Interview: Jason Celaya of Welcome Skateboards

We were stoked back in September to take stock of Welcome Skateboards for the first time, so good news that the American based brand have just released a really full Holiday pack of decks, long and short sleeve T-Shirts and some poppin' wheel packs. We took the opportunity to speak to Welcome's founder and chief engineer Jason Celaya about inspirations, observations and the occult.

flatspot: So we're psyched for another Welcome product drop, what's the story behind the 'Holiday Conjurings' collection? Jason: Nothing, its always just an evolution of what we are already doing. The goal is always to put out something better than the month previous. I was happy to intro some new graphics in this run. Flatspot: Looks like you've been dabbling with the occult? Jason: Well I am really into the supernatural and that will always lead you to some "occult"-themed information and imagery. That said, I am interested in all forms of beliefs and religions. Funny enough I think some of the witchcraft stuff is more routed in science than many of the popular religions of the planet. In the end, I believe in personal power and the continued, untapped evolution of the human species. Flatspot: Krampus is holding the collection together, it's a nice throwback to lead a collection around a character... was this deliberate? Jason: Not deliberate at all. Krampus is a holiday figure that we run all year long. Seemed appropriate to bring him front and center because of the time of year. If you have a chance to watch it, "Rare Exports" is a cool movie with Krampus in it. Flatspot: Nolan Johnson's rocking dog design is great, are you expecting more of the team to get creative? Jason: Our team is incredibly creative, but I drew that graphic, not Nolan. Nolan reminds me a little of Neil Blender and the rocking dog graphic is my favorite of NB’s. Nolan has his dog Lupe that he takes everywhere he goes so I incorporated that and it all sort of worked together. Nolan has done one of his graphics a while back and I am sure he will do another someday. Mango did the "No More I Love Yous" graphic and is working on another. Flatspot: Did we notice an Annie Lennox reference? Do you try and throw in a tip of the cap to stuff that inspires you? Jason: That was the Mango graphic and his reference. For me, what ever song brought the graphic out of me usually gets quoted. Flatspot: Speaking more broadly about Welcome, "Others take themselves seriously and not their products... we take our product seriously and not ourselves" - Thats refreshing, do you feel like the skate culture has become a little saturated? Jason: That comment was more based on the idea that a skateboard company should be more than a collection of riders, a logo, and the same exact board you can get from 100 other brands. I am blown away by how people get excited about brands that are no different from the next brand when it comes to product. Many riders don't even ride the boards the brands sell. Skaters have been manipulated by hired marketeers. We offer something better, unique and authentic. Flatspot: Do you feel that recently there has been a movement back towards a more independent skating scene? Are there scenes within scenes now? Jason: Yep, I think we've helped that along as well. I really only even watch independent skate videos now. Our entire roster is built from underground crews that epitomize skating for skating, not to become sports figures. The energy from these scenes is so much more exciting than anything skaters are being "sold". Flatspot: Is skateboarding still counter culture? Jason: We are doing our part to keep what was left and build it back up. Flatspot: What do you see as the tipping point in skateboarding's move to broader awareness culturally? Should bigger brands/retailers have a place in that market? Jason: Skaters have the power to vote with their dollars and determine what their culture will be. Unfortunately a lot of them don't care. Flatspot: What does inspire you outside of skating? Jason: With my art its always directly related to music, sometimes film. My family is a huge inspiration for me as well.