“People always want something; meanwhile, finding the moment to be needed. Today, we are discussing a relationship that surpasses the both, Symbiosis. ”
“Symbiosis? What the hell?” you might think, but the reality is the most universal connection of Symbiosis is between you and your cellphone.
It would die without you, and at the same time you would be bored to death without it. Symbiosis is not distant, and the answers to the questions often resonate with your hearts.
Let’s talk with Andy from AMPM Studio, a fashion-forward streetwear select-shop/brand.
“First, can you introduce yourself to us, please?”
Andy: Hello -I'm Andy from AMPM shop, I also go by my artist alias - “Dsbk1” or “Dabs 1”, for those familiar with my graffiti writing and mural work .
Andy: I came into contact with skateboarding during mid 1980's through exposure to punk rock kids skating around on the streets in my neighborhood. It had a profound effect on me seeing these kids cruising the streets lawlessly and recklessly.
The kids seem to have a control and determination of their identity and they didn't seem to care much about what people thought about them. Which was raw and this was attractive and my first notion I had of freedom to be yourself and not care, discovery of individuality in oneself.
I of course become more interested in this culture after finding skateboard magazines in my local drugstore. Ones like ‘Thrasher’ and ‘Transworld’ which educated me in all types of information in and outside of the skateboader's domain. After I discovered these outlets of information I realized skateboarding was more than just a fun past time for kids to do, but an actual sub-culture. So I became very immersed into the style, music, the fashion and the general attitude of what it all encompassed. And it is of course a fun past time about riding around and challenging yourself to be daring and to take chances. These are all attractive attributes as a kid to involving yourself into something of this nature.
Graffiti life, I first became aware of graffiti on a summer trip to Paris during my mid-teens which was in the early 90's. I found it very profound and mysterious seeing all the graffiti along the metro train lines in Paris, around in the city and in the skateparks. But it didn't have a really immediate impact on me until a skateboarder friend of mine introduced it to me around 1992. During that year I taught myself how to draw and illustrate so I could join him when he went out to do graffiti writing- tagging & bombing. It was exciting and it really reminded me of the excitement I was having through skateboarding like an adrenaline rush which you get from riding and landing tricks.
After I discovered the culture I really immersed myself into it and gave up skateboarding to pursue graffiti writing, so I could improve and get better at it.
I dedicated most of my time and attention to graffiti writing from 1994 until now. Because I was having so many injuries (especially hand injuries). It affected my performance in improving with graffiti so just decided to sacrifice skating as my main activity to focus more on art and graffiti. Although I still connected to the scene through friends but just I wasn't fully active in skateboarding during this initial period.
I only came back to skateboarding within the last 10 years through my interest in collecting board art, and also from light skate park riding.
Andy: This is a hard question because I have 3 main collections of skateboards and each collection would be hard to give up. Each collection has a significant background that speaks about my journey as a skater and as an artist, designer, and graffiti writer.
These series include the skateboard graphics of the 1980s, the skateboard of the artist "Marc McKee" of the 1990s, and also many cross-border of graffiti and artists. These series of different periods can be said to have recorded different periods of my childhood, including ignorance, recklessness, aggressiveness, etc. In general, there are some small stories behind all my skateboards, and some even cost me a lot of time to search for, so these series have a very special place in my mind.
But after all, I suppose I probably would leave all of them on Earth however and just bring the board I ride mostly today.
There are too many to choose from and I wouldn't be able to decide. It would be way too hard, wouldn’t it?
I realized that I had collected too much because I wanted to retain the nostalgia and memories of the past. Compared with the actual possession, these memories may be retained in the mind or through image recording, and it is easy and comfortable.
“What’s your opinion of skateboard being a culture or a consumptive instrument?”
Andy: I think it's both. It can be an art piece and it can be something you use for enjoyment. Obviously it differs between different types of people, right?
I came however from an era in skateboarding that it wasn't super popular like it is now to be a skateboarder, and you could even get beaten up or yelled at on the street for being a skater. It was a very anti-establishment niche scene of people during those days. I was coming up into this culture as a young kid and it surrounded itself around art, music, fashion and lifestyle much more than it does today.
Whereas in some ways skateboarding was for me a cultural scene bringing a bunch of alternative weirdos and outcasts together. More than a commercial consumptive instrument like it is considered today.
Andy: I can say they are both co-exist by sharing similar traits in that they both thrive off the art of taking risks. You have to take chances and make quick decisions in both which can affect your progression, and of course you’re putting your life on the line at times because of the dangers involved.
The rush you get from those actions are the major reward in participating in both activities. It builds self-esteem because they are both hard to master and take time to develop.
“They both take advantage of the urban landscape and develop themselves through manipulation of its environment. Skaters and graffiti writers assimilate with the changing of the environment and challenges involved making them both very dynamic activities.”
Usually both cross over between each other because of these similar traits making them co-exist quite successfully.
Also I wouldn't have discovered either of them unless I was exposed to the music that encompass both scenes. So that was something that also bonded these two scenes together as a lifestyle.
Nowadays the lines are quite blurred between people being a part of just one of these activities. Usually you'll find both scenes having some involvement with each other. The most obvious example of this co-existence between these scenes is the graffiti art you'll find residing on the walls of most skateboarding parks and spots around the any city globally. It is street language and form of communication that follows most of these locations where skaters and graffiti writers hang out and existing together.
“Are skateboarding and graffiti assimilated into your life or changing any aspect of you whatsoever?”
Andy: Skateboarding in the beginning of my youth developed me to who I am today because of the exposure of music, art and lifestyle, politics. But I had stopped following this culture for a while after I discovered graffiti writing culture, both scenes are together in a lot of ways.
Of course skateboard art speaks to me and I'm inspired by this and also creating through my graffiti writing or clothing design. I’m sure subconsciously I incorporate and assimilate both cultures by developing and drawing. Those influences for my newer concepts and directions in any creative projects I'm involved in.
The fluidity of motion through skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding has also helped me over the years develop my understanding of fluidity in my artwork through creating lines and curves. The motion of body movement is an art form which can be incorporated, and interpreted in many different ways.
If you have participated in any of these activities for a long extended time, then you will definitely apply its influence of motion in many different areas of your life. This would be a form of direct assimilation.
Andy: We feel there is more interest in our brand residing outside of our base location of Taiwan, also wish to explore those outlets. Globally the world is much smaller nowadays with access to social media and online resources. It’s also much easier to connect with different groups of people and that is an exciting prospect for us.
We will begin to create our new collections from there seeks out possible collaborations, and pop-up store opportunities within the following year.
“At the end, we shall say that every person we collaborate with is a new human of next generation. Now, after the interview can you describe your feelings toward our brand?”
Andy: I'm not completely familiar with your brand's products per said. Although I can say to conduct an interview with people from different circles of life, sharing those experiences with your readership is a progressive way in thinking.
It’s also obviously a positive course of obtaining information and spreading information which is useful for a new human of next generation to develop their open ideas in concepts of healthy living.
There may not be a boundary between street art and life. From the graffiti on the pillars and walls to the skateboarding youth in the park. These seemingly cluttered but arranged in the city have a sense of unexplainable harmony.
For Andy, the symbiosis does not necessarily depend on who or has a physical relationship with whom, but on the closed relationship between each other, like the street elements in the subconscious affect the behavior of the entire society mode.
After all, graffiti is the most primitive desire of a city; skateboarding is a dynamic street art that demonstrates freedom and existence.