Andy Vasquez Interview

by
February 2, 2018

front rock p- Reed

Where’d you skate this weekend? I saw you went somewhere?

I met Nick (Tyrrell) and those guys out at York Park and then went to this weird backyard set up I’ve never seen before, in York. It’s pretty sick, not done perfect but way better than I expected. It was fun.

Where are you from?

Bethlehem, PA.

How would you describe Bethlehem for people who don’t know it?

Post-industrial, and very proud of it.

Do you remember what made you start skating?

Tony Hawks Pro Skater. I feel like everyone who started skating in like 1999 – 2001, in one way or another you started because of one of those video games. I beat the game enough times and I was like I’m gonna start skating.

When did you move to Philly?

I hit the year mark in May. It’s been good. I feel like this is where I live now. It’s funny to relocate in your late 20s but yea I’m stoked.

How did you get into making furniture?

I kinda fell into it at school. I was going for art education and I was starting to have doubt if I really wanted to teach, and I was kind of behind in my teaching classes anyway. We had this little furniture department at my school and I took a couple elective courses, got really into it and it worked it out to where I took those classes to make full semesters, and that’s just what I got into.

Do you remember the first thing you made that you were proud of?

The first thing that actually came out the way I wanted it to was this rocking chair, which now, I would never ever make something like that. I felt like I saw the vision through to completion you know.

What was the last thing you built at 9th and Poplar?

It’s sort of like a volcano into the landing and then it’s a quarter pipe at the end. Actually we might try to build something there this weekend.

Do you remember the first DIY project you were a part of?

Very first might have been the Easton dirt spot which would have been like 2004. That was like Po and Emery and those guys, it was like you know liquid nail, and cinderblock ledges type thing. Ray Gurz and Dave Hansen poured a quarter pipe which was like the shittiest thing in the word. No direction, no forms, just the lumpiest thing. The first thing I probably did on my own was once again pretty much a cinder block ledge on a bank at the old ditch in Bethlehem, the 278 ditch. That thing was there for one summer then got washed away when hurricane Katrina happened.

People might know you for the curved parking blocks, how did that come about?

I was all stoked about trying to build DIY spots and well I was just coming out of art school, i was all thinking of how you can make a DIY spot but not just a straight forward like put concrete up to a barrier but do something a little different with it or make it actually like a functional sculpture same way as furniture is. so I was like yea wanna use parking blocks and if I’m gonna make a mold why just make the same parking block I’ve always seen. I was just starting to get used to rubber, so at first I though I could just make a straight parking block mold and bend it, and make it curved, then I was like I’ll just make a fuckin curved one.

 

You also made mini curved ones to help fund the real ones right? I still have one on my desk. They were like paperweights.

I used to get like 1 DM a week on instagram from some fingerboarder somewhere sometimes it’d be an avid fingerboarder, sometimes it’d be a fingerboard company, I got one this week this dude actually ordered one from my website was like ‘you ever think about making these more for fingerboarding’ I basically just said, ‘no but people can use my stuff for whatever they want to, I don’t really care’. Not my scene. It’s funny because the whole fingerboarding thing, I get so like aggravated about it, I just always think miniature things are cool, like sales samples, or models of some cool building, honestly it must be how architects think of skateboarding. I’m sure the thing among some architects is like ‘we can’t make any kind of embankment because skateboarders are always gonna skate it’. It’s funny but at some point I have to be like, I’m all about making functional things and people find function in it. I just can’t help but think it’s the corniest use of function.

Have you made any other variations?

I made this one, the dumb nickname is the “parking blockness monster” its like a dragon tail one. That one I was like this thing is just a sculpture, I don’t think its gonna work at all. You wouldn’t skate it all day but I mean you can jam through it.

Is there a style for the furniture you make?

For a while I was saying mid century modern, but like anything I think some titles get kind of tired. It’s tough to say too because at this point I’m making a lot of custom stuff, that depends on what the client wants so if you’re going strictly off my portfolio it kind of caters to what the client asks for basically but if I was gonna talk about the shit thats in my head that I want to make its more contemporary, which all that means is that its being made now, it doesn’t mean shit really. Its a tough question to answer.

front feeble p- Juckett

Whats one of you’re favorite skate trips?

