Several years ago, Emerica shoes marked the end of a bold and promiscuous era by releasing “Stay Gold,” billed within urethane-wise punditrydom as “tha last video ever.” Girl and Chocolate under their own advances a short while later launched “Pretty Sweet,” also the last video ever, and Plan B toward the end of 2K14 widely is expected to place a MegaRampTM-shaped capstone on the video era upon completing “Tru, B” which not only is understood to be the last video ever but furthermore to potentially never come out at all, just to make the point.
Where does this leave our independent video maker? If you are named Ty Evans you actually are a Filmmaker and shall be contracted to a burgeoning action sports production house for the use of proprietary Filmmaking UAVs and certain other automated devices that aren’t yet all legal under county-specific statutes penned by wizened barneys. For the remainder, do they continue to absorb the financial hardships, bristly market risk and hours spent lying in gutters, occasionally sprinkled with sustaining dollops of funding from shoe conglomerates or free boards from their bro’s warehouses?
There are relatively few big-name companies attached as backers to “Statics 4 & 5,” Josh Stewart’s sprawling ode to nocturnal nooks and crannies of the five boroughs, and the steadily clattering insomniac tunnels that stitch them together. At this point Josh Stewart’s sunk the better part of two decades into filming skating and making videos, he’s complained about the tough time making a living at it even before the internet obliterated both the hardcopy format and the longform video, and more recently talked about how he gets money videoing more-pedestrian shit, probably with additional perks such as sensible hours and fewer threats from wayward autos and cops.
Is this Josh Stewart’s last Static vid? Maybe or maybe not, but between the Henry Edwards and Jeremy Elkins and Peter Sidlauskases of this current plane of existence it seems the curse of the independent video filmer will continue to cloud and arouse youngsters’ minds, whether or not board and shoe makers deign to continue sinking years’ worth of marketing budget lucre into full-length DVDs or high quality Blu Ray products for HD TVs. Josh Stewart, as elder a statesman in all this as Dan Wolfe or Fred Mortagne at this point, suggested this may not be such a bad thing, in spite of any ensuing financial hardships, or perhaps because of them:
One of the rad things about the skate video as an art form is that most of the people doing good work in the indie video scene aren’t motivated by financial gain. And it makes it more pure as an art form when it has to be done on the side of making a living.
The “Static 5” opening sequence, with its tribal chanting, drums and dudes silently walking through tunnels, gives you a sense of how Josh Stewart may view shit and moustachioed literary analytic types might be inclined to draw some “Last of the Mohicans” analogy.* In a time when social media-abetted personal branding has incented standalone video parts and projects catering to specific dudes’ approaches to skating, the 4th and 5th “Statics” are one of the more cohesive and well put together full-lengths in quite a while. The Slap board commentary cycle may have reduced Josh Stewart’s aesthetic to “cellar doors” around the time of the third installment but there’s still few who can argue better for it, and with the exception of the Bronze vid, to which it really is unfair to compare any video, there is no better soundtrack this year, occasionally ripped straight from the trains and platforms.
With the volume of cellar doors transferred to and bars hopped (Aaron Herrington grabs the no-comply title straight from the jump) it was wise if indulgent to bisect this project into a pair of “Photosynthesis”-optimized runtimes, even though there’s satisfactory variety when it comes to this type of skating. Aaron Herrington goes bio down three banks, Yonnie Cruz is awarded most ambidextrous,
Brian Clarke displays a rarely seen frontside noseslide shove it and
Brendan Carroll behaves similarly with a nollie manual. There are cameos by some of Japan’s street alchemists whose style really has no father but could plausibly claim the “Static 2” Traffic/Puleo parts as an irritable uncle. Dustin Eggeling turns in the obligatory fakie frontside noseslide shove it and thereby soothes certain 1990s ghosts, Jimmy Lannon continues to embody one of the better examples of how less oftentimes is more and
Jake Johnson does his mountain ride, with the skate sounds dialed down and guitars turnt similar to an Alien video. Jimmy Mastrocolo, Daniel Kim and Keith Denley should do parts in next video Josh Stewart does, if there is one.
The best made part in this entry though may be Jahmal Williams, who Josh Stewart pairs with an aging subway dance squadron led by a dude who claims to be over 45 and literally toiling underground, “keeping the art alive” on behalf of tourists and passing worker bees. Jahmal Williams still has it, boosting up traffic barriers and igniting one of the better filmed rick flips recently and issuing a memorable “one more” plea in pursuit of nighttime breakdancing glory and possibly the promise of parachute pants riches yet to come. If these are really the last ones of Josh Stewart’s “Static” series, they do it justice and make a case for the dude mastering his craft, copies can and should be purchased from Theories of Atlantis.
*Not this blogosite though, never that
Tags: Brendan Carroll, Bronze Hard Wares, cellars, electro, Hopps, Jahmal Williams, jake johnson, Jimmy Lannon for real though, Josh Stewart, pole jams, pyramids, remaining footage of Yaje Popson, Roberto Puleo, Static 4, Static 5, steel, Theories of Atlantis, videographies, wallies, Yonnie Cruz