Reid Stewart is the co-founder and creative director of Lifetime Collective. He’s also the editor of the collective’s Free Thinkers Zine. He was visiting from Vancouver for the zine launch, so we met up with him to chat about creative process and how skateboarders get into art.
When Trevor [Fleming] and I first started Lifetime, it revolved around this feeling of creativity. Clothing was a good medium to work with our friends who were in other creative avenues, from photography and film to skateboarding and surfing. We collaborated and did projects together. We still do, we work with people all over the place.
This is the sixth issue, we do two a year. It’s a biannual publication. We decided to use newsprint because it’s cheap and accessible for everyone. All of our retailers get copies and we’re growing the distribution to include bookstores and record shops. We make 10,000 copies and they go so fast. I want to treat the zine as its own brand, in a way. We interview people who are part of Lifetime Collective, but also people that aren’t, so it’s a little more broad.
The overarching theme in Lifetime Collective’s Free Thinkers Zine is creative process. It’s what I’m interested in. Whether I’m interviewing a photographer, painter, designer or skateboarder, I want to know how they got to the end product. For the sixth issue, we were in New York and I got to see my friend John Copeland, who’s a painter, and it was amazing to go through his studio and see his drawings, sketchbooks–anything really that him to that point.
Clothing was a way to tell our story. For example, our friends in bands would go on tour and we’d make shirts for them. It’s interconnected. For the collective’s artists, we print t-shirts and put on shows. We only make one t-shirt design per artist. Each shirt has a story–the idea behind the work and how the artist got there. I’ve curated shows in San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, and now for this zine launch we’re in a sushi restaurant in Toronto. I love it.
I didn’t have a background in curation. I used to walk into skateboard shops and be like, ‘The artwork is amazing.’ I was a little skate rat and that’s how I got into art. We didn’t have a background in clothing either. We just did it. The one thing Trevor and I both share is that we’re not afraid. We just do it. We figure it out. It can’t be that tough. We talk to people that are doing it and fucking figure it out. We decided what we wanted to do and made a business plan.
Free Thinkers is my passion. It’s the most fun part. We design clothing and put together the collection, shoot the catalogue and spend so much time with everything that goes into that process. The zine takes me away from doing the main thing for a bit. It’s also getting better. Just like anything else, the more we do it, the better it gets.
–Reid Stewart, as told to Studio Beat
photos by Courtney Vokey