There sometimes exists in skateboarding this false notion that the grass is greener on the other side. Like perhaps there’s just a bit too much emphasis on progression: different spots, different sponsors, a different kit, other times, other places, other people. The “this is good, but that is better” ideology.
If you’re in West Virginia, spots are better in Chicago. If you’re in Chicago, spots are better in L.A. If you’re in L.A., you have to fly to Barcelona just to find a hassle-free place to lay down your next video opener. You’re on flow … that’s great, but you want to be on the full am team. You’re am, but you’re focused on your first pro model.
Hey, progression is great. I won’t knock it. It keeps us on our toes, and it lets us look back and see how far we’ve come. But there’s a lot to be said for the here and now. Because the here and now is what you’re going to look back on one of these days with a tear in your eye. And there’s much more to be said for what goes on in between last year and what might be happening next year.
Case in point: One Robert Kronbauer. You might know him simply as Bob K. To me, he’s just Bob. The first e-mail I ever received from Bob was on April 5, 2002, when he asked me to contribute to his side project, Crownfarmer. Eventually, we were exchanging e-mails on a daily basis. Many of them were about skateboarding-most were not. Bob would e-mail me just to let me know that his neighbor was passing by his open door and offered him a beer, about a girl he’d met, or some rad ditch that he’d just skated. Many times he’d tell me these long, interesting stories about growing up in Canada.
Every e-mail from Bob seemed like it should’ve been published-even the short ones. And all of them were positive. This quote was from an e-mail dated April 20, 2002, only weeks after we’d started writing: “Do you think there’re more or less insects on the planet now than there were a thousand years ago? And do you ever trip out on how lucky we are to be living in this world doing what we’re doing?”
That’s the unedited version. Bob’s great at reminding others about how lucky they are in any situation. There’s a brighter side to everything, and Bob is one of the few people who focuses on that side.
Focusing is another thing that Bob excels at-his photography. As I started to get to know him better, I really took a good look at his photography and realized that Bob isn’t just a super-genuine, positive guy-I realized that he is an amazingly talented artist, writer, and photographer.
Over the past years, Bob has had his hands in many projects: a slew of art shows, developing and heading up crailtap.com, taking on graphic duties over at Girl headquarters in the Art Dump, and doing the Crownfarmer ‘zines, online projects, and products-full-time artist and skateboarder, part-time life commentator.
But what strikes you about Bob when you get to know him is his enthusiasm about what’s going on right now. Or what he’s got his hands into right now. Or what girl he’s talking to right now. Bob is a
different breed-a better breed, many would say. Forget all that noise about how great everything might be next month or next year-or about how much better things are on the other coast. Bob is someone who finds fun and inspiration in the moment where he’s at. And maybe that’s what makes his photography so brilliant. Taking photos is all about freezing a small frame of time forever. If you hit the shutter too early, you’ve missed it. Hit it too late, and the moment has passed you by, gone forever. Bob has made an art form and a living out of capturing that moment-the moment.
Not too long ago, Bob brought his Crownfarmer project into a full-time venture, and more recently he’s inked a deal and published a book of his photography entitled Beach Glass released by Holy Water Books. But that’s the thing about Bob … you never know what he’s got coming out until it’s right around the bend. He’s creating,, he’s skating, he’s having fun, and it’s a full-time gig. Not bad for a kid who followed his dreams out of Canada and right into the belly of the beast that is skateboarding-a beast that Bob K. seems to have easily tamed on his own terms.-Don Pendleton