WORDS: Stu Gomez // Art: Eric McHenry
When you start your year by being featured in Playboy, you’re doing something right. Austyn Gillette enjoyed that honor in April (courtesy of an article penned by Rob Brink). In it, the outspoken pro/musician/all-around skate idol talks about his motivations with FORMER and outlines in frank terms his view of the current state of skateboarding:
“There’s a lot of fucking bullshit and some half-assed skating going on…”
Gillette is expressing a continual gripe that analytically minded skaters have in our age of increased social media presence and endless self-promotion: that we’ve collectively become a faceless mass. As much as we’ve progressed in skateboarding, we’ve kind of devolved in the personality department. Gillette bucks that trend with every clip, interview, photo, and song; he relishes every opportunity to be real. His album Sensorisk (which he released in June) demonstrates this perfectly. The album’s songs aren’t happy-go-lucky wish fulfillment; they focus on what makes you sad, then they dig deeper to find the root of this sadness. There’s something beautiful about that.
Gillette’s 2018 parts, including “Radiant Cure” and HUF 002, complemented his interviews (most memorably on The Bunt in March). In some way, his honesty—or lack of a filter—translates to passion, and that passion is evident in clips like these. Gillette: the best a skater can get.
Vote for Austyn Gillette as your Populist on January 15.