When we start to put together every issue of ONE there’s always a simple question that starts the process: Who do we want to see in print? Well, for the second time in three years, one of those names was Brian Weis. Yes, he had a Spotlight Profile in Issue #23, and here in Issue #25 Brian was in Portland and made a story out of a relationship that didn’t take off, and a bunch of photos he got together with fellow MI-transplant Brad Osantoski. But we couldn’t stop there. To bring a bit more context to the story and just make any excuse to feature Brian, we asked him some questions and he sent a bunch of cool photos by Koda Hult and Eli Lindauer. So here’s a little behind-the-scenes about Brian’s part in Issue #25. Enjoy.
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Brian, where are you living now and how are you getting by during the coronavirus times?
Hey brother! I’m currently in Detroit in the LaSalle Gardens neighborhood, picking up as many new hobbies/skills as I can. Ha ha. I’ve got a whole house to myself, so I have a little home studio I’ve been messing around in, experimenting in, different lighting etc. I love to draw, too, but use pen/pencil, so I’ve been taking a stab at different mediums there, acrylics and what not. I also just got a harmonica, ha, so yeah, keeping the mind busy and happy.
How are people around your responding to social distancing and stuff like masks, etc?
Lots of masks, lots of gloves. As a whole, Metro Detroit seems to have done pretty well with distancing and community stuff, from what I’ve read and heard. I still see big bbq’s here and there, and the distancing is tough for people in public transportation, etc. Some stores I’ve been into don’t hold to the 6ft rule, but man, there are a lot of us on this planet in different situations and I’m sure it’s really hard to enforce these rules at some point.
Have you been responsibly taking advantage of the empty environments to make any blading images?
Not so much photo-wise in a blade sense, but mannn I had to get out a few times and explore, skate, snap some stuff — it’s just a once in a life kind of time. It feels like Detroit 10 years ago; you can skate anything, no outside distractions really. I don’t know, regardless of how anyone feels about that, it’s a skaters dream, right!? An empty city…
So let’s talk a bit about your spotlight in Issue #25. You wrote a pretty personal story about moving to Portland to follow a relationship… and then it didn’t work out. Is that right? What else can you tell us about the decision to do your story like that?
Yup that is correct, I chose to just write what I was feeling and what was really happening at the time. It was easy actually doing that. Plus, skating was my escape then. It’s always been there, it made sense. If you know me, you know I’m open and I’ll talk about anything with anyone. Always been that way. I felt given that opportunity from you to write something I would do just that. Maybe somebody can relate or at least you get a sense of me. I wish more people just talked and put judgement away. We could get a lot further out here. And the cherry on top is that writing is beyond therapeutic, been doing a ton of it lately and it’s been great for my well being.
How about shooting in PDX with your longtime homie Brad Osantoski? Did he have spots in mind to show you or did you manage to find this stuff on your own?
Brad! Yeah, he kind of held that part down. We did some research. I’d watch edits, parts, etc., pick some stuff out. He would send me stuff, too.
Any interesting stories that accompany any specific trick, spot or session?
Met the homie Austin Cooper when we showed up at the same spot as him. Ha ha, hey Austin!
You’re one of the handful of guys that skate at a very high level but can also pick up a photo camera and make an image. What’s that balance like, deciding when to be on what side of the camera?
Just all really depends, ya know. When I’m out skating, that’s usually where my focus is at. If someone needs photos for a project or anything they usually ask, or if something pops out at me I’ll pick up the camera. I’m really trying to shoot more this year skating-wise, or at least try to just document our time and community in Detroit. It’s hard though, pulling your head out of skating then into a photo then back to skating. I honestly will either skate or shoot, kinda of rare I’ll do both in a day. If I do, I may focus on shooting and be chill on the blades, or vice versa.
How do the two disciplines compliment each other for you?
Well, the one, skating, is actually how I found the other, photography, ha ha — so there ya go!
Outside of skating, what artists do you find inspiring or do you pay attention to? Anyone the rest of us should check out?
Jack Davison, Lydia Roberts, James Parker — they’re photographers. Jesse Draxlers, he does collage work, also Keith Rankin, Robert Beatty. They’re all great artists, take a peek.
We’ll get you out of here soon, but before we wrap up, what did you have planned this year that got blown up by the virus, and/or do you have anything going on that remains unchanged?
Everything! Ha ha, yup, pretty much on hold with everything right now — work, skating etc. But planning on getting out to as many events as I can when the world resumes. I have multiple parts I’m going to work on with various folks, like filming a couple shorts that are blading related with a photo friend I’m excited about. Have a couple photo projects I hope turn out how I envision them, ha, but yeah, just at a stand still with these things for now.
Brian, we appreciate your time and talents! Be well, stay safe, and thanks for sharing with us. If you want to throw out some thanks, now is the time. Take care!
Thanks bruh! Hope you’re doing well and wishing you the same. Big thanks to everyone out there taking action and doing good for the virus situation at hand and risking your health for it. Appreciate you. This thing we call life is far bigger than us.
See more in Issue #25. Order yours HERE.
Photos by Koda Hult, Eli Lindauer and Brad Osantoski.