By now, we are all well aware of the downsides to our new social media/smartphone addicted world. One need look no further than our current president for steadfast examples of said travesty. But what upsides come with the mass dumbening and mass distraction of humanity? For one thing, it has been a boon for the world’s skatenerds. Scattered across the globe—outlets like Instagram and Facebook have not only united lovers of skate culture and history and given them a seat at the table with their favorite pros—they have also afforded terminal skatenerds the chance to contribute back to that shared culture with videos, collages, art, and creative audio/visual love letters of their own. Here, one such lover, Nathaniel Jones, breaks down his own odes to skateboarding via his Instagram handle @requiemforascreen and explains how a side hobby to kill time at work led to him being commissioned by the likes of Etnies, Primitive, and Quartersnacks.
How did you get started with these? Initial inspirations?
I had a load of saved images on my hard drive for reference/inspiration for work and wanted a quick way to access them online. I had started looking at tumblr as the solution and created requiemforascreen.com in 2013. I didn’t just want to repost other people’s work so I started to play around combining images and it gradually evolved. It’s just a place for me to test out different ideas, make stuff I like with no brief or clients.
I noticed you have a fairly wide cross section of eras. When did you start and what do you consider your “golden age” so to speak?
I started skating 94/95, so late nineties had a massive impact on me, but I love it all.
What is your day-to-day work?
I work for Shiner Distribution in the UK designing and developing the European Santa Cruz and Independent apparel ranges. RFAS is just a side project that’s opened up some fun opportunities to work with some like-minded people. These are all digital, made in Photoshop from scans I find online or sometimes I’ll scan stuff in. I couldn’t bring myself to cut up my old mags so big thanks to Chromeball, Science Vs Life, Police informer, skate.ly and everyone else that takes the time to scan stuff and put it online.
I saw you have done some commissioned collages for Etnies, Quartersnacks, and Primitive. Who else has requested your services?
That’s about it for my Requiem For A Screen collage style stuff so far, but I’ve worked with a lot of brands designing graphics and apparel over the last 15+ years which I occasionally post up on forfuturereference.co.uk. I’ve just had a collection drop with The Quiet Life for Spring 17 featuring an illustrated pattern of Greek vase’s with cameras and skateboarders on them. Right now I’m busy working on a super exciting new brand that will be launching towards the end of the year but I can’t say too much more on that, but it will have that Requiem flavour.
To me, a lot of this re-purposing seems like the visual equivalent of DJs hunting for old vinyl. Do you consider it a form of visual sampling?
Yes I’m always digging into everything, I want to know what the original reference was for a t-shirt graphic, what inspired the ad layout who designed it, who took the photo etc.. To me skateboarding has always managed to combine the best of art, design, music and fashion. Some of my favourite images I’ve made combine iconic paintings and record covers with skate photos. Things you wouldn’t normal see together but just work or tell more of a story when combined.
Of course there is also a fine line between repurposing and straight theft. Where do you see that line?
Totally, all of the stuff I make for my RFAS tumblr is just for me playing around experimenting I never really intended it to become a thing for anybody other than myself. I get people asking for prints but It’s not something I had planned on doing as I don’t own any of the original images so don’t feel comfortable selling them. As it’s grown a lot of the original photographers have been really supportive nobody has complained and most seem to be stoked on my reworking of their images. I’ve been in contact with a few about the potential of releasing some limited prints and the response has been positive so we’ll see.
Some of them are super deep with multiple levels and animation. Longest you have spent on a collage? Most complicated creation?
When I started It was purely to kill time in my lunchbreak and do something creative so 30 minutes max. Now I do them on the train to kill time on the morning commute. The Primitive advert probably took the longest purely because they sent me so many amazing Biggie photos it took a while to figure out how to put it all together. Initially it was going to be a single page but ended up being a double page spread as there was too much good stuff we couldn’t leave out.
Since there is a Welsh theme here with yourself and Skin’s photos, all time best Welsh ripper?
All time has to be my mate Mathew Pritchard, honourable mentions to Matt Davies, Dylan Hughes and Chris Jones.
Follow Nathaniel on Instagram: @requiemforascreen
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