The world
of Julian Klincewicz

Words & Interview KATJA HORVAT

Photography REI DELOS-REYES, JON BLAJ,
ISEKI NOUBO, EDWIN NEGADO, SHIN OKSHIN
& JULIAN KLINCEWICZ

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You know how some people just have it, that extra something? Well Julian is one of those! Julian Klincewicz grew up like a boy grows up caught between the city and country. His childhood consisted of summers in Union Pier, Michigan, eating spaghetti dinners, running down sand dunes, spending days at the Lake, moving to San Diego at the age of seven, riding unicycle and learning how to do Gymnastics and Circus arts. At the age of ten he started skateboarding and credits that as one of the biggest influences in his life. When he was 13, he met his favorite skateboarder - Zarosh Eggleston, and they became friends. Julian learned about Transcendental Meditation from him, and later on got a scholarship to learn it. At the age of 15 he joined the program called: Teen-Arts Council, at the Museum Of Contemporary Art, San Diego, where he met his friend and mentor: Wes Bruce. Now he often collaborates with Russian designer and photographer: Gosha Rubchinsky. Julian shot a video for Gosha Rubchinsky x Vans F/W2015 collection. He did a video of backstage action at Gosha’s A/W15 runway show. And in January ЖУРНАЛ (Journal:Russia) a 100-page book of photographs, video stills, and writing is coming out. ЖУРНАЛ documents Julian recent trip to Russia, where he again collaborated with Gosha and professional skateboarder Toliya Titiev. Julian also has some music projects coming up, an exhibition in Tokyo, and he plans to expand his clothing line called: Mimosa Pudica.

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Hey Julian, tell me what was the first thing you did today?
I woke up at 6:30am and watched the sun move across my wall for a while, then meditated, and started reading.

Uf chill all over. Lets switch to work now: what made you start doing the things you do?
Mmmmm, I think most of what I do comes in one way or another, or has at least been informed by, skateboarding. I learned to draw from looking at the grip-tape on Mark Gonzales’ and Zarosh Eggleston’s skateboards. I grew up skating at a park called Washington Street, which is very much the embodiment of what “Do It Yourself” means. I learned to play guitar because I got hurt skateboarding, and had a bunch of free time. In one way or another I think almost all of what I do now has come from skateboarding. I think it’s that same sort of total freedom that comes from skateboarding, that I hope to get from everything I do – the possibility that anything could be true.

When did you realize you have a talent you could make a living with?
Well, I don’t know if I’m making a living off of my work yet, but increasingly making art (or researching ideas and subjects to inform my art/life) is the only thing I want to do, and so maybe I’m getting closer, I want it to be part of everything I do. Working in collaboration with other people that I’ve looked up to has definitely helped me too. There’s this little in-the-studio/interview with John Baldeesari where he say’s “talent is cheap.” For a while I didn't get what it meant (maybe I still don’t), but I think there’s some assurance in it. I might be talented or I might not be, but I think what’s wildly more important is that to some degree I found out what I want to be doing, or what I need to be doing, and am always working to make that happen…

Tell me more about your art… what is it all about?
It sort of depends on what the project is… Overall I think a lot of it recently and increasingly is about trying to find/create a moment, or moments when someone or something looks truly human, specifically in my video work. Creating an atmosphere or steps to a place where you’re put in this space of being a total alien, but at the same time feeling more familiar with the subject or contents than you could explain… Obviously I’m still figuring out how to do that in everything I do, I think in video is where I can achieve it most successfully so far. One of the important things for me when I’m making something, is feeling – I feel a lot, I think everyone feels a lot… but so what? What do you do with that, and how do you make it useful? - To yourself and to others. Maybe other people share a lot of the same feelings, so if I can make sense of them for myself, or just for a second put on display the idea that someone is the same as you, maybe it’ll make sense of those feelings for someone else, or help to.

