over with people and played so many festivals that now he can get tickets to most shows. It is really cool to get to have someone like kurt in your family.
I asked Kurt some questions about touring and music this is how it went.. “how did you originally get into music” k: “I started playing music at very young age, she would teach me simple songs on the piano and she would practice for shows.” I also asked what it is like to tour with big bands and get to be in front of thousands of people,” He said ” It is very fun to get to be with Jello and other Singers, sometimes I forget that he is such a big deal, and its great to get to be with a band and get to be working together. Going on stage is a pretty frightening experience at first but once you get used to it and learn to trust your band it isn’t bad at all.” Kurt is no longer touring because of my young sister and is now doing sound at clubs and will still do local shows with Jello Biafra. He also has a new studio and is recording new and old bands.
Quin and I have been going to the skate park for years, it is the first place we met and is one of our favorite places to this day. The park is a great place to meet people and to start relationships. The skate park is where I have met most of my closest and best friends, and it is usually where I go to meet people. Me and Quinns friendship started with us playing skate and him brutally winning, I remembering hating after that because of how embarrassed I was but that event started our relationship and I am happy he beat me at our first game because I have won the rest since then.
Skating is a big part of Quinns life and I am happy that I have gotten to watch him progress over the years. For Quin and I skating is a huge outlet and has kept us both out of a lot of trouble it has also taught me about not giving up and trying until you accomplish something. Quinn says the best thing about skating for him is ” the community that you get to build over the years and all the friends that you get to make, also how you can go to the skate park at any time and and you know you will see someone you know.” I asked him why he loves Skaters Point and he said ” I like skaters point because of the sense of family that you get from being there, everyone is there to have fun and practice, which makes it so great. I am very thankful that we have such a great skate park in Santa Barbara.”
Quinn is one of my favorite skaters because of the style that he has. He always has new tricks to try and he never gives up on a trick, Quinns style is like a surfer, he stays low to the ground and makes sharp turns. Quinn is more of a street skater but can handle pretty much any terrain. Quinn and I will be at the park for the rest of our lives and I cant wait to see how good Quinn is gonna get.
Lukas was born in Germany, he moved to California for college and has been going back and fourth since then. Kasul is a street artist, a business owner, and a CC student. He was born in Hamburg Germany and started the Kasul movement when he was 15. Kasul is one of the most detailed artist that I know, each kasul that he does has something special to it. He used to do more street art and graffiti but as he has gotten older he has moved more into canvas and focusing on his clothing company which has recently blown up in Germany.
The kasul icon comes from the German doller bill, and is warped in its own way for each piece or painting that he does. Kasul is a huge inspiration to a lot of people because of how young he is and how successful his brand has been, he sell’s his clothing to cc college students and also to a large amount of people in Germany. He currently has merchandise at 15 stores and sells through an online store to the US and Germany. He plans to broaden his online store worldwide and also to get his own store in LA one day.
I asked Kasul what art was to him and he said ” art is my life I think about it constantly, Its the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think about at night, It constantly keeps me entertained and never disappoints me when I do it. I think that I will be creating art for the rest of my life and m very lucky to be able to make art every day and also to get paid to do it with my own company.”
Kasul is the most talented painter that I know he paints canvass that he sells for 25 dollars and could be getting hundreds for it. I hope to see him get his art work into more galleries and I am very proud to be friends with such a talented artist.
Amy Louise Baird
Amy is a very special person because she has the ability to learn and do anything that she wants to. Playing the accordion, sure why not, learning to draw portraits, traveling for months on end and going to pretty much every music festival that is worth while. I believe that a big part in my interest in art is because of my parents, both of them tell me that I have it in my blood, with my dads father and my moms grandmother.
Amy has been taking me to music festivals for as long as I can remember, she started taking me to lightning and a bottle when I was 5 and when I was 10 we went to Burning Man, I got to see a lot of really creative art and music that I would not have seen otherwise. My mom has taken me to China, England, Scotland, and Iceland. My mom lives in San Francisco with my little sister and my dog.
I asked my mom what art was to her and she asked me what I thought it was then a couple minutes later gave me this ” Art is something you are born with, it is something that you develope, copy and change, art should never pressure you and it should never feel like you have to do it is something that is just there when ever you need it or don’t.”
My mom is an acupuncturist which means that she basically sticks needles in people for a living, she officially became an acupuncturist while she was pregnant with me, and when I was 8 we went to china for her to get her doctorate. Were in China for a month and a half with a whole class of my moms students. We went to ancient ruins in Shanghai and got to see old emperrors in Honzoi. My mother has always given me amazing experiences and I am so happy to have her as my mother.
