Dolan Stearns and Brian Delatorre made it to Tokyo for Brixton's art show Visual Relay. Photos, collages and fine art, we took a look into the creative minds.
──BRIAN DELATORRE & DOLAN STEARNS (ENGLISH)
[ JAPANESE / ENGLISH ]
Photo: Kentaro Yamada, Special thanks: Brixton Japan
VHSMAG (V)： How did you get hooked up with Brixton?
Dolan Stearns (D)： I was skating for Lurkville and I met this dude in San Diego. He had a Brixton mirror at the end of his hallway and I was like, "Oh, that's sick." And he's like, "You like Brixton? You're on." He was good friends with Dave and Peter who started Brixton. So it's been almost 10 years now.
Brian Delatorre (B)： I got on Brixton through Jason Lee, a guy who works at Brixton. I met him through Kevin Coakley. I was riding for another clothing brand and actually the same day that the clothing brand went under and stopped sponsoring skaters, Jason Lee was in town, in SF. He heard about it and was like, "Hey, you wanna ride for Brixton instead?" And that was pretty much it.
D： Who were you skating for?
B： Koala Tree. They're based out of Utah.
V： So it's been a while since you guys got on Brixton. How is it like over at Brixton?
D： They're family. Really relaxed and chill. Loving.
B： Yeah. It's a family. Everyone's pretty close and the garments are nice too. Solid people running it. I like their jackets.
D： I like their hats. I wear a lot of their hats.
B： And their button-ups. I wear a lot of their button-ups.
V： So you guys are here in Tokyo for the art show, Visual Relay. How did you get into art in the first place?
D： I was just drawing in elementary school and then it just kept evolving into what it is now. Just always doing art.
B： I was just traveling a bunch. Just been traveling and figured, why not capture moments, you know?
B： Memories and places and different culture. So I picked up the camera in my early twenties and then I've just been shooting ever since.
V： Who were your influences?
B： I'm surrounded by photographers constantly and I just always loved film and my friend who I grew up with is really into photography and he's a photographer. But just hanging around with them and seeing how they got other things going on other than skating. Picking up another outlet. I'm more of a hobbyist. I was self-taught, learned through other people and different photographers and just had to figure out something to do other than skating because you can't skate all the time.
V： You play music as well.
B： Yeah, I play music as well. I was living in New York and had to do something in the winter. So picked up an instrument. My roommate at the time was like, "Hey, I know you're learning how to play music and all, but just don't do it when I'm home."
D： Oh really?
B： Well, it's because I didn't know what I was playing, right? I was just strumming the guitar making noise.
V： But that's how you start. How about you, Dolan? Who were your influences?
D： I just see random artists. Nothing off the top of my head, but I just see random inspiration and just grows from there. But definitely graffiti influence. Just kind of dirty grimy stuff.
V： The griminess definitely shows in your work. So how did this art show come about?
B： I came to Japan in September on an Ace trip, and I met Shota who works for Brixton Japan. We were talking about the art shows we had in Europe and he's like, "Oh I wanna do that, let's do something out here." I was like, "I'm down. Let me know when. Let's figure it out." And it actually happened quicker than I thought.
D： After the Europe shows, I think Japan really wanted one, so we just kinda did it again.
V： How were the Europe shows?
B： They were amazing.
D： We did Paris, London, then Berlin. But yeah, it was really fun. Lot of good turnouts. I think this show is actually the best turnout out of all the shows that we've done.
B： Yeah, good setup too. Definitely more stoked on this setup than any of the other ones.
D： You have frames for your photos.
B： Yeah. I didn't have frames last time. Just tacked them on there.
D： Still looked good though.
V： What's the concept of the art show?
B： We collab with artists that are from where we are. For the Tokyo show we had Issei, his work is amazing. So every place we went to, we had a local artist.
D： What's cool too, Issei skates for Brixton out here, so it's all the Brixton riders pretty much for Tokyo. So that's cool. But the shows in Europe were just like artists that were from the towns.
V： For the Tokyo show, there's illustration, collage, fine art, painting and photography. It's a unique mix of all different styles. How do you feel about mixing different styles at one show?
B： Great, yeah. It's diverse. Everything's different. Different kinds of art, watercolors.
D： I think it's great. It's not just a photography show. It's different visuals. I think it's probably good to mix it up a little bit, keeps it a little bit newer.
V： Dolan, you've got four different styles. Collage, cigarette pack and baseball card, and then fine art.
