This series was written and created to give props to e-zines and the people who make them tick. Zines are about passion. They are labors of love, time-consuming and money-eating, made by friends for friends. They are a mercilessly and relentlessly DIY (do-it-yourself) pursuit.
Skatedork’s slogan, "Skateboarding For the Masses," is misleading. It’s a refreshing oasis from the boredom of corporate monoculture. It’s expertly designed, and poignantly and humorously written. It contains artful and accomplished skateboarding photography as well. The features are first rate, bursting with all the emotion and alienation and love and joy and freedom that skateboarding can give a rider. Skatedork is a rare window into the skater’s real life. This ‘zine is honest, poetically anarchic, and original in a sea of sameness.
So is its creator/writer/designer/producer. Steve Voss, a 21 year-old from Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, is far from a follower when it comes to his skating or the making of Skatedork. "Skateboarding alone at night is one of my favorite things. I also like driving long distances with my girlfriend and seeing different parts of the world. I’m very interested in subversive behavior, whether that be educating the security guard who kicks me out at the World Bank building on the evils of that group, or spray painting thoughtful phrases on DC sidewalks." Voss preaches skateboarding as an almost holy endeavor and he has an impressive passion for learning, reading and exploring anywhere his brain can take him.
Since1998, Voss has been producing Skatedork on the web, and he made the first printed issue six months later. "All ideals aside, I started the zine for myself, for purely egotistical reasons: I felt like I had something to say about skateboarding. I was also really tired with what I saw in mainstream skateboarding magazines. None of what’s in any of those magazines has any actual relevance to the average kid who skates. I want Skatedork to be a zine that people can relate to and that portrays skateboarding as the amazing experience that it is, and one that can change lives."
He started the zine doing everything himself, but time and quality work has paid off. "Through some persistence, I’ve received contributions (writing and photographs) from all over the world, though, ironically, my favorite and most prolific writer lives about two miles from my house."
Skateboarding, Revolution and Art
Although it’s a zine officially and wholly devoted to skateboarding, Skatedork is about much more. It’s more of an art magazine meets literary journal meets skateboarding zine. "I get inspired by a lot of things that have nothing to do with skateboarding, whether it be the layout of the zine, Cometbus, entirely written in capital letters, or the sarcastic statements that were spray painted on the marble at Martin Luther King Library in D.C. before it got torn down. It’s important to look for inspiration outside of what you’re doing."
Skatedork is a time-consuming and sometimes all-consuming process for Voss, but he’s rewarded often by great response from his readers. "Recently, things that have made me excited about getting another print issue of Skatedork out are Fugazi’s movie, Instrument, a little toy printing press I bought that prints all messy and beautifully, Rainer Maria Rilke’s writing, Adbusters magazine, and all the crazy (and money-wasting) things that you can do with Polaroid photography."
Voss’s goals for the future are just as admirable as his zine. "I’d like to break even on Skatedork, get better at taking photographs, improve my artistic ability, read a whole bunch of books sitting on my bookcase, figure out an interesting thing to do with all my broken skate decks, and sort out my thoughts on the relationship between skateboarding and revolutionary action so that I can write about that."
Skatedork’s latest printed issue (#4) is available at many quality skate shops, or by writing Steve Voss and enclosing a check for $2.00. His address is 221 Spring Ridge Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922.
For a more personal glimpse into Steve’s art and life, visit his personal website
Check out Skatedork on the web at www.skatedork.org.
Contribute to Steve Voss’s revolution. Send him your writing or photographs at firstname.lastname@example.org.