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That said: do you care about people’s reaction to your work?
Yes (and no…) I think there’s something really remarkable and romantic in those people who make and show work without caring what anybody else thinks, and sometimes I wish I was one of them... But for better or worse, I’m not one of them. I want to make things that people care about the same way I care about them. I want people to connect, and be a bit transported. I’ve always been in environments where I feel that anything is possible, which I’ve realized is a very lucky experience to have had, so if I can share that some how and maybe help someone else think or feel the same. That’s so important, maybe the most important. I think at first, the basis for making any of the things I do, is really personal, it comes directly from me, as a way to better understand myself, and the world around me. I make most of what I make for me. But from there, sharing them with other people is what becomes important. Patti Smith always talks about how you have to make your work ‘for the people’, and I really trust and respect her, so for me, being interested in what other people think of what you do is invaluable, having a conversation. But you can’t let someone else decide for you – before anything else, you need to know your work for yourself, know if there’s something good in it, something strong, something powerful, if it’s weak – is that weakness intentional?, what it’s shape is, and how it fits to the world around it. What you want to say with it, what you have to say, that needs to be said through art. You can’t let someone else decide what’s true for you.

You said: “I wouldn’t mind being some sort of designer. Lately I’ve been looking at what Alexander Girard created, and it’s got me so excited to just make things.” So how are things going so far?
Things are going good at the moment. I’ve got a bit of a stomachache, but aside from that all good. I’m a bum designer, but I have a lot of appreciate for Alexander Girard, his folk art collection too. I think the position of the designer is to solve problems, but the position of the artist is to start a conversation, bring up the problems and the beauty in the world (I could of course be wrong about both those positions). I think I’m more interested now in questions than answers – which is dangerous territory I guess… But we’ll never run out of questions, so at least I know the infinite is my oyster.

I heard you playing guitar, and you kind of have this King Krule vibe on you… Who are some of your musical inspirations, and how would you like to sound?
Oh nice, nice. Yeah I’ve got one song that a lot of people compare to King Krule, which I think is fair since it’s more or less the same progression as his Out Getting Ribs song, or a poor version of it. The rest of the stuff I don’t really think bares that much resemblance to him though, but I guess that’s for everyone to decide on their own. The freedom of opinion is a luxury everyone deserves - It should be no luxury at all, really.
Lately I’ve been listing to Television a lot. Actually, right now I spend most of my time listening to “Valentina Lisitsa plays Philip Glass.” And Bruce Brubaker’s “Glass Cage.” I want to try to write a piece of music that has that sort of transportation power.

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Any plans for your music? Like a record maybe?
I hope so! I want to do a 7”, or maybe a 10”. And I’ve got a few one-off songs that might come out between now and February… I want to make a short film with my own music, which I think could sound sort of vapid or something, but I think it’d be cool to just create an environment that is whole from me ya know? I’ve been writing a bunch of stuff but nothing is like full enough to put out I think… My friends’ and I’s last band, LUBE, might be coming out with a few songs and a music video that we recorded like a year ago… and then I’ve got a small cassette tape of just acoustic stuff coming out on a little San Diego label called RITA Records… I think that will be out at the end of November, and hopefully be accompanied by a limited edition Zine with the lyrics to each song, & photos to give them context.

So tell us a regular Julian Klincewicz day.
Alright, so it changes a bit all the time, but this has been it most recently: So the sun rises further south in the sky and lights up my east facing wall, which is golden/yellow, and makes my whole room glow. My alarm goes off at 6:15, and then I maybe wake up at 6:30, and watch the sun for a bit. I meditate for 20 or so minutes, and at some point go pee. I have two options from here: A) I get a bowl of cereal and read in my room and maybe listen to music, or B) I go to this spot called: The Mission and get potatoes and toast for breakfast, and read there. If I head to The Mission, I get a coffee on the way. I check my email and lately I’ve been trying to write a bit everyday. During the day I usually work for a bit, and at some point I’ll play guitar for a while. Maybe go skate – right now I’m all bruised up so I’m taking it easy. I don’t really like the afternoons too much, so I’ll just kill time, maybe play some chess with my friend Luke or work at this store called Gym Standard. And then at night I’ll usually eat dinner and work on projects and what not. Prime time is 12:30-3:00am, that’s when I like to really try to make things. I’m also working on college applications at the moment, so I’ve been trying to get my portfolio together, and I’ve been putting off writing my entrance essay.

Ok. wWhen do you sleep? From 3:00 - 6:00? Damn!
I guess recently I’ve been going to bed earlier and skipping my 12:00-3:00 working time, but I’ve also been drinking a lot more coffee recently, so maybe that helps haha.

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Oh feeling like a dummie, that’s the thing I can check, haha. So besides Gosha, what are some other things that you wrote down as well?
I think I wrote that I wanted to put out a 7”, and go to Patagonia for a photo project. Maybe this year I’ll get to do those though! I wanted to put out a book too, which I did. I think all in all I got about half my goals for being 19.

