by Lauren Telting
I was mad nervous about interviewing Gio Estevez.
I’m not sure why.
Maybe it’s because I’d seen him earlier in the week and was waving like a freak while he breezed right by me oblivious.
Have I not loved and laced enough of the downtown scene to at least get a wave on Lafayette?
Okay, so Gio Estevez’s rap sheet reads like an accumulation of the ultimate cool guys’ dream life.
A native New Yorker, he has had the proper amount of stimulation to never again output any unnecessary energy. He is exempt from having to go with flow and instead resides in it. Embedded.
Reactionless – the ultimate state of zen. True New Yorkers master this.
As a Culture Vulture — a name lovingly given to me by A-ron the Don, after which he has never said aNYthing to me since, I am very prepared to get to the nook and cranny of Gio Estevez.
I have organized 4 drafts of questions.
I want to know the things we don’t already know.
Ha! Who the hell do I think I am?
(Neal Santos set me up!)
Gio Estevez is:
Definitely, the living historical blueprint of the Supreme brand, dating back to before opening day one. Also, he lives as a designer, painter, illustrator, and simple being in Brooklyn. I had to meet him at a coffee shop therefore I didn’t get to see his genius "private" artwork until AFTER the fact.. So I have to say he is a very good artist for himself. And I am thoroughly impressed with his implications of movement applying a cross hatched form technique.
Living the ideal life of an artist, he only has to go to Supreme more often than most think to look after and keep up with whatever is going on there at the time. (This I don’t envy as it must involve swatting swarming bees and beating off fans.)
He spends the rest of his time on other creative and personal projects at his office in Brooklyn.
Gio is way below the radar and very uninterested in interaction of any kind– it seems unnecessary and superfluous.
These characteristics don’t make my interview easy, you see.
I project that I’m wasting his time.
As soon as we sit down, he is quick to let me know the difference between party people, who he is, and art. He has no association to "the scene" as we know it.
I ask him then, how he considers himself in the artistic aspect?
He says, as far as hi-art goes, he doesn’t know enough about it to comment on it. He’s happy with the work and collaborations he has done thus far.
Luckily, Gio makes art regardless of what anybody ever thinks of him.
He creates to exist and self-satisfy.
About lending his ideas to Cliché in Lyon, France….www.clicheskate.com
I had been instructed not to discuss skateboarding like its some dirty secret for him, so I ask anyhow☺. hehe
Designing about 35 +/- skateboards over the course of many years where do you get inspiration to come up with another skateboard design? How do you stay fresh?
He responds nothing, no one, because it’s not about popularity.
I’m not sure what to make of this response, maybe he thinks I’m a fake, popular bitch face and he wants to let me know that that’s that … Wait, I’m projecting. You look into this guy’s face and he is so nice…
Right then, at that very moment where, so far it’s been all nothing, none, no one, N/A, he looks down at my notebook full of speaking points I’ve scribbled to cover with him and he tells me that I misspelled his brand ANX as Annex. GASP!
Shame washes over me. Hahahaha, I try and laugh it off. At this point, I think he is fully over this whole Q & A.
Actually, I was super-cute in showing him the next page where I had done a bit more research that included the correct spelling. So can I say ANX at this point has given me angst?
Lookey here, interview this downtown gem completely aloof and get him a wagging his tongue and loofing about about being so cool, per Neal Santos.
ANX is Gio’s brand that he clarifies is not for the street.
Noted. I guess a freebie tee is out of the question.
ANX is sold at two Number Nine locations in Tribeca (NYC) and in Japan. Its also on the shelves of major boutiques including, Union NY + LA, DQM, HUF, Kicks HI, and Patta, NL — just to name a few of our coolest friends.
Trend forecast: Gio has lent Neil Young inspired drawings to the Number Nine Label, slated to come out in January.
I share with him that I do enjoy the graphics on the ANX line tees, especially the Penguin series. Of course I’m late on the trend and this is a yesteryear design. However, if you want to know what’s coming next from ANX, expect something in February/March 2008.
He reveals that the inspiration for that design came from seeing Penguins on a trip to South Africa.
I think this is really cool. I make him describe to me in full detail what a penguin looks like. I’ve never seen one and neither has anyone I know. He hates me.
It’s a bird with webbed feet.