One that will always come to mind is one I went on to Paris with 3 of my best friends.

Why does that one stick out?

Because we were homeless in Paris for 3 days. My friend (Whalen) said he had a place to stay with this girl he knew but he told her there was 2 of us instead of 4 of us. So when we got there she was doubtful, and then her roommates were like nah not happening. Something was going on that week and no hostels were open at all and we just had to fend for ourselves. It was gnarly then finally we met a dude who owns a skate shop. We were just bullshitting people at the skatepark cause we were sleeping outside for I think 3 nights, getting over it, just thinking ‘should we go back to Holland?’ We were trying to reach out to other skaters and finally a dude was like ‘you know what I’ve took trips to the US where people put me up everywhere I went. So I’ll stay at my girlfriends house, and you can stay at my little 1bedroom apartment,’ and it was sick. It was a sick trip on top of everything. Just thinking of 3 nights where we skated all day and then had to scope out our little urban camping spot is pretty funny.

You just slept in parks?

Yea actually every night we just slept in pretty much parks or gardens of apartment buildings. The 2nd night we stayed in a little spot right by the Arc de Triopmhe. It was like pretty high real estate.

Did you study furniture in Holland?

I did an internship after I finished school which basically meant that I went out there. I knew If I want to do something where I’m not making money, this is the only time to do it. Thankfully I did it, I would have never done it otherwise. but yea right after school I went and did this internship in Eindhoven, Holland for six months.

Did you skate a lot while you were out there?

Yea for sure. It’s fun, just relaxed. For instance in Eindhoven the spot to skate is city hall which actually just like Cecil. Theres some ledges but they’re really hard to skate, there’s perfect flat ground, actually kinda same tiles as Cecil. The city realized it’s like a big open plaza and the only people who would hang out there are the skaters, so a few years before I got there they had this project where they put ramps there. Like imagine municipal just being a sanctioned skate park. Everyday there’s always people just drinking beers and skating, it was fun as hell. The indoor park in Eindhoven was sick. All the indoor parks in Europe are amazing. The indoor park in Eindhoven is five bucks to get in, no helmet, full bar, it was sick. They would have sick parties. Big ass parties, where it wasn’t just like strictly skaters, parties where your friends who wouldn’t skate would end up there just cause it was a big party.

Who is the road crew?

Ha, I think the real answer to that question is the only member of road crew is Shiner.

Who’s not the road crew?

I think Shiner would say anybody but Cris Berner.

Last trick you learned?

Hmm Kevin and I have been skating that slappy curb at Poplar a lot, we’ve just been learning slappy tricks.

Favorite skate park?

Either Plainfield CT, or Westerly, RI.

I know you’ve done some work with Cons, including one of those Cons Projects, how did that come about?

That was all through a chance meeting with Russ Pope, in Brooklyn. When he started working for Converse he just reached out to me about doing first the Cons project and then doing other projects. It’s been sick. Everything they ask me to do is something I would’ve never expected, it’s really fun.

Favorite video part?

Im trying to think of something not so played out. Mike Rusczyk in Art Bars, (foundation), and Jason Adams in…all of em, he’s my all time favorite skater probably.

What’s up with the birthday projects you try to do?

Damn you like got inside my psyche on that one. Well for the past few years i’ve been working, I feel like I’m always working for other people and stuff. I always have ideas for things I want to do but don’t always get to them because, you know, I pay bills with stuff that I do, and its important to get other peoples stuff out there. so usually around my birthday I try and have a project or something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and try to get it to fruition by my birthday. One recent example I made the Rickety Ramp Racer The soapbox car quarter pipe. That was like the one that I really stuck to making it by my birthday and actually pulled some late hours to do that in time for that.

I think that thing is so sick. I wanna make one. Wanna meet up and race?

Hell yea.

Any last words for people trying got learn how to make stuff, either to skate or furniture, whatever.

I’d say quantity leads to quality, don’t worry about messing up because you will mess up, that basically a better way of saying just go for it. but people always say quality over quantity which is true, but when you want to get better, you want to do something, make your goal to make a lot of and it and you’ll end up with something just through practice.