Over the past several years, Blondey McCoy has conquered the world. Emerging as one of the faces of Palace and adidas has firmly cemented his status in skateboarding. Simultaneously, he’s infiltrated fashion and the art world through his Thames label, solo exhibitions, and work with high-profile brands like Burberry. What’s most impressive is that he accomplished all of this by age 21. If nothing else, you have to respect Blondey’s hustle.
END. recently visited McCoy in his studio and conducted a proper interview. He goes on the record about many things, including how skateboarding has influenced his personal creativity, and fashions appropriation of skate culture.
END.: Would you say that skateboarding is linked to your creativity?
Blondey: Absolutely. Skateboarding taught me self-confidence and not to need people’s approval to be who you want. Perhaps a little too much. A hundred skaters can do the same trick, but they all do it differently. I always find that amazing. It’s cliched to say, but there are skaters who look more fluid falling off their board than others who are doing the most technically advanced, horrific tricks and robotically making them every time. I think British skateboarding has often been a case of style over substance when compared to American skateboarding. I used to skip school to go and linger in the old Slam store until I could muster up the courage to talk to the people who worked there. I remember the board wall was an absolute beauty and none of the artists seemed to have GCSEs or anything, but they had their own style and didn’t seem to care what people thought of it. Whether that was the case or not, I’ve carried that mentality with me through everything. I’d feel saner having a good bash at ten things than studying for ten years to be told by an unelected mentor that I’m good enough to do one.
END.: Do you think that skating has given you the mindset that it’s okay to fail?
Blondey: I would sooner say that it’s given me the mindset that persistence is everything. Skateboarding is one massive game of trial and error and even if you’re naturally gifted you will fail 99% of the time and break bones. But that’s what makes the 1% of attempts you roll away from rewarding enough to keep at it and bring that trick up to scratch. There is a real work ethic attached. I suppose more importantly it just taught me not to seek constant validation from people and to set my own standards, which is pretty paradoxical to youth culture now with social media and whatever – but that’s another can of worms.
END.: There’s been a lot of fallout recently about fashion’s appropriation of skateboarding culture and style, what’s your take on it?
Blondey: It’s boring. Skateboarding isn’t a subculture anymore – at least not in America. It’s as normal a thing to do there as playing football is in the UK. I think culture clashes are what make the world bearable. Variety is what keeps things interesting and we cant go setting double standards as supposedly liberal people. Everything’s up for grabs if you ask me. You know, I couldn’t care less about football or tennis or cricket, but I don’t feel like I’m pillaging their culture by wearing the kit. I could waffle on about this all day without making any sense, but I basically think everyone should do whatever the fuck they want.
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