Fairly Normal - Leo Romero from What Youth on Vimeo.
What Youth: Leo Romero was Thrasher Magazine’s Skater of the Year in 2010. And he’s been one of our favorite skaters since Emerica’s 2003 vid This is Skateboarding. His view of the skate world is one of the more interesting one’s we’ve come across and it isn’t easy to pin him down. But we managed to spend a lot of time with Leo, his band Travesura played our party and we managed to get a rare glimpse of one of the world’s best skaters.
Presented by Emerica
Filmed & Edited by Michael Cukr & Blake Myers
Additional footage by Jon Miner, Bucky Gonzales & Don Luong
Jack - You and I (and everyone reading this) are on this page because of the skateboard. What's your story?
I grew up doing it. For me skateboarding is similar in so many ways to making art. The same way I tried to perfect a trick as a teen - not giving up until it came out the way I pictured it - is the same process I apply towards creating my artwork today. Jerry Seinfeld says it best - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rub-lW-9MXw
Kismet or calculated precision? How did your Toy Machine DanLu board graphic come to exist?
The Daniel Lutheran board graphic came about from a series of lucky encounters with the overlord himself. The first of these happened back in 2013. Ed and Deanna were visiting London and strolled into the store I used to work at. Before I had a chance to sprint up from the ground floor to introduce myself they’d already gone. I was bummed out for some time after this, about not getting to meet the man whose skating and creative work inspired me to pursue a career in making art. By some sheer act of fate he visited the store again about 6 months later. This time I managed to introduce myself and stutter into conversation with him. I showed him some of my work and he was very supportive of it. As him and Deanna came to the counter to pay he said, “Maybe one day you could do a TM graphic” I thought he must have been joking!
Later that year I had my first solo exhibition ‘Bromance’ at Atomica gallery - http://www.atomicagallery.com/exhibitions/jack-pearce/ in Soho, London. A buddy of mine told me he had seen Ed was in town and that I should @ him to tell him to come by the show. He actually took the time to visit the show, I couldn’t believe my luck! I was hyped that the one person whose work brainwashed my mind throughout my teenage years, and still does to this day, came to see my first solo art show. A few months after my show he asked me if I was still down to do some TM graphics, of course I said yes. It’s always been a dream of mine and now it’s turned into a reality! Stoked.
Yes, yes. Kismet AND calculated precision. Excellent!
Through your lens - What's the London art scene like?
There’s lots of ever-changing street art to be seen if you keep your eyes peeled. The Southbank Centre always has great exhibitions on, along with probably the most iconic skate spot in the UK underneath it, which was recently saved from closure by London's ever-expanding skateboarding community. On the first Thursday of every month, over 150 galleries in East London come together to run free art shows with free beer, pretty good.
What artists had an impact on you growing up?
As clichéd as it sounds, the first time I watched ‘Beautiful Losers’ back in 2008 was the first time I ever really felt as though it could be possible to pursue a career as an artist. Seeing all these individuals who I idolised, together in one film explaining how they’d done it, pushed me to believe it was possible to do it too. Apart from the obvious ones like Templeton, Margaret Kilgallen, Geoff McFetridge and Thomas Campbell, I spent a lot of time obsessing over the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Even Hecox and David Hockney.
Has there been any movies or sounds that inspired your artwork and illustrations?
Stereo – Way Out East
Blueprint – First Broadcast
KMD - Mr. Hood, Cymande, Mazzy Star, The Peace - Black Power, Timber Timbre, Dave Brubeck, Nick Cave and A Tribe Called Quest.
(Insert shameless brand self promotion)
Name your Favorite Toy Machine skater and Toy Machine video part.
Brian Anderson and his part in ‘Welcome to Hell’.
On Go Skate Day I had the privilege of watching the godfather Mark Gonzales, at my local skate park ‘Meanwhile 2’. As I entered the park I noticed what I was sure to be the Gonz, stood with his back to me talking to himself. It couldn’t have been anyone else! He rolled around the park a few times, before he started launching himself from the 5ft quarter down into the bowl, that he trademarked the gap of way back.
I went and sat on the other side of the quarter to watch him fly over into the bowl. He tried it for about half an hour taking some heavy slams. I felt like a kid in a candy store, watching the Gonz. After half an hour of slamming down into the bowl, he went to his bag putting on what must have been his lucky hat. A few tries later he nailed it! Endless board tapping, whistling and clapping went off. This rare sighting of the Gonz, combined with watching his trick from start to finish, is the best thing I’ve seen go down in skateboarding and outside of it.
What advice do you have for creatives looking to pursue a career as full time artists?
I don’t really have an awful lot of advice, apart from – Don’t shy away from self promotion and keep doing the thing you do, period. At some point people will pay attention.
What's next for Jack Pearce?
Well, I’ve just had my second solo show ‘Fauxmance’ at Atomica gallery http://www.atomicagallery.com/exhibitions/atomica-gallery-presents-jack-pearce-fauxmance/
Next month I’m doing a little residency at a rad new skate & donut store that’s recently opened just outside London called ‘The June Store’
Where I’ll have a limited run of prints of my work available to purchase. Apart from this, I have a series of mural-based projects I’ll be starting mid July, in and around the city of London.
Where's the best place for our loyal pawns to consume your artwork and updates?
Anything you'd like to add, Jack?
Final big thanks to Templeton for sticking to his word. People say never meet your heroes but it worked out for me.
