As a magazine we have a certain responsibility during these uncertain times, more than ever, to compile and provide an escape; a slice of culture — the one thing even something like the economy can't touch. During these times everyone is put to the test to see who can cope, who has what it takes to make it through. Most of the subjects in this issue have overcome great challenges in their lives and careers and managed to come out of it for the better.
Unless you're fortunate enough to be able to get away, life for a Canadian skater can get mighty dreary in the winter months. You can break-out, hibernate or just power-through it, finding that dry patch of ground or parking garage as a safe haven. This is, for the most part, how I survive each winter — and it's also my suggested strategy for making it through this time of economical uncertainty. Lucky for me, I had the support of amazing photos and stories coming in during the two months leading to this issue's release. Fortunately for you, I was able to take these coping strategies and share them so that maybe your spring can get that much more sprung.
Starting in the most unlikely of places during the colder months is Ottawa's Seb Labbé. A skater who, in our opinion, shined brighter through the dark and terribly cold winter months than anyone else. He kept us warm with his whirlwind part in Xampl Films' Lo Def, staying motivated through the winter as most east coast skaters do with frequent visits to the local indoor park and maybe an unhealthy dose of females [he allegedly picked up a hot case of Mono as a result].
Or we can choose to deal with a sticky situation as Sascha Daley would (or at least did in this particular issue's Montana story): "jerk it" and douse ourselves in liquor. There's no written way to deal with our given economic situation and, after all, Chris Caccamise's piece could be right, life is short and could very well be meaningless if you aren't contributing something. Over the years that we've been covering art, however, it has never been more difficult to be an artist than right now. Color's Nicholas Brown braves the art stars in Miami, FL, and finds himself on the outside of North America's version of the Swiss Art Basel fair to discover a true diamond among a rough market place: female Cuban artist Quisqueya Henriquez.
What do you do when you can't afford to be entertained and there is no dry spot of land because the rain or snow falls sideways where you live? How about heading back into nature? That's exactly what a group of stouthearted Canadians did this year, preoccupying themselves with crashing waves rather than crashing markets. Jeremy Koreski shows what it means to be a surfer on Canada's west coast.
The most stimulating prompt for anyone in a rut would have to be music. But even the people making the sounds that sooth our wounds and get us going get bunged once in a while. Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie "Prince" Billy, sprung back from his own recession, recently releasing a bailout package of songs he wrote at Headland's Center for the Arts in California, where he was the artist-in-residence. In the case of Gang Gang Dance, a bizarre and almost unimaginable tragedy took their singer Nathan Maddox's life, followed by a close-call that tore their former drummer from the group. Today they create their own luck and certainty with the wild clamor and unique genre-mashing indie rock. If experimental isn't your bag and the singer/songwriter thing isnÕt working for you either, then certainly our third music feature will put a smile on your face. Nathan Williams of Wavves has recently dropped his first full-length album, spreading his blown-out beach-punk jams across the globe on a whirlwind tour. Our own Saelan Twerdy touched base with all three of these ripping artists/groups and we were thankful to Sammy Harkham for capturing a rare personal conversation with Oldham for the interview you can't get anywhere else but here.
Difficult times can't last forever though, and for some they don't even seem to register at all. It certainly seems this way for skateboarding's super sibling duo, Ryan and Scott Decenzo. Between destroying handrails and devastating contestants worldwide the brothers have amazed, annoyed and astonished. We followed them from Vancouver to Toronto, Barcelona, California, then back up again. At least one half of them is still working on getting across that border again as I write this introduction, otherwise there's not a damn thing these guys can find to complain about.
The rest of this issue is stocked with notable individuals who have endured tough times before and prevailed. It takes a creative mind to make it through these challenging times and we plan on keeping your creative mindset sparked while everyone else runs amuck. It's the very nature of Color and most of you, our readers, to thrive on such disorder. After all, most of you are skaters too. The majority of our core industry is run by skateboarders, adaptation has never been a problem before, and unpopularity is more familiar than the reality we've come to know in recent years. It's during these times when you might need a little extra to stimulate your stoke and we're committed to offering that to you. We hope you'll let this issue spring you into a great year ahead. —Sandro Grison