Know Your Zine: Skate Jawn
In the words of Skate Jawn founder Marcus Waldron “There is a lot of lame shit going on in skating now,” from Lil’ Wayne’s ambitions as a skater to reality shows centered around skaters like Rob Dyrdek and Ryan Sheckler. Skate Jawn is positioning themselves against the pop-star like commercialism that’s spreading like wildfire throughout the sport. Skate Jawn features articles about skaters, written by skaters, all with the goal of portraying the real attitude and lifestyle that skaters all up and down the East Coast live by. We got the chance to catch up with Marcus and asked him a few questions about his zine, which is currently going on its fifteenth issue.
Mass Appeal: How did the idea of creating a zine come together? Who were the original contributors and brains behind the first issue?
Marcus Waldron: I wanted to make a zine ever since high school, then I moved to Spain for a while and was still trying to do it. The next issue actually has an interview I did on the street in Barcelona in 2008 with a tape recorder. I dropped out of school in Spain because I wanted to go to art school so I could learn about design, and hopefully actually make a magazine. I got into a school in Philly and ended up moving straight into the sickest, dirtiest, skate rat house then met a ton of skaters, photographers and rad people. I realized I probably knew enough people to do something at that point, and I could print for free at my school. I used to go in and print ’til the printer stopped working or ran out of paper then come back in the morning and do the same– all for free. Me and the homie Sloan, or Karlin, would stay up late stapling and folding mags for hours, every night after a new one came out. I’d print about 1,000 copies every other month once we got into it. We’ve been getting it printed professionally since issue eight.
How many copies do you guys usually print?
We’ve been printing 2,000 for a while but we’re about to start printing more.
How do you go about designing each issue?
I work on it and think about it constantly. I do it all on my laptop wherever I’m at, all the time. The day I send an issue to print I normally start on the next one, or even earlier sometimes. There’s so much other mag business I have to do to make things work and I wish I could design more, but it always comes together.
Can you elaborate on the importance of having a list of all the local skate shops in the zine?
I just want to support the shops, and let people know where to get the mags and any other skate stuff they need. Skate shops are important for there to be a real skate community and local scene. We’ve been constantly growing since we started and try to add to the list each issue.
Are most of the stories you feature gathered from word of mouth?
A lot of content comes from friends, or friends of friends, etc. We also get a lot of emails of people trying to contribute stuff like photos or even little articles, which is tight. Sometimes we search out people we want to do incorporate. It goes all ways.
What issue are you guys most proud of?
Every time we put out an issue people always tell me it’s the best yet, which gets me stoked. There are really a lot of things about the most recent one that make me proud of it. I’m really hyped for the next issue too. Issue 3 is definitely one of my favorite covers, the homies from France stayed with us, and one of them shot the cover of the other skating, then changed some Chinese restaurant sign to say Skate Jawn. Zach Gesko and John Gardner’s covers are some of my favorites too.
Is there a specific angle of skateboarding and skateboarder culture you guys are going after?
There’s a lot of lame shit going on in skating now, and we have to try to avoid that shit–show the other side. We just go after what’s real and what we actually do and want to see. Doing it yourself, whatever “it” is, is a sick way to do things. You don’t have to take things how they are, you can actually do and make stuff to change things. Also the East Coast is way under represented in skateboarding as a whole so we try to rep that.
Is there any older zines or any zines in general that you guys look up to in a way?
I never came across any zines growing up, but now I try to get any zine I can, and find a lot of them. I’m trying to start a little collection. There’s a ton of sick Graffiti zines. Crucial Times is an ill one.
Big Brother has definitely been a huge inspiration from day one (I love that mag). I used to lurk at a skate shop in Princeton when I was 13, in a bad shop lurking phase, and the owner had a bunch of their stuff which got me stoked on them. I’m always so hyped when I find a back issue I haven’t seen. From the content to the design, that mag was so epic. I wish we could be more like them.
Low Card kills it and is definitely a huge inspiration/influence.Theres also this old zine Skate Fate that was from ‘81-’91 and recently put out a sick book of all the back content.The design is so sick, all cut and paste and drawn on.
I try to look at every magazine or anything that resembles a zine or pamphlet when I’m bored in line at the store, in the waiting room, or whatever. I look at tabloids and lame ass magazines f all the time just to see how they design it. I think Hip Hop magazines are sick to.
Lastly, how does your zine match the aesthetic of the Philly skate scene?
Philly is budget and dirty and you see ridiculous shit all the time, mostly just grimy and gnarly. East Coast skating looks sick and different and I try to use photos that show what I like about that. I’m stoked on Philly and live there so it’s definitely a big influence-but we got homies from all over making the magazine happen now. Big ups to Dylan, Colin, Andrew, Johnny and Tucci for helping out from NYC and Nobo for holding it down in SF. Thanks to all the photographers and everyone who’s contributed too.
Check out more from Skate Jawn and look out for issue #15 coming out in December.