Gavin Morgan is a co-founder of Familia Skateboards and is somewhat of a veteran in the South African skateboarding community. He has been an influential individual to a generation of local skateboarders. Gavin is no stranger to the pages of Session Magazine, he had our very first interview in Issue 1, an Exposé in Issue 10, he got the cover of Issue 26 and has featured in countless articles with Familia over the years. In addition, he once worked at Session as one of our designers. A few years ago he relocated to London but he still maintains his involvement in skateboarding and his controlling interest at Familia Skateboards. Familia boards have been a little scarce in the country lately so we decided to catch up with Gavin to find out what the deal is?
You just went on a trip to Berlin with an ‘SA crew’, how was that?
It was Shaun Witherup, Gary McNaughton, Steph & Andy Morgan, Bryce, Jake, Sam Clark and I. Sam had already been there for a couple of months so he knew a few spots and introduced us to some of the locals. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Berlin but it was rad. It felt really liberal. Everybody on the trip smashed it.
Does the ‘SA crew’ roll together in London on the regular?
Sometimes it’ll be me, Andy and Steph rolling together. We’re pretty keen on cruising around and looking for spots. Then there’s always a few of the home dawgs who are down and we’ll hook up. If Shaun has something in mind then we’ll make a plan with him, it’s different all the time.
You left SA for London about 5 years ago, what have you been up to in this time?
I’ve been living in Southwark which is close to Waterloo so I’m central to everything. Working. Skateboarding. Making things for Familia. Travelling when possible. It took time for me to climatize to London. Living here is very different to SA. It’s a good feeling having fresh experiences.
Familia has been on a brief hiatus here in SA since the Muybridge series decks sold out, why is that?
Adrian Day who started Familia with me decided to leave the company so we’ve been sorting that out. There’s been no drama and we’re still friends.
Eadweard J. Muybridge (9 April 1830 – 8 May 1904) was an English photographer, known for his pioneering work on animal locomotion which used multiple cameras to capture motion. His method was the origin of sequence photography, an art form that is very central to the documentation of skateboarding:
You have always been a creative driving force behind Familia and given it its unique feel. What influences you when coming up with graphic concepts or editing video pieces?
You can get ideas or inspiration from anything. I think when it happens put it down on paper. That way when you need to put new graphics or edits together you have existing ideas. I find it pretty difficult to create things if you’re scrambling for ideas to get something done. Coffee and music could also help.
When can we expect to see a new series in shops down here?
Next month (August).
Can you tell us a little bit about the new series?
The new Night Life graphics are thermal images shot by Jon Searle. So what you’re looking at is variations in temperature. I wanted to portray images of animals that you could find in your city at night. Jon went to various animal sanctuaries, donated money to them and shot the images. Some of the animals he wanted to shoot were in hibernation at the time and locating specific animals was also quite difficult. We still plan on doing a thermal shoot rolling through the city.
Familia still hooks up skateboarders locally and in the UK, can you tell us who currently rides for Familia?
This is kind of an unofficial announcement but the team now consists of Yann Horowitz, Loucas Polydorou, Shaun Witherup and Steph Morgan.
Now that you are running things from London, do you still see a relevance in the SA skate scene?
Familia started in SA and all the riders are originally from SA so I would say yes. It hasn’t been a conscious decision to have all SA riders, it just happened naturally. Steph (JHB) and Shaun (DBN) are from SA but they’ve spent half or more of their lives in the UK. I have a strong connection with downtown Johannesburg. It’s where I grew up skateboarding. I would take days off from school to go skate there. I always had a good feeling being in that city.
How can stores get some of the new Familia boards once they arrive in SA?
Baseline Skate Shop in Cape Town is now distributing (and selling) Familia. You can contact them and they’ll stock your shop anywhere in South Africa. Contact Luke Jackson (email@example.com) at Baseline 021 422 0465 / firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your plans for Familia following this restructure, what are you working on and where do you hope to take it?
I just got a VX for Yann and Loucas. JJ Harris has offered his filming services. This side we have Andy filming with Shaun and Steph. I want them to get full parts together. Yann and Loucas live in Cape Town so it would be sick to see parts coming out from there. I’m trying to not think too far ahead. I want to enjoy it and make some rad shit.
Are we going to see you in SA again any time soon?
Any last words for your old mates down here in SA?
Gavin’s backside 50-50 pop out on the cover of Grey Magazine:
Check out Gavin’s video part from Familia’s ‘Bang Chong’ video:
More about Familia at – http://www.