I'm 32, I have a child, I skateboard, I learn, I teach, I read, I travel, I was born in Strasbourg, lived in Paris & moved to Bordeaux, I founded and run Magenta Skateboards.
You started working on Magenta in 2009 with your brother Jean & longtime friend Soy Panday. Why did you start Magenta in the first place?
I wanted to make a company that embodies the essence of skateboarding. Something untainted by the « normal world » that would be fueled by a sense of community, creativity & freedom rather than dry economic calculations. After being sponsored for 10 years and travelling the world with my brother Jean and my longtime friend Soy, I could no longer see much connections between my experience of skateboarding, and the way skateboarding was portrayed in the skateboarding world itself and outside. The voice of the skateboarder in the streets was almost nowhere to be heard. Neither did the artists surrounding skateboarding get much of an ear if they dared take risks and explore beyond the pre-established format. Skateboarding appeared to me when I started as the weapon of choice for misfits and screwups of all kinds : the half genius half crazy kind, the fearless ones that wanted to explore something no one else would nor could touch, some madmen, some nerds and random ones thrown in the middle for good measure. Definitely not people who are striving to make it in the sports world. My brother Jean who is an amazingly daring and creative photographer was retiring from shooting skateboarding and Soy never was given a chance to show his talents beyond the board because he doesn’t come off as the squarest of guys. I thought of them and the many discarded talents, from which I always drew more inspiration than the posterboys of skateboarding. There are so many ways to look at skateboarding, there are so many visions possible, yet the skateboarding that is presented to a large audience is impossibly repetitive and presents only the same vision from the same angle over and over again : « look kid, we can hire people that will crush all your hopes to ever be good at skateboarding, buy our shit! ». Surely that cannot be the only way. By travelling a lot I met enough people to know that many felt the same around the world. Magenta was born in hopes to present the spirit of skateboarding to the world from the eyes of passionate skateboarders who have taken things into their own hands.
What gets you excited about skatebording in 2014?
My first child is two and a half years old. When I see his passion, smiles and his chaotic behavior, I understand that children and skateboarding come from the same energy source. Skateboarding helps me nurture the child in me by staying playful and mischievous. It keeps me on balance and prevents me from believing anything is set or serious or has a purpose beyound what you and others project upon it. Skating through the streets with a crew of friends makes me a kid again for some brief moments : I want to boast, be daring, try everything and get away with it. Most adults have given up on that. Skateboarding is the ultimate reminder for me.Gou Miyagi wrote a great piece about his inner child on Facebook, you should look it up.
Can you explain the meaning of WORLDWIDE CONNECTIONS?
The name of the company comes from an appartment Soy and I shared for some years on the Boulevard Magenta. When we were not traveling abroad, it was a known hub for visitors from around the world that came to Paris on their own terms. There were always skaters staying from all over the place who joined the session, chilled & with whom we would debate till the late hours (notorious guests include Josh Stewart, Kenny Reed, Stefan Marx, Steve Brandi, Bobby Puleo & every british skateboarder that has ever lived). Traveling, friendship & exchanges keep skateboarding interesting, it is what WORLDWIDE CONNECTIONS stands for.
What's your best trip memory with the Magenta team?
Our last 2 trips to Japan have both been pretty epic. Last summer we premiered SOLEIL LEVANT in Japan. We skated a bunch, slept very little & celebrated like mad. We got to witness the destruction & irradiation of the tsunami & power plant explosion of 2011 in Fukushima which was very sobering in the middle of so much love and support from our Japanese friends, old and new. It was a busy 10 days with an unparalleded intensity & profound meaning for me. I’m still trying to figure out the visions I had during this trip.
What’s next in line with Magenta?
The entire team and friends from around the world (Josh Stewart, Takahiro Morita, Richard Hart…) are in Bordeaux at the moment for a big reunion and to film for our upcoming video project. The energy has been amazing so I have very high hopes for the outcome of this. The company is growing rapidly and more friends will be joining the crew soon on the spotlight or behind the scenes. Lots and lots of sick underground projects & new connections are popping up from every direction. Every year has brought so much that I couldn’t imagine or wish for. I’m hoping for a lot more of these pleasant surprises & chances !