As two of the most respected British riders in the world, Nick Jensen and Paul Shier have been integral members of the UK skate scene for some time now. Following the demise of the once renowned Blueprint skateboards, they have since given rise to a new brand with an eclectic art direction and strong collection of riders on the team. We are happy to be able to share words from them both regarding their company, Isle…
Prior to launching Isle you kept a lot under wraps in terms of the name etc. How did this impact the launch?
PAUL SHIER – We wanted to keep everything to ourselves and make sure the brand was 100% ready to go the way we envisioned for the launch before announcing anything regarding the name or team. There were some people out there that were guessing at the name for a while and it did get out somehow that it was going to be called Isle. I can remember our first trip to Valencia, Spain when the brand was still not properly launched and all there had been was some personal instagrams of blank boards but Sylvain thought it would be funny to write Celest on his griptape as a joke which sparked interest even more thinking that was going to be the name. I am not too sure if this hyped it up more but we were super stoked on the welcome we got from skaters.
What goals did you have in mind when creating the concept for the brand?
NICK JENSEN – To create something that was visually different and to support our favourite skaters.
Did the decline of Blueprint prior to starting Isle provide any lessons to bring to the new brand?
PAUL SHIER – Keep it small and tight, listen and communicate with each other always. Do not grow beyond your means and only do what you believe to be true. Never get people involved who do not understand your message and where you are coming from.
Isle has a distinctive aesthetic, keeping things minimal with high attention to detail. Are there other brands or designers that you look to for inspiration?
NICK JENSEN – We find ourselves looking at art works outside of skateboarding for inspiration. Going to see art exhibitions has informed the white background aesthetic. We also look at older examples set by skate brand’s, a time when designers used photocopy machines, actual models (ie alien workshop’s stuff) and animation to create their brand identity. We’re really into this hands on approach, treating the board as a sculpture in a way.
You’re working on ‘Vase’ with Jacob Harris who also made the Eleventh Hour. Should we expect similar use of ‘regressive technology’ in the new video?
PAUL SHIER – Our video is shot with vx1000 and 16mm. It does seem to be a trend now for people to claim they are filming on VX but this is what I have pretty much always filmed parts on as has Nick so we are more familiar. I think Jake has gone through 4 cameras filming for it and I know I have fucked up one death lens.
Using old technology can be a costly process. Why are using such mediums important to your aesthetic?
PAUL SHIER – 16mm is costly but we are keeping it to a minimum and costs down. VX costs is just a case of buying tapes, unfortunately some cameras have broken, but again this has not been too costly and we were all able to chip in together to get Jacob another. We are all believers in the process, rawness and image that you get from filming with a VX1000 and this is why we continue to use this medium.
Does the extra cost create pressure for your riders when filming?
PAUL SHIER – The 16mm has been used mostly for lifestyle/art shots and not much real skating is done so the cost is lower than you may think.
I’ve seen Nick mention in a previous interview with Dazed and Confused that you tend to consider two audience types when filming, one core skate and the other more mainstream. Was that taken into account when filming for Vase?
NICK JENSEN – It’s a relief to be making Vase because it’s what we really want to be doing. It’s for skaters by skaters. Dazed was different because of their intentions and ideas.
The bulk of the team are from the UK. Is a majority filmed over here?
PAUL SHIER – Yes, the majority of the video is shot in the U.K, but there will also be a lot of footage from all the world.
PAUL SHIER – 60% of the team live and skate in London and it is a very important place to us, especially the guys who have grown up around the scene. I know to me it is something that has always been a tight and amazing community of skaters. London days are far from done and never will be. The scene is the strongest it has ever been.
We really like your hands on approach to the creation of your board graphics. Can you tell us anything about the next series?
PAUL SHIER – We are currently finishing up production of our SP15 line which we are all hyped on. We will be dropping that in about a month with a new line of softgoods too.
What can we expect from Isle moving forward?
PAUL SHIER – Continue to do what we have been doing, filming for Vase, always putting out quality not quantity, supporting our favourite skateboarders and skateboarding.
Words: James P.Lees
Imagery courtesy of Isle Skateboards