The ANX brand is strictly about Gio as a designer and how that facilitates his purpose to draw.
Thank you, noted, I may be onto something here.
Let me get this straight:
Nothing inspires you to make a dope skateboard design done for the 100th time you just do it effortlessly each one as original as the last, your T-shirt line isn’t something you make to be cool but it somehow it is cool, and you don’t listen to music…
Wait, correction, Gio Estevez IS inspired by: movies, trips, posters, and dreams.
I’m so honored to be able to talk to you!
Note: he is not a photographer, but he paints as oftern as he can.
I’m clearly drowning in my own didactic shit talk so I ask, who would you like to work with?
What would you like for us to know about you?
Actually, he doesn’t say that he just shakes his head at me like, I can’t believe you just asked me that question, and when is your spaceship coming to get you?
Wait, Gio did say he would like to work with Surrender the new or former Mowax best known for James Lavelle. Gio and Lavelle have been great friends for over 12 years.
But he’s not a "shit talker".
Circle back: I don’t buy that he doesn’t listen to music. Everyone listens to music.
He tells me about the New York jazz programming, radio dial – 88.5 WDGO.
Moving right along.
Gio can speak Spanish and Portuguese.
I got a answer!
I go to pour my tea that I’ve ordered but the gorgeous, modernly designed kettle doesn’t actually facilitate any liquid going to its noted direction – like say the cup. Hence, I got tea all over the table. Shame again. Not First, Ha!.
I then start discussing the Bauhaus movement and how brilliant the Germans are with elements of design… form and function. A Bauhaus tea server would have never failed me!
Senor Estevez: a 34 year old, Libra, native New Yorker, Dominican, sanctifiably Supreme who speaks Spanish and Portuguese…now that’s original.
The name-droppings I got were as follows:
Frank Lloyd Wright’s house in Falling Water, Pennsylvania, perched on a rock held by a cantilever, with a surrounding terrace is in fact a source of inspiration for Gio. Check!
I share with him that Warhol was the only American artist ever in the history of American Art to make tons of pictures of Jesus Christ. Who knew that? !
Not sure he’s impressed with my academia because there is no response. However, I did get a set of raised eyebrows.
At this point any expression is a TOUCHDOWN!
I then throw out my recent run-in with the greatest street wear coat I’ve ever seen on NA (who is apart of the Supreme L.A. gene cool pool although no longer employed there but currently hustling his own brand called DEADLINE).
Anyway, this Burton//Warhol is the most gangster jacket I’ve seen with its camouflage silkscreen rendering of Warhol’s, The Last Supper. (Thanks N A for keeping me fresh!)
Gio then added, to look out for his own contribution to Burton’s Series 13. Slated to come out, "one of these days". And then something about Burton Chicago….
He also name drops, Dali, David Lynch, and Picasso.
Hey gorgeous, I got some Keith Haring’s for sale, you wanna see?
Gio made a mural that you must view at
431 Washington Street in the NYC.
I keep plugging away with questions. I like failing big, fuck it! So I ask:
Who are your peers? Who do you look to see around you at the same creative level?
(actually, I don’t think I got any answer for that question!)
Are there any brands we should look out for, Gio?
None. I don’t really know what anyone else is doing. I don’t really care. I have no idea what’s going on.
So I guess discussing the Iraqi war or upcoming Presidential election is out of the question?
Just stay on the lookout on Supreme, Anx, and Surrender.
Great! We need more people just like you.
A self-absorbed, Dominican, Manhattanite livin in Brooklyn as an artist, that speaks Portuguese, shuns coolness, being cool, and all that is cool, while ironically managing the flagship store for the coolest brand in downtown NYC and Japan.
If the truth be told Supreme paved the way for a lot of artists, brand designers, and creative types, including this uninspired, nothing, no one, N/A, non-scene affiliated designer of ANX, Cliché Skateboards, and Series 13 for Burton, that is in fact Gio Estevez.
In the end I agree with him. Fuck brand board red white and blue and angst. Look at this guy’s art!
What else is there?
Hey Gio, when you see my sexy black ass waving just throw me a set of raised eyebrows, baby!
Honestly, I think I could have gotten a better interview from James Brown, even in his current posthumous state. xoxo.
All Images from Gio Estevez, except photo of Gio’s back, by Jamie Storey.