You are a skater boy. Ok random, but shame on me! I just started to sing that Avril Lavigne song, shit! Ok nevermind, I just want to ask how often do you usually skate in a week?
Lately not that much/not enough… maybe twice a week? But I want to put out a skate part soon, so I’m gonna be skating a bunch more in the near future. I think I want to put out my part as “Julia” instead of “Julian” I think it can be more interesting. We’ll see though.

Julia, what was your worst slam? I don’t know if it’s the worst slam I saw, but for sure is the one I remember the most: Clint Walker on last’s year KOTR. He slammed so hard some weird fluid started dripping out of his nose. Did anything like this ever happen to you?
Oh haha. I’ve never had anything that gnarly. Just a lot of medium-bad slams where your body just hurts for a while and moving feel’s like true hell. Actually, when I was 16 I bruised all the bones in my right knee, at the beginning of summer, so I couldn’t skate for the entire summer, which sucked. My whole knee swelled up like a grapefruit. That’s what made me want to learn guitar.

Ok. Lets talk about our favorites. I luv Mark Gonzales! He’s so cool, his style, crazy personality, he is just super (markanten). So who do you love?
I think right now It’s a strange time for skateboarding, where so much of street wear and fashion is influenced by skateboarding. There are some people who do it really well, and with a lot of respect, like Gosha, which I think is what gives it value and credibility within fashion. But there’s also a lot of people who I think don’t necessarily have that same sort of appreciation, and use it just like fad… And I think that that’s not cool at all. I think Gonz stands out because he’s an artist, and he brings that sort of vision to his skateboarding or maybe he’s just a skateboarder who brings that mentality to his artwork. More likely – he’s both, intrinsically mixed. He’s so unique, how could you not love him?

Exactly! Is there anything you always wanted to say but no one really asked about?
“Hey, I like you”

What is one talent you wish you had?
I wish I could dance ballet, like really beautifully. I’d love to play the harp. I wish that I had man’s hands, or narrow fingers like a pianists.

Ballet, nice! I can see you doing that. First we got Nureyev, then Polunin followed by Klincewicz. It kind of works. With all that you do, want to do, I have to ask where do you see yourself in your 30’s, in your 40’s in your 50’s…
Haha, oh boy. I’ve no idea. Some part of me thought I’d be dead by now, so I’ve no idea what’s to come. I hope when I’m 30 I can just be happy, when I’m 40 that I’m happy, when I’m 50 I’m happy. I’d love to teach someday, probably at a Waldorf school. Maybe when I’m in my 40’s and 50’s, I can be a teacher.

Oh cool! So Julia(n) we are done! Any thank you’s for the end?
Thanks mom!

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So meditation: You learned Transcendental Meditation at the age of thirteen, right?
Yeah, I learned it because one of my friends/mentors, Zarosh Eggleston, did it. I met him at the skate park and I just sort of saw that he was a truly unique and grounded person, so I was like “that’s what I want!” I got a scholarship from the TM foundation and learned at the center in Encinitas. Lately I’ve been doing it everyday, twice a day. But sometimes it’ll become really inconsistent, especially when I’m traveling… It’s one of those things that I think has really helped to shape me as a person though. I notice that pretty much everything in my life gets better when I’m meditating everyday.

I assume it gives you patience for things to evolve on their own, just the way they should and you don’t rush and mess everything up!?
I hope so… It’s more like it just lets me be comfortable with myself, where I have a clearer idea of who I am, both as an individual but also in relationship to the people around me. When I really get in the zone though, it feels like I’m weightless, flying. Maybe it’s helped me cut out a little bit of the extra confusion/indecision that usually comes with making things. I still mess things up all the time though. For the most part, I feel like i’ve always been in a mad rush, until really recently. I want to make sure that what I put out is good work, that It’s something I really want to see, and I think there’s a reason for other people to see too.

Well said! So on your nineteenth birthday you made a list of things you want to accomplish. Fist one on the list was to collaborate with Gosha Rubchinsky, which is checked. How was working with him like, and any new colabs on the horizon?
He’s the best. He has really clear ideas about what he wants to make, and how to convey them/make them into something attainable and tangible. I hope that someday I can make with that sort of vision and sight. I’ve been talking with a few people about video projects, mostly musicians, so maybe something will happen there… But it’s probably better to let the projects come out when they’re real, when they’re finished… Other wise it’s just speculation and me sounding like a dummie.