From Andy Warhol and Keith Haring graphics to all their video editing techniques, the Workshop straight nails it in the art department. Alien’s recent Life Splicing clips haven taken the dime-a-dozen video platform of the meat grinder known as the Internet and transformed it into a full-on fine art gallery. John Fitzgerald, the newest dude to have put the finishing touches on one of these parts, talks Life Splicing.
Words by Kevin Duffel, portrait by Dave Chami
How long did you film for this Life Splicing part?
For about a couple months, I think five or six or something.
Who films them?
Mike Hill and Chad Bowers are some of the main dudes behind the Life Splicings and Workshop in general, along with Jeff Dickson. Benny [Maglinao] is the dude who makes them. I film most of it with him, but I also film stuff with Cody [Green] and Greg [Hunt]. Benny basically puts it all together.
What’s the whole background behind Life Splicing clips? Is the Workshop still going to do full-length videos, or have those sort of taken over?
All I know is it’s not just your average video part. It doesn’t look like any other video part you see. It’s got a different feeling. But I think they’re going to put them all together at the end and make a video.
It seems like they all have their own feel.
Yeah, they definitely have a unique feel to them.
Were you involved with any of the feel of yours, like how you wanted the art direction, or do you just leave it up to Benny?
No. Benny’s the mastermind. I just do the skating pretty much.
It seems like you could always trust those dudes to make you look proper.
Yeah. They know what they’re doing. And I know what they’re doing, so I have no problem whatsoever.
The Life Splicing videos always have little artsy things edited into them. What’s your take on that? Can a video ever get too artsy to the point it takes away from the skating?
Too artsy? Yeah, people can definitely overdo it. But it all depends. There are dudes who do rad stuff, but then there are dudes who you can tell overdo it, or maybe they’re trying to be like that or different. But I just think the Workshop knows what they’re doing. They have their whole perspective on where they want to go and stuff. I think that’s what sets them apart from a lot of people.
You’ve kinda been traveling all over filming for this part, from Spain to SF. What’s been your favorite spot so far to film at?
That’s tough to say. But I would say Barcelona. That lilypad thing is pretty amazing—to see that, that big quarterpipe, I didn’t know it was that big and that long. That’s probably one of the most amazing spots I’ve ever been to. It’s perfect. You just cruise on it. I’ve never really seen anything like that.
How was the rest of Barcelona?
It was good. It got a little bit chaotic. But it was a lot of fun.
Last time you had an interview with us you were just getting on Zero. Now you’re fully on Alien Workshop, which is a pretty damn selective team. How’d you start getting hooked up by them?
I quit Zero and I was basically doing my own thing. I’m good friends with Donovon [Piscopo] and I go out skating with him all the time. The dudes he skates with, like AVE and Dill and all those dudes, I started basically just tagging along. And I don’t know exactly when I got on—I think it took maybe like a month or something. Dill called me and asked me if I wanted to ride for the Workshop.
You can’t say no to that.
No, definitely not.
What’s your favorite Workshop video part ever?
I’m not gonna go with a part, but I’m going to go with Photosynthesis. Photosynthesis definitely had the biggest impact on me. That was the first skate video I’d ever seen that, to me, was different than anything else I’d ever seen in my life. It definitely made a big imprint on me. I’ve always liked Workshop, and I think it’s because of that video. Basically, I feel like that’s where I got my roots from.
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