“Fos” is a real Renaissance man, if one ever existed. He is a visual artist, the man behind Heroin Skateboards, and now the art director at Altamont Apparel, amongst other things. This jack-of-all-trades Englishman took the time to give us some insight into the life of an accomplished artist from the other side of the pond.
So, it’s noon here and you’ve already been up for quite some time now. What have you accomplished so far today?
Not too much… My girl has a day off, so hanging with her a lot. Watched the Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, carried on drawing a graphic for a Heroin Deer Man board, did a bit of planning for my upcoming Japan trip, and ate pie and chips.
Yeah, wow. I’ve only been awake for an hour and drinking my first coffee. So what’s happening in Japan? Is it a Heroin or Landscape trip?
Half holiday for me and my lady, half Heroin filming trip. It’s gonna be sick. Haven’t been to Japan for a while—I used to go twice a year.
So you’ve cut down on traveling. Why’s that?
When I was going there a lot, it was for filming for Live From Antactica, so it was kind of filming missions with the Osaka Daggers. But we haven’t had an actual video that we’ve needed to focus on filming for in a while, so I guess this is the first trip for the new Heroin video, really. Plus, I work for Altamont now, so I’m busy with that, and I live with my girlfriend now, so it’s hard to just take off for a month at a time like I used to.
When should we all be expecting this Heroin Video? Also, what about a Landscape video?
Both at Christmas. Henry Edwards Wood is working on the Landscape DVD—it’s all gonna be HD. And I’m doing the filming for the Heroin DVD and Alan Glass is editing, so things are busy.
That’s rad. So what’s your deal and place at Altamont?
Art director; place being they asked me to move to California and I said, “Can I just do it from London?” And they said, “Oh, okay then.”
Well, has it been more difficult doing the art direction all the way from London?
Not at all. I’m pretty much online all the time; if anyone needs anything, I can just get it over right away. The thing it makes harder is getting to skate, ‘cause it rains all the time here. That’s the only real problem.
What is your favorite place to visit/skate?
Osaka, Paris, Stockwell… I reckon LA is always fun. But, given the choice, I always head to Japan. I always have the most fun in Osaka. It’s amazing.
I’ve never left this country and I was wondering, are the skate spots more of a bust in Europe than in the US?
Absolutely the opposite. We get asked politely to move along; you get tickets in the land of freedom.
That’s the truth. So how did you get initially into doing art?
What’s weird is that I can’t exactly remember a moment. I’ve always drawn and always been interested in it. And then after school I didn’t really have a burning desire to become a plumber or an electrician or work in a factory like everyone else I knew, so I went to art school, much to the protest of my dad. I then became kind of involved in it all that way… ended up going to university to study design and then left and worked in a skate warehouse for a while, before starting freelance stuff and then doing my own companies.
What is your favorite board graphic you’ve ever done?
Damn, good question. I really love the “Pro Balls” ones that are out now. I’m stoked on those, but technically I like the Deathwish Antwuan Dixon “Black Jesus” board.
That’s crazy… being a huge fan of yours, I never knew you did that graphic. When should we all expect to see some Landscape and Heroin graphics here in the States?
Well, I was pretty much messed about by both my previous distributors for the brands, so I don’t want to do anything over there unless I’m sure that the people are right for the job. I’m actually in no hurry. Which is pretty weird, seeing as the US is potentially the biggest market in the world. But I’m only interested in doing something with someone who understands the brands and has their best interests at heart. We’re doing really great in the UK with both brands, and that’s our most important market, so I don’t want to do anything to upset that. I am talking to some people though, so hopefully later in the year when the videos are ready.
That’s great. I know a huge group of people anticipating this day! I’m a good friend of Colin Fiske, one of the Heroin riders, who lives here in Massachusetts. A lot of people claim Fiske is a little weird. Do you think people are just misunderstanding him?
I just wrote 100 words on him for a European magazine actually. Let me find ‘em.
If Colin Fiske were to one day explain that he is actually from another planet, it would come as no surprise to me whatsoever.
To say that Colin is a unique individual is a massive understatement, to quote the good doctor, he’s “One of Gods own prototypes, too weird to live but too rare to die.”
When he’s not riding bikes, writing retarded stories, making “Music”, painting, setting fire to things, throwing televisions off cliffs or taking nature dumps, he affords a little time to the art form known as skateboarding. I’m glad he does cos he’s one of my favourite skaters and you never know what to expect from him, the weirdo.
This pretty much sums him up as best I can.
Would we be able to quote that and put it up on the website?
When? It’s gotta be in Kingpin mag first, I think. Let me ask the guy.
Well, tell us something you would say right now about Fiske, off the top of your head.
Hell yeah, I was wanting to say something in the mag about his dress sense. See, my girlfriend says that he’s a “Fashion Terrorist,” but personally I think “Fashion Suicide Bomber” is more apt. He came and stayed at my place, and was sitting on the front steps eating a massive watermelon. When my girl went out to work, he said, “This is all I’m going to eat all day.” He carried it around in a courier bag to all the spots, and took slices from it all day long. The next day he did a red poo. Fiske is seriously a unique creature, the likes of which nobody has ever seen before.
I completly agree, Fiske is something else. What kind of art projects do you have lined up for the near future?
Trying to finish this series of boards for Heroin at the moment. They’re pretty tech and they’ve taken a few months. Then I have a few Baker things to do, an Altamont season again, going to be filming the Heroin video a lot. I’m thinking about trying to do a Heroin book… We kind of missed the ten year anniversary, but might try and get that out after the DVD comes out. I want to have some more art shows as well. I have a couple of shows coming up in Paris and possibly Tokyo, but I’d like to spend some time and do a lot of paintings for a show in the US sometime. I have a lot of ideas about that one, but we’ll see.
You sound completely booked for the year then! It’s always good to stay busy. So I guess this is the last question… Is there anyone out there you want shout out to or even thank?
Not really, I’ll thank ‘em when I see ‘em. Nice one.