I’ve seen Isaac White pop up in various edits over the last few years and am always intrigued by his style and versatility, leaving his mark on known and lesser known spots across NYC. It could be front blunting a handrail or gapping to grind on metal you could hear through a photograph, he’ll be trying to get some regardless of the spot it seems. This versatility extends to the different Krooked boards he chooses to skate, which keeps it fresh and exciting. Reading this interview it seems he’s utilising his ADHD to his advantage and, be it skate footage, artwork, or general creation of some sort, Isaac makes the most of his time and we’re hyped to have him in the magazine. Cheers Isaac and all involved with this piece, we’re stoked on it!
Have you heard of contemporary black skateboarding? Do you think you fit in that “genre”?
No I haven’t but I get the idea. I don’t like to box myself in but I see what you mean. I grew up being influenced by so many things and, with the internet, eventually a lot of things outside my immediate surroundings influenced me a lot.
You’ve been skating so many shaped boards and also a lot of transition lately. Where’s the inspiration (if any) coming from?
I started skating in the suburbs and just skated my cul-de-sac for years. My mom moved to a neighbourhood closer to NC State, where the neighbourhood kids would always tell me about a miniramp they’d party and skate through the night at. One day I broke a bearing, I had never been to a skate shop so I went to said house. It ended up being Jed Shooter’s miniramp and they pretty much took me from then. A lot of my perspective/taste in skating comes from them and their era. Being into shaped boards comes from being a fan of early-era street skating, living with Nolan Johnson watching him hand carve boards for SCRAM, and seeing Erick Winkowski skate in person as well as his street footage. A 50-50 on the same ledge feels different on a shaped board. I feel like riding new shapes and having certain tricks work for each one keeps skating interesting and exciting for me.
Why do you sound like a SoCal surfer? Whereare you from? They be surfin’ were you from or something?
Haha not at all! I grew up in North Carolina but was born in Hartford, CT. I remember being in Connecticut and getting bullied for talking articulately, then moving to the south and getting bullied or fighting over my accent too. So I have no idea where it comes from. I’ve only surfed once and my board knocked me out and gave me a black eye.
You seem to spend a lot of time outside on one of them shitty luh’ city bikes or on your board. Why don’t you sit yo ass down sometime?
Probably my ADHD, which is why I’m always working on 3+ things at once. I would go to work with my mom in the city as a kid. When I moved to the suburbs it was so slow and I’d have to get rides togo skate, so I was either on the internet or skating. Tumblr showed me so much I otherwise wouldn’t have access to. I got so into music, art, fashion, everything. I think, not being popular and feeling like a misfit, I spent most of my time expressing myself and creating and not so much hanging out. Now that I have friends and means to travel independently, I think I’m always motivated to get out there for all the years I was stuck in my neighbourhood or small town.
Does it matter at all to try to be a notable figure in skateboarding, in current times?
Yes and no. Skating is so big now that there’s now subcultures within its culture. I think being respected by my peers and people I grew up being influenced by is nice, but “making it” or whatever in skating isn’t really something in your control. When I started skating I was really into Corey Duffel and rock music and got bullied for it. Just for not being into what black kids were into conventionally. I just wanted to inspire other kids really, to not fit a mold and to show that staying true to what you’re into or like is okay! It’s always easier to conform than to be yourself.
What’s the allure of skating for a major brand, rather than something your close friend has made?
I just want to skate and travel as much as I can! I don’t really make any money from skating; it’s just another artistic form of expression. I’ve been getting Krooked boards for the past year or so and skating the Ray Barbee shaped boards got me so hyped on skating. I’m a big fan of Gonz and Ray’s skating and how their careers weren’t just limited to skating. Seeing them still rip to this day is inspiring and kind of gives me something to aspire to. I feel like with smaller brands I’ve been a part of in the past you work really hard just to grow someone else’s thing. Starting something with your friends and having creative control or input sounds cool. Right now I just want to get beast at skating haha.
Your recent art show, ParkMart NYC, looked pretty cool. You showed a bunch of t-shirts. What’s the deal with Titus? What is that?
I started making clothes under the name ‘Titus one of one’ during the 2020 lockdown, I wanted this $600 Sadé shirt when I realised it’d be easier to just make one. Some friends asked me to make them one andI just started making clothes from there, mostly just one off stuff from blanks I randomly source and print on. It’s mostly an extension of my art/collages on clothes. The name comes from my middle name and from seeing TITUS printed big on the ramps at all those Munster contests. That show was a collection of PARKMART vendors who all made one special shirt for the show. Shout out to Nurse, Brooks, Seth, Nico and all my PARKMART fam!
Other shout outs:
Nico Marti, Neema, Nate Hanson, Sista Light, QX, 2pac, Young Thug, Krooked (B. Slatts), Nile Gibbs,Karl Watson, Reid and James at Labor, Malcolm X, Jeff Hardy, Robert Smith, Sam Cole, De La and Mackey at Converse, everyone at Cliff Creative Studio, Granville P, everyone at Skate Jawn, Tony at 35th North, Ray and Gonz, 90s NY hip hop, Rocket Power.
Isaac White – Vague Part
Isaac White – Issue 35 Cover – Click below to get physical copies of the mag!