random and real!
This issue's theme is PARADISE, which was decided way before the crisis we are facing… You’re also running your joint with that name. Can you tell us about the beginnings?
It actually started as ‘Palisades Paradise’ after I was skating with friends near the beach around some town called Pacific Palisades kinda near Malibu. It’s a rich area and it all seemed so artificial and inauthentic compared to the more urban places we mostly skated. Yuppies and jocks, convertibles, blondes, surfboards and frat boys were everywhere. It felt like we were in a bad 80’s movie or some kind of artificial paradise or something… We were all joking about it and when I got home I decided to make a shirt based on the concept. I eventually realized that just the word “Paradise” worked better and so that’s what we eventually named the brand. I had just moved to New York and the name Paradise was so common we couldn’t trademark it, so we made it PARADIS3 and/or PARADISE NYC. It’s a great word ‘cause it can be used and read ironically or sincerely (or both at the same time) in all kinds of situations creating a kind of ambiguity that’s really interesting to me. By using it with different images it can kind of capture and comment on the weird, conflicting, bitter-sweet feeling of existence.
Does it feel sometimes overwhelming to balance your aspirations in skateboarding, apparel and music in just the right way... or is it a rather effortless operation as these passions of yours are basically all naturally connected first and foremost?
It’s all pretty interconnected, just different ways to bring feelings and ideas to life. Skating is perfect because it’s like a great job that allows for a lot of freedom to be creative and travel and see how the world looks from different perspectives. Also, all of the insane characters you meet along the way make it so interesting and inspiring.
Intimacy is rare and beautiful and feels so good..., Sean Pablo says in this brand-new interview update to our first feature on PARADIS3 - a statement that’s especially poignant in times of Covid-19 and the resulting quarantine routines…
It’s been about six years since black nail-polish using Sean Pablo Murphy first stepped out into the Supreme/FA spotlight via “cherry”. He’s gotten even more lanky since 2014, since Nieratko described him as “too virgin-y” (amongst other things), since his first zines (“Teen Stabbing”) arrived, since PARADIS3 first appeared (originally as Palisades Paradise). Loving that intimacy, here’s Sean’s take on keeping things micro, inspiring, and relevant. Or as he puts it: Random and real!
PARADISE is also connoted in religious ways and creation myths, where do you let your thought roam when it comes to creation.
The concept of ‘Paradise’ is so open-ended and can go in so many directions conceptually; it’s so rich with potential meaning. Some of our designs play with that ambiguity to make ironic comments, cultural/political critiques, or just dumb jokes. On the one hand, it’s got these positive connotations that are uplifting and noble, and then there are these more insidious aspects like how terrorists conceive of it or how religions use it as a tool of power and control. The idea of an afterlife is so alluring, hopeful, beautiful and consoling, yet it’s also so naive and childlike. It’s a concept that seems to keep giving; it’s bottomless.
America seems to be very bigoted on a lot of issues; have you faced some outrage on some of your products?
Yeah, definitely. We like to fuck with people a bit—with sketchy ideas—sometimes we get called out. Sometimes I fuck up and post something insane on Instagram after a couple glasses of wine and then jump up at 3 AM in a cold sweat and delete it. But I think it’s important not to give too much of a shit—to not be so neutral and nice all the time—to take chances. To be willing to risk offense, to tell an interesting story or point out some hypocrisy or to just stand up for the right to make a meaningless stupid joke. I think it’s still possible without being cruel or hurting anyone; it’s a fine line I guess.
Is fatalism something you can relate to?
Well, I don’t know what that is but I do know some boobs are fake and that all love is real.
What do you think of uncompromising designs (something like FUCT also does)?
I think it’s important to always challenge and fuck with the status quo. I love Erik’s aesthetic and unrelenting attitude; he influences us a lot. We’re actually planning a collab but it fell through because I got some heat from certain people who didn’t get where he was coming from (hopefully it’s still to come). I’m definitely progressive but this moment where everyone’s getting so offended about everything is making me sad. There’s no room anymore to play, everyone’s being so careful, everyone’s afraid. If people just keep doing familiar safe things, there’s no progress, there’s no energy, no fun. Chaos is a catalyst.
It feels as if it’s a very conscious decision to keep Paradise rather small?
Definitely. Intimacy is rare and beautiful and feels so good. I want paradise to feel lo-key, like how I feel walking around New York or skating in LA. Just raw, simple, dumb, random and real.
I was wondering how many times major brands knocked on your door already to get you involved in their business?
We get a lot of inquiries from everywhere. In fact every single one of our stockists contacted us; we never had to send out one request. We’re so lucky to be in places like Dover Street Market and Supreme. Hoping to start getting into more collabs going forward...
Is there something you want to contribute to skateboarding culture that is lacking or has been lacking…
I don’t know… I guess I’m so lucky to just be able to get my personal take on things out there… That’s good enough for me right now.
Interview: Thomas MRK - Images courtesy of PARADISE.NYC