Professional skateboarder Stefan Janoski is highly respected in skateboarding circles. The effortless ease and panache with which he executes the most complicated and difficult tricks is subject of lore among shredding enthusiasts. He went pro in 2003, and won the Tampa Pro Skate contest in 2007. Stefan is also only the second skateboarder ever to be given his own signature Nike SB sneaker, the top-selling Nike Zoom Stefan Janoski shoes. In addition to his main profession, he’s also a talented painter and sculptor with several gallery shows to his name. Currently residing in Brooklyn, we sought him out to ask a few questions about his passion for skating and his ever-evolving creative endeavors.
You grew up in Vacaville, CA. How was the skating scene like there?
The skate scene in Vacaville around 1992 was around 12 people or less. At my school, it was me and one or two other skaters. Mostly I skated with my friends Josh Jameson, Brian Glosser and a few guys who were 4 or 5 years older than me. Either that or I would skate by myself on an asphalt country road.
Looking back, when did skating change from a hobby to becoming a profession?
I made a conscious decision to make skating my profession. I didn’t know which hobby of mine would become a profession. After I moved from Vacaville to Sacramento, I had a long list of jobs; London Fog factory outlet, VF factory outlet, a bagel shop, house painting, Board Wild skate park/skate shop as a cashier (that was the best one). I started skating with sponsored skaters who were making money skating, and after skating with Brandon Biebel, and all the Sacramento Pros, I decided NO MORE JOBS and went all in with skateboarding, and skated as much as I could.
Every skateboarder has their own unique style – what would you say that yours is?
Natural, casual, individualistic, spontaneous.
Your signature Janoski Nike Zoom SB Skate shoes are extremely successful. How involved were you in their design?
I was completely involved with the design of my shoe. The beginning was a struggle. Nike and I had two different ideas for what the shoe should be, and there were many revisions, but as it was my signature shoe, I would not compromise and we kept working until it was exactly the way I wanted. It is a perfect shoe for both skateboarding and wearing. It’s really awesome to have other people like it so much, and it’s really fun to keep thinking of new colors and materials. The shoe looks good in everything.
Your skating career takes you all over the world. What are some of your favorite cities to visit – either for skating or leisure?
Yes, skateboarding has taken me all over this world. Spain is amazing for skate spots and relaxing vibes. Mexico also has great skate spots and the best food. Hong Kong is an amazing place, hard to skate but fun to hang with friends and eat. China is marble skate spot paradise, and Mendicino, Northern California is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been.
Can you tell us a little more about your creative/artistic interests?
I have always made art, ever since I can remember. I love to sculpt with clay and wax, and I have been casting into bronze too. I also paint and draw, and I love to write stories, poetry and songs. I love to play music and I try to play every instrument, but mostly I play guitar. Skateboarding has given me the freedom to follow through on all my other interests and hobbies.
Lastly, what are your thoughts on the future of skateboarding? Are there kids coming up that you’re particularly excited about?
So many crazy talented kids! Miles Silvas, Mark Suciu, Blake Carpenter. It will be interesting to watch. Kids are getting more and more advanced, doing bigger and bigger handrails, airs, gaps, longer slides, more tricks in one, and doing them easier. But still trends travel in circles, so maybe everyone will go back to daisy dukes, high socks and banana boards. For the distant future, I’m still waiting for hover boards.
For more on Stefan Janoski, visit here.