My moms art might have died when she graduated college but she will always be an artist at heart, I hope that I continue to make art for longer than her and I hope she continues to encourage me.
Levi is the closest thing to a brother that I have, together we have traveled, spent months on art projects, made multiple skate videos, and passed out trying to surf. Levi is 22 and has been making art his whole life, he is probably one of the most diverse artists I have ever met, he is a painter, glass blower, sculptor, photographer, tattoo artist, and wire wrapper. Levi is a very fast moving person so even though he is so talented in so many art forms he is always looking for something new to try and learn and master. Once he feels accomplished with the art he moves on to the next medium putting the new skill set in his bag of tricks for later.
Levi is originally from South Carolina, he moved to Santa Barbra 6 years ago with his ex girlfriend, when he got here he had a car, 300$, and his dog that was it. When him and his girlfriend broke up Levi and me started hanging out a ot more and eventually it got to the point where he was staying over every night and giving me a ride to school in the morning then after school we would go skate the park for a little and then go film in the streets. Eventually Levi got his own house and got a job at Golden Eagle tattoo shop.
I asked Levi what art was to him and he gave me this “To me art is a way of figuring out your self, It is a time to be by your self and in your head focusing on one thing, art to me isn’t about what anyone thinks (unless Im tattooing) it is only about how I feel and if I like what I have made, people have loved my art and people have hated it but at the end of the day It is still my art work and my opinion is still the same.” Levi is a huge inspiration to me, he has changes his life dramatically and he has chosen to let his art lead his life.
Tye is my oldest and best friend. We have been through a lot together and I have seen him overcome a lot of hard opsticles. In 7th grade me and Tye were skating everywhere in San Francisco, we would get out of school grab a 1$ slice from the ghetto Liquer store next to our school and then we would just go and bomb hills for hours, never once having to pay for a bus or any form of transportation. These were some of the funniest times of my life because I was skating everyday and because I had found a friend who had everything in common.
Tye likes to rap…. and hes really good at it, two years ago Tye went to a high school in San Francisco called Washington High School it is probably the worst school in SF, and Tye tried to turn a negative situation into a positive one. He started having rap battles in the bathrooms and he would make bets with people on who would win by popular vote. One day Tye called me at lunch and told me that he had made 450$ from rap battling at school, and then he told me he also got expelled and then got all of his money taken. I like this story because it shows the side of tye that I like, the one who wins every rap battle and if he doesent youre sure that hes going again.
For Tye art is “Everything to me, Its a form of expression, Its the most conveinent thing to do, It lets out emotions, Art is great! If I didnt get into art who knows what I would be doing, It dfinetly would not be a positive thing. Art is life and life is art.” Tye is the type of person who needs art, because art is helping him in more ways than anyone could imagine, he is a very aggressive person and would constantly be getting to fights as a kid, Since Tye figured out how to channel his anger into art he has been much happier and healthier as a person.
I met Vadim last year on a MAD trip to mexico. We were put into the same building group and ended up becoming friends. The first day of working we were all eating lunch and I threw a cookie at Vadim and for some reason he thought it was a rock, he immediately rushed me and picked me up by my shirt, It was while he was threatening me and spitting on my face that I realized we would be great friends. After the trip we started hanging out and he showed me all of his books of art that he had made, along with the thousands of photos that he has taken.
Vadim is the type of artist that does not specify to one medium, he can draw, paint, photograph, act, sing, and if he needs to model. Vadim is by far one of my favorite artists because his work varies from every piece that he does. One day he will be doing some of the most depressing and serious work and the next day he will be showing me a drawing he did of a smiley face tattoo that wants to get, this is what makes Vadim so great.
Last year after graduating from SBHS Vadim moved to new york to go to art school. He was there for a full semester before he decided that he was done with school. He now lives in Santa Barbara again and has been focusing his time on doing collages with mixed mediums of his own drawings and cut outs from magazines or anything cool he can find. To me Vadims art has always told a story, through the way that he puts emotion into every aspect of his art. His art is something that will stick with him for the rest of his life, he has gotten several tattoos of his own artwork and continues to add to the collection.
I asked Vadim what art was to him and I received this “Art is what is inside your head It is like a dream that you can control, when I make art I want it to excite people because if you aren’t then your work probably is not original.” We talked about it in depth for about 30 minutes and when we were saying good bye Vadim left me with one last quote “Art should be like a horror film… In all the good ways.”