D： Yeah, the collage stuff kinda came to me super random. Pretty much how my desk looks at home so I kinda just have so many scrap drawings that I just ended up starting to tape them on and then one looked cool and I was like, "Oh, that was fun." And then I just kept making more. Then the cigarette packs just come from traveling and finding empty cigarette packs everywhere and I just drew the little creature on there. The fine art came just to get away from all the dots and chaos of my other art and do something new and fresh. You gotta keep it fresh all the time.
V： How about your photography, Brian?
B： Actually for this show, I wanted to just show a kind of "A Day in the Life" and what my friends and I do whenever I'm back home from trips. I usually don't shoot skating, but this one day I was just bonding with them and some of the photos came out cool and I just wanted to just pretty much show what we do from Twin Peaks down all the way to the bottom.
V： So they were shot in one day.
B： Yeah. Except for two photos. And the rest is all just one day of cruising. But usually I have just street photography. It's what I usually shoot. But I just wanted to change it up for this one.
V： Looks like a fun day. What's the process for making art for you, Dolan?
D： Just constantly drawing. Always drawing so I just have to keep drawing. No really, like the process is just always happening really. Constant. Kind of like him, he's probably constantly shooting photos.
B： Yeah. Always gotta have a camera on you.
V： How does traveling inspire you to shoot photos?
B： It's a new country, you know? It's a new culture, new scene. And I like capturing different scenes, different places. We're all the same but all very much different. It's weird. Everyone has 9 to 5 jobs and they go about their day and they have families. That's what I gathered from traveling, like everyone has the same kind of routine structure. And I like capturing that wherever I go.
D： I don't travel as much as this guy, but traveling with the art is just inspiring. Going to new cities, like he said, and seeing everything new and seeing the local art there, as in graffiti or hand styles. My mind's always looking around. I'm just always doing the same stuff. Handling the little creatures, so whenever I get a little bit of free time, just draw.
V： What makes art an art? O ask this because art can be weird at times. I went to a show before and saw a video installation where the artist is bouncing his balls for nine minutes. Do you think there's a border line?
D： I don't know if there is a border line. Because you can just say anything's art really. You crumple up a piece of paper and call it art and put it in a museum and sell it for a freaking million dollars. You just say it's art, it's art. Pretty much.
B： It's all up to the individual. Art can be anything. How you take it and I don't think there's any limit to art.
V： What do you think about each other's photography and art?
B： I've got his artwork on my body. I love his artwork. I love his tattooing, He's got a steady hand.
D： I like his photography, the Dela photos. That's what we call it, the Dela photo. He likes to take pictures of people sleeping on the street.
V： How about skating?
B： We've been on a lot of trips together. Canada, Israel, Paris, Berlin, London, Japan... I like Dolan's skating.
D： Yeah, this dude rips too. I almost beat him in a skate yesterday, but we got rolled up by the cops so...
V： Would you say your art is inspired from your skating, or does it come from a different place?
D： They're definitely together. They're always inspiring each other, really. If I didn't have one, I couldn't do the other.
B： Exactly. Can't do one without the other. I wouldn't have been able to make any of this happen without skating.
V： How far do you want to take your art?
D： I want to put my stuff in real nice galleries. Mostly just the fine art. And just do large scale. Just become, I don't know, just keep doing art really. I'll probably never stop. So, I don't know really where it's gonna go.
B： I want to make a book eventually someday. And also want to keep doing collaborative work. With people, with different photographers, different painters, you know? Try to be more involved in shows. That's pretty much it.
V： Is there anything you guys want to do with Brixton next?
B： Go on skate trips.
D： Go on skate trips and give them ideas. Inspiration for new garments and what not. It's always cool working with them because you can just say one thing and they'll be like, "Oh yeah, for sure, let's make it."
B： Yeah, they're like, "You want a hat? We'll make a hat for you. You want pants? We'll make pants for you even though your baggy pants probably won't sell."
V： That's awesome. Let's wrap this up. What's next for you?
B： Some Habitat stuff and some Converse stuff. Little edits, going on two-week trips and then make an edit out of it. That's probably what's going to be going down.
V： How about for you, Dolan?
D： My friend Julian and we just decided to make boards and put our art on it. It's called VCH. Just something new and fresh. I know everybody's making smaller companies nowadays but, not saying ours is gonna be different, it just feels different because we're not actually making boards to push super hard. We're just gonna make boards just to make boards and do whatever we want really. We already did one run of boards and they're doing pretty good. We're definitely going to have a little launch party and whatnot for the next run. Slowly just push them out there.
Visual Relay is a traveling art show hosted by Brixton, which has been held at Chicago, Melbourne, London, Paris and Berlin. Tokyo show was held on January 15th and Issei Kumatani from Brixton Japan team participated as well.