Artist/Skater Julian Klincewicz Is Our Kinda Overachiever
"Striving to create human connection."
The "very Virgo" Julian Klincewicz is also a very talented skater, artist, author, musician, photographer, filmmaker and sometimes model. What a mouthful! Given his extensive resume, it's no surprise the young gun has worked with everyone from Gosha to Eckhaus Latta, or that he's got that highly sought after Yeezy tick of approval.
Julian is a pretty busy dude — his list of current on-the-go's is nearly infinite — but we managed to nab some time to chat with him about everything from the resurgence of skate fashion and Instagram-induced anxiety, to his many different talents. Feel a nice mix of inspired and inferior below.
Name: Julian Klincewicz
Nickname: My uncle used to call me "Jules".
Star sign: Very Virgo.
Where did you grow up and where are you living now?
I grew up in San Diego, California. I just moved, or rather, am in the process of moving to New York City. J
How did those places shape you/your work?
Hmm… I think San Diego has had two really specific influences on my work — the first is skateboarding. I've been skating since I was 10-years-old, and I think it's shaped or informed everything I do in one way or another. The other would be that San Diego is a bit sparse when it comes to art venues. It's not like LA or New York or Chicago, where there's a large scene, or lots of good galleries to check out on the weekends, or a DIY gallery every other week. So being a bit removed from that mix I think has sort of pushed me to create my own little art world. Obviously I have the internet, so I can see what's happening in other cities or in art, but the experience of art — the original piece — is far different from seeing it on a computer or phone screen, so that's sort of specifically what I'm talking about when I say "removed".
If you had to describe your artistic output in five words, what would you call it?
Striving to create human connection.
What were you like in high school?
Hmm, I think I was really curious. I was pretty good in school academic-wise, I really enjoyed learning and I think most of my teachers liked teaching me. In senior year I accidentally ratted out my whole class for eating weed brownies on grad day at Disney Land, so from that point on I think I became very introverted. I had a lot to learn and probably even more now. The past few months I've been feeling like every single day I learn some really important life lesson, so that's maybe a similarity between then and now.
In what ways have you changed since then?
I started growing facial hair this year. I think I also don't question as much whether my ideas have equal value stacked against those above or below me in age. I have more trust in the mental work that I put into my life — thought that is based on what I experience of the world and of myself, though I'm always learning more and interested in discovering where I'm wrong. I think understanding that is maybe an area where I've developed more.
You've worked with Eckhaus, Yeezy, Gosha — what draws you in to a designer or brand?
I think authenticity, newness, and what the approach is; [brand's that come from] a place of art and genuine interest/contribution. I think for Gosha, clothing is very much an extension of an art project that focuses on youth in Moscow, and that world. Clothing is a piece of it, not all of it. With Eckhaus Latta, everything feels very sculptural and almost challenging. I look at everything and feel challenged to expand my shape or colour or texture palette, and I really appreciate that; their sensibility feels constantly new & intentional to me. With Yeezy, I think Kanye's approach is really, really incredible, and the scope of his vision — that clothing is an essential piece in that bigger whole, that it speaks to a much bigger world, is amazing.
How does it feel having that "Kanye endorsed" label on you now?
I mean, it's a bit conflicting honestly… on the one hand I feel so honoured and inspired working with Kanye, and I don't want to shy away from that experience because it definitely changed me as a person, and means a lot to me — the same way working with Gosha does — but I also don't want to piggy back or use that as a claim to fame or something. I feel really lucky to have gotten those opportunities and tried to work my hardest to live up to them, and grow, and to me that's what's important, is creating good work. I'm interested in trying to make work that can, hopefully, speak to people the same way that my favourite artist's speak to me, through inspiration. Kanye or Gosha both embody that and it's so motivating to get to work with both, I just don't ever want to use their names as a commodity or something, ya know? I don't know how to describe it… hopefully the work is what's important, and the work is what's good. I don't care that much about me as a figure of that work. I think over all as a person, I'm sort of whatever, but I try my best to do the best work I can and I hope that that's the focus, not everyone's names.
What's your take on the resurgence of skate fashion in mainstream fashion?
The more I look around, the more it seems that skateboarding's influence runs fashion — behind the scenes or on the runway — I'll be at almost anything and skateboarding is somehow involved.
What are the best and worst things about ~living on the internet~?
I recently turned off my Instagram notifications and found that I'm much less anxious. I've found that through the internet so much gets lost in translation. And it's easy to lose sight or misconstrue what someone else is saying, because you lose site of them as a real person, and that to me is the hardest thing.
What would your last meal be?
Maybe a bowl of white rice with sesame seeds on top.
What art, film and design projects are you working on right now?
I've got two zines finished and ready to go, just working to find the right publishers. A third and fourth in the works as well. I'm working on editing two videos — one fashion related, one art related. I'm also working on treatments for two new video projects — one fashion related, the other music. I've got an album finished up, but I want to release it as an art installation/exhibition, so figuring that out… I've got two capsule collections in the works. A few writing projects. And then I'm also working on a skate part. And trying to map out 2017.
What is it that appeals to you about the quality of VHS? Would you call your work, for lack of a better word, nostalgic?
I think nostalgia is a good word for it. It's this sense of "almost" or even déjà vu. I think VHS speaks to this sense of something a little bit better than real life, but still totally attainable. The texture to me, the colors, specifically with how I'm interested in working with it, are in the interest of trying to find and convey a moment of real human emotion and connection.
How do you feel creativity and the creative industries are changing? Do you think mediums are converging more and more?
I think we're seeing the convergence and compulsion of an everything medium. I think we're also seeing a resurgence of authentic and artistic work in a pop-culture setting, which people like Kanye are really working to create. Frank Ocean is of course another prime example. I think there's something of a renaissance with regards to real artistry — people are interested in real artwork, real music, real ideas, rather than a product. At least that's my hope, and I see it reflected back increasingly often.
What's been the most surreal moment of your career so far?
I think seeing myself on Keeping Up with the Kardashians was very surreal. Getting to go to Moscow with Gosha. The fact that almost 500 people showed up to a runway show in San Diego was really incredible for me. I think that now people see me as an artist as well, for while I wasn't even sure if I was what I perceived to be a "real" artist.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry what would it be and why?
I'd slow everything down. I think time is invaluable, and if you can make something that feels relevant and important two years later than when you wanted it to come out, it's a testament that the work is truly good. What do I know though, haha.
Who do you look up to, who's doing cool things atm?
So many people doing amazing things. Lately I've been really inspired by Werner Herzog; my friend Lea Colombo; my friend Darren who runs a brand called Tuesday Girlfriend. I really like what Heron Preston is doing. I think the fact the magazines go out of their way — that gallery curators, art students, shop owners, and kids with Instagrams, that there's so many people trying to support each other, support each other's art, is really cool and really inspiring.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Words to live by: strive to do your best.
Photography: Daria Kobayashi Ritch
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