In Conversation with Tom Botwid of Poetic Collective
In conjunction with the release of the Poetic Collective SS19 collection, we caught up with Malmö resident, skateboarder, artist and brand owner, Tom Botwid. If you haven’t already, you should check out the ‘Quotes' and 'With Love’ videos to catch the vibe.
Flatspot: Hi Tom, it’s great to hear from you. How’re you doing?
Tom: Great to hear from you! I`m good! Lots of work but enjoying the Swedish summer. Just getting back from a sprained ankle so really happy to be rolling again!
"Seeing it grow into this has been really amazing and I am super proud and happy to be a part of it!"
Flatspot: You’re still living in Malmö, right? The scene there seems to be popping right now, with a bunch of fun brands and skaters emerging. How’s it been witnessing the growth within the last few years?
Tom: Yep I'm in Malmö! The scene is really really good! It is still quite small but for the size of the city there is a massive amount of skaters. The city is really supportive of skating and that helps with new spots, and then the Skateboarding highschool has a constant flow of new skaters coming in so that is amazing. The level of skating is insane for such a small city. Seeing it grow into this has been really amazing and I am super proud and happy to be a part of it!
Flatspot: With skateboarding being more profitable than ever and the Olympics coming up there’s some major companies in the game, but at the same time independent brands such as yourselves are killing it. Do you feel that the mainstream spotlight is important for the skateboarding underground?
Tom: I feel like it is two different sides, the mainstream brands and competitive skating is growing but then at the same time. the bigger skating gets the more room there is for smaller more niche things too. Hopefully the mainstream spotlight leads new skaters in then they can find their own niche and expression with time.
"Seeing her skate gets me really stoked [...], reminds me of when I started and that pure love of just skating."
Flatspot: Who/what’s inspiring you to go skateboarding at the moment?
Tom: Summer in Sweden is really inspiring, makes you just want to get outside! My whole team inspires me a lot too, all of them are very unique skaters and have their own approach so seeing that and seeing them working to get tricks makes me really stoked.
We also have a new flow rider, this young girl Mira Axelsson. Seeing her skate gets me really stoked too because she is in that phase where she is constantly learning new stuff and it's all fresh, reminds me of when I started and that pure love of just skating.
Flatspot: With the recent release of the Nike SB Gizmo film, you must be stoked for Sarah Meurle. What’s it been like working with her over the years?
Tom: I am! I was so happy when I watched her part with her at the Malmö Premiere! She did so good! It is always a pleasure working with Sarah, I’ve known her for so long now and I am really happy for her that she is finally getting the recognition she deserves, she’s been killing it for so long but it took a long time for the industry to catch up. We worked on her last part together and seeing her go from that to a major thing like Gizmo is amazing. I am really happy to be able to provide her with a platform and have her be a part of Poetic Collective.
Flatspot: Poetic Collective’s SS19 collection has just dropped, with screen printed graphics featuring throughout. Could you drop us some insight into your design process, there’s some strong continuity flowing?
Tom: It is a very analog process where I usually start out by doing a lot of drawings and paintings and collecting inspiration. Then I sit down with my brother Paul, who helps me sort my ideas out, and try digitally what works and what doesn’t. It is a balance with doing new things because you always want to develop it further but at the same time you want to remain true to your foundation and style without getting repetitive.
"So doing a video edit for Poetic gives me the same satisfaction as working on my own art."
Flatspot: Throughout your collections, graphics, colours, stills and videos, Poetic has a honed and sculpted feel. Being the busy chap you are (I read that you’re a museum curator), do you still find time for your art, or do you think the brand has become your long term creative endeavour?
Tom: Time is scarce and in many ways the brand has as you say become my long term creative endeavour. In the beginning that stressed me out but with time I have realized that for me it is about the feel of creating something, whether that is a graphic a painting or a video. So doing a video edit for Poetic gives me the same satisfaction as working on my own art. Or maybe the videos and graphics are my art now?
"In the summer I spend a lot of time filming and shooting photos [...] sometimes I need to sneak away for a sesh at the local plaza svampen!"
Flatspot: Summer’s coming - the Swedish scene is coming to life again, right? How does your schedule differentiate from winter to summer?
Tom: My summer schedule is definitely a lot different from my winter schedule. The crazy thing is that I almost skate more myself in winter in the indoor park, the routine then is just work then head to the park. In the summer I spend a lot of time filming and shooting photos of the team which is great, although sometimes I need to sneak away for a sesh at the local plaza svampen!
Flatspot: What’s next for Poetic? Your videos released through Transworld are great, should we expect more in the future?
Tom: Thank you! Really appreciate that! Yes definitely! We are working on a longer project right now. Last year we did a lot of smaller clips from trips, this summer we are working on something more along the lines of a promo video and it is coming along really good. It feels nice to give something a bit more time.
Flatspot: I always enjoy the artist quotes in your work, could you leave us with some words of wisdom?
Tom: “I believe that the most important single thing, beyond creativity and discipline is daring to dare.” - Maya Angelou
Flatspot: Thanks for chatting with us, Tom. All the best.
Shop Poetic Collective at Flatspot.