INTERVIEW: ARTIST/SKATER JULIAN KLINCEWICZ

 

Videographer, musician, skater, and just overall creative wo/man Julian Kincewicz is probably too interesting to cover in one article. In fact when we first came across his work we thought he was just a skate filmer, but video after video we realized there was much more to his work. Even later on while interviewing Julian we were still learning of all of his means of expressions. From band member to even female alter egos, Julian has completely surrounded himself around creativity and expression.

We see skateboarding not as a sport or hobby, but a way to express oneself. Can you tell us your thoughts behind it?

For me skating was always just sort of a visceral instinct or something - just something I had to do sort of a way of being haha. I remember being in school and everything would somehow in my mind get related back to skateboarding. It still does now - I can't walk down the street or sit in airport (which i am right now) without imaging how everything could be skated, and who could do what trick, and what trick I wish I could do...

Recently I've been really interested in looking at skating in the context of dance - just how the movements work. Skating is this really really freeing form of self expression, whether someone realizes it or not - or on what level they realize it. The instinct to just want to learn how to ollie because you saw someone else do it, or to try to build your own skate spot, or try to get buck down some huge handrail - it's all the same thing - it's a form of freedom really, I think...

Who was skating in the video titled 'skateboarding' or 'Yum'? Really fun to watch.

Thanks so much! That's actually me skating. I had the footage from my Lurkville part and some other random stuff my friend Dolan (Stearns) and I had filmed, so I just put it together in a different way. Right now skating to me is  really just as much an art form as painting or shooting photos or writing poetry, so I feel like trying to reflect that through video sort of just went hand in hand...

Your videos are filmed with a vhs. What is it like for you to work with something not intended to be used anymore or considered to be outdated?

Hmmm, to me it just feels really natural. A big theme in my video work is just trying to find moments of humanness - moments where someone that you might not normally feel like you could relate to or wouldn't think to, feels familiar and foreign at the same time.

I started shooting with vhs because essentially that's what camera I had, and I never considered it the defining feature in my videos even though I was very aware about the fact that I was shooting VHS and that in a lot of ways it's almost sort of a novelty... But  I never realized it until really recently - probably like two weeks ago after finishing some videos for New York Fashion Week, that it was actually important - something about the shittyness of the VHS lets you focus more on the subjects, on the people, on the clothing.

VHS is sort of steeped in the home video/dad cam mood, so it kind of lends itself to empathy I think... But there's definitely things that A mini dv camera or 4k or 35mm film would be better for... I'm also really into how simple it is, and on some level it's aesthetic too - you basically just pick up the camera and shoot and then convert it.

POWER/LAND is your most recent video. Can you tell us more about this project?

POWER/LAND was a collaboration between myself and New York based band HAERTS. It wasn't necessarily a project I would have sought out, but through talking with Nini of HAERTS, it seemed like we shared a lot of similar ideas and energy, and overall just felt like a really natural fit. I listened through the songs, and sort of came up with some ideas of what I thought would be interesting as concepts to explore in the video, and then Nini and I talked through them and just sort of developed the project further. I remember when I listened through the songs, there was just this one part where so clearly I could imagine people running/falling/flying down these sand dunes, that I knew we'd have to go to Michigan/Indiana. The title came at the end of the project, after sort of having the Mid-West experience - we'd all had a conversation about what Personal POWER looks like what that means - which is an important conversation to have and thing to try to at least semi-define for yourself, because a lot of times other people's notions of what Power looks like get really twisted and projected on to others. LAND came from just how important the locations were - to me the video is really an embodiment of my experiences in Michigan and Indiana and Chicago, and they couldn't have been anywhere else.

Was POWER/LAND filmed by yourself? Or is it old video footage? (we get this questioned asked a lot ourselves haha)

POWER/LAND was pretty much all filmed by, but my friends Luke, Estelle, and Nino who I was filming for the project also helped whenever they saw something interesting.  I've only tried to use found footage twice, but i didn't really like it. I could definitely imagine finding some cool homemade movies on vhs in the midwest, and I bet those would be amazing to work with. Thats sort of the mood though with POWER/LAND anyways though - Foreign Familiarity (or at least that's sort of what it is to me.) Like it could be someone else's home movie, that it feels like something you know, something you've found or wished for from a different world.

Are you currently working on any new projects/videos?

I am! I've got an Exhibition in Tokyo from April 1st-3rd - it's the second installment of a body of work called "HEY, I LIKE YOU" that looks at the relationship between people and precious objects, and how those objects can sort of get used as surrogates for human connections. I think there's going to be 5 parts to it, so I'm already working on the 3rd and 4th.

I've got a book coming out at the end of April of photographs and Video Stills from when I went to Moscow/St.Petersburg to collaborate with Russian photographer/designer Gosha Rubchinskiy and Skateboarder Tolia Titeav. It's being published through Vans Vault, and should be available around the 29th.

I just finished a new video with ECKHAUS LATTA, which should be up on Purple.fr later this week. I'm working on a bigger video project that will hopefully be finished up around July, I've got a music video coming out for a friends music project called FREEAKTION, and then a lil video for my friend Mari Giudicelli, who just launched her shoe line. - hopefully a skate video too, I want to put out a real part, possibly as a girl, as Julia Klincewicz.

I'm also trying to have a runway show later this year :)

Who is Julia Klincewicz?

Mmm, she's sort of a party girl tbh. A bit sassy, but she's also got the moves so it's not like the sassy ness is called for. She's a city girl so to speak. She's gonna drop some hammers though - definitely more interesting than Julian.

Is there anywhere we can view the work you will be presenting at exhibition in Tokyo?

Eventually I'll have it up on my own website. there should be a re-cap of the show on some blogs & Magazines websites like CHAMP Magazine, Highsnobiety, Hypebeast, Dazed, etc. that probably won't be up until after the show though. I'll be posting some photos of the exhibition on my instagram though, which is just @julianklinecwicz

Shot by Jon Blaj

Shot by Jon Blaj

Do you think if you had a regular hd camera when you were considering making videos, would you have sought out a vhs or continued with what you had?

Hmm, definitely hard to say. I think maybe i would have been less interested in making videos if i'd started with an hd camera. The thing about vhs is that it doesn't feel very serious while you're filming with it, it's really freeing. Hd cameras are so nice and perfect that i think it would have been a little less inspiring - less sense of just playing.

That being said, it's also possible that i might have started making a very different type of videos all together. I think a lot about what medium ideas need to be in or that they work best in, so the feeling of hd is so different from vhs, that i might've started just filming a different way or writing scripts or something - a more serious affair for sure.

Do you have a bandcamp for your bands?

So there's a couple of bandcamp's. The last one was Lube-lube.bandcamp.com . Currently i use klincewicz.bandcamp.com or my sound cloud which is also just julian klincewicz. I've got stuff written/recorded for a few different projects - at the moment, so i'm just trying to figure out what fits where, and how best to present it all. I wrote an album that goes along side my "hey, i like you" exhibitions, as a sort of atmospheric accompaniment, and i want to release that alongside a zine with the lyrics/photos, since the project ads a whole sort of looks at our relationships and connects to objects, and for me zines are some of my most prized possessions. I've also been working on stuff under the name Shelly, but i sort of need a full band for that stuff, so right now it's just a bunch of phone demos and imagined drum and bass parts, with some lyrics. Definitely a different vibe than the album that goes with "hey, i like you".