@The_SkateNerd Plays the Hits "Good and Evil" was one of the most highly anticipated skate videos for me. It was five long years since "Jump Off a Building", Toy had a fully revamped team with Kevin Barnett behind the lens, and everyone involved was ready to melt the faces of the loyal pawns (and that they did!) So come along as I share some of my favorite moments from the 2004 Toy Machine video "Good and Evil"! - @the_skatenerd #TheSkateNerdPlaysTheHits
@The_SkateNerd Plays The Hits Ed Templeton (@Ed.Templeton) from @ToyMachine "Good and Evil" (2004) 🎥: Kevin Barnett I always liked that Ed skated up the gap to bank in Barcelona instead of going down it like people normally did. And you couldn't have a "Good and Evil" marathon without a Tempster Noseblunt, now could you?! Oh, what I would give for a reissue of those black/purple Templeton 3s... #TheSkateNerdPlaysTheHits
@The_SkateNerd Plays the Hits Josh Harmony (@JoshHarmony) from @ToyMachine "Good and Evil" (2004) 🎥: Kevin Barnett That 50-50 to Smith is one of my favorite tricks from "Good and Evil"! The first time I watched him lock in, I thought, "50-50? Josh Harmony is gnarlier than just a 50-50!" Then he went through the first kink and I said to myself, "Wait, Appleyard 50-50'd this in the Flip video!" and then as he went through the second kink I thought, "Surely he must know Leo Romero did this Backside like six months ago!" But then at the very last second, he went to Smith and I just about had a skate nerd aneurysm. I'm sorry for ever doubting your magical ways, Josh! 🤓#TheSkateNerdPlaysTheHits
@The_SkateNerd Plays the Hits Austin Stephens from @ToyMachine "Good and Evil" (2004) 🎥:Kevin Barnett Austin Stephens was handsome before it was "cool" to be handsome. Just look at that nonchalant hop out of the gate. He didn't even need to high-water his pants to look that damn sexy! He's also got a flick that will be one for the ages (as demonstrated in the mirrored Backside/Frontside Flips). One thing about his part, though...When its over, I can't tell if I'm more inspired to go out and skate or shred the banjo! 🤓#TheSkateNerdPlaysTheHits
@The_SkateNerd Plays the Hits Matt Bennett (@Matt_Bennett__) from @ToyMachine "Good and Evil" (2004) 🎥:Kevin Barnett The first time I saw Matt Bennett's ender, it all made so much sense to me. The opposite of a Barley Grind...why hadn't anyone thought of this before?! I figured there could only be one appropriate name for this trick, so it was no surprise when Thrasher captioned it the "Bennett Grind". Mr. Bennett wasn't messing around with this one either. He introduced this trick not once, but twice in "Good and Evil". Both on good-sized handrails and both with that elegance only MB can provide! 🤓#TheSkateNerdPlaysTheHits
@The_SkateNerd Plays the Hits I love the Transistor Sect cartoon from "Good and Evil"! @MikeGeigerAnimation did a great job with the animations, and the bizarre storyline totally screams Ed Templeton! The little details like the "Wall-Mart" commercial playing on the TV or the scream from Slayer's "Angel of Death" made this an instant classic for me! I was always sad this didn't carry on to the future Toy Machine videos, though. I thought it made a fun little intermission, if you will, and to this day I still wonder what happened to the prostitute after she fled the scene! 🤓#TheSkateNerdPlaysTheHits
@The_SkateNerd Plays the Hits Johnny Layton (@Johnny__Layton) from @ToyMachine "Good and Evil" (2004) 🎥:Kevin Barnett I'm claiming "Good and Evil" was the video that put the massive Kolb rail (or "Leo Romero Noseslide rail" as I like to reference it) on the map. Prior to the onslaught the Toy dudes laid down, there were just a select few people to step up to this menacing piece of metal (Leo and Duffman being the first that come to mind). J-Lay took it to the next level, though. He rifled those three tricks off in the middle of his part, when at the time, they easily could have been someone's enders (and probably still could be today). That rail is so damn tall...to get your back truck on/over it is absolutely ridiculous, which makes that Back Smith my all-time favorite trick done here! 🤓#TheSkateNerdPlaysTheHits
@The_SkateNerd Plays the Hits Billy Marks (@Billy_Marks) from @ToyMachine "Good and Evil" (2004) 🎥:Kevin Barnett Does anyone else remember the Thrasher cover of Billy's Kickflip Lipslide down Hollywood 12? I waited what felt like an eternity for that footage to surface and thought it would surely be in his "Good and Evil" part. It actually did make it into his part...his extras part in the bonus features, and in its place was this behemoth of a Kickflip Lipslide! Pretty much the last minute and a half of Bill's section is insane flip-in tricks down the biggest rails and ledges. This part was a game-changer, for sure! 🤓#TheSkateNerdPlaysTheHits
@The_SkateNerd Plays the Hits Diego Bucchieri (@labucha) from @ToyMachine "Good and Evil" (2004) 🎥:Kevin Barnett They don't call him "The Butcher" for no reason! The full sprint beforehand is almost better than the actual huckage. My brain had been beaten and battered by everyone else's "Good and Evil" parts, and then in comes Diego with the 20 stair KO! What a way to close out an amazing video. DIEGOOOOO!!!!! 🤓#TheSkateNerdPlaysTheHits
@The_SkateNerd Plays the Hits Upon first viewing of "Good and Evil", I immediately fell in love with not only the new Toy Machine roster, but also with master lensman Kevin Barnett and his wonderful film and editing skills. Fast forward a few years and he also gave us "Suffer the Joy" and "Brainwash", both amazing videos as well! So while 'The Hits' may have come to an end, fear not, for "Good and Evil" is widely available at you nearest video-sharing website. Though I'd recommend looking for a hardcopy, if not for the superior video quality, then for the hoards of bonus features only found on the DVD. Thank you to all the loyal pawns and fellow skate nerds that came along for the ride this week. It's been almost 11 years to the day since "Good and Evil" was released and it still gets me just as excited about skateboarding as it did way back then! ❤️ 🤓#TheSkateNerdPlaysTheHits