By Cameron Rubner
Jason Dill is not only one of my all time favorite skateboarders but also one of my favorite people.
Growing up in the 2000s, I’d watch his skate parts with my older brothers. He always looked somewhat deranged. With messy, curly hair, he often wore outrageous outfits like capris, wife beaters, knee high socks and bright silver shoes. His tricks weren’t always the craziest, but they were always the most tasteful and clean.
As I got older, I fell in love with his brand, Fucking Awesome (FA). I watched the skate videos, bought the brand’s clothes, and hung its boards on my wall.
Jason Dill and his creations mean a lot to me and by the amount of people that came to watch him speak, I know he means the same to many others.
When I heard he was coming to speak at ASU, I really didn’t understand why he was coming here, but I was nonetheless ecstatic.
A couple of friends and I got to the lecture hall an hour and a half early to ensure we got the best seats at Dill’s free and limited space event — we could not afford to get a bad spot.
When we got there, there were already some kids cooling near the back of the hall, alongside Jason Dill and FA’s co-creator, Mike Pisctelli.
I’m not going to lie, I was starstruck. I mean I showed up to the event wearing a shirt with his face on it. One of my friends went right up to him, asking, “What’s up?”
Despite my nerves from the old saying, “never meet your idols,” Dill was as chill as ever. You never want to find someone whose skate parts you’ve watched, clothes you’ve bought and art you’ve appreciated, is a dick in real life.
I was wearing a pair of FA neon green vans that came out in 2012 in a pack of three color-ways and a FA Jason Dill class photo tee. My other friend was wearing a FA tee and a pair of Vans Dill had designed in 2015 — I let them borrow the shoes just for the event.
After Dill saw our outfits he told us, “Wow, you guys are wearing some of my greatest hits.”
I told him I collected two colorways out of the three over the years and was still looking for the very rare red and gold pair. He told me he had kept one pair of those shoes and gave the rest to rapper, Earl Sweatshirt.
Dill signed my flyer from the event and I took a picture with him.
One thing I learned was Dill is a very respectful guy if you’re respectful to him. Another friend I was with asked Dill why he chose ASU to speak instead of any other school. He responded, “They asked me to come here. You think I asked them to come here?”
He told my friend that this whole thing happened by pure chance. Dill was sitting at a bar in Pasadena reading a book when a ASU professor approached him and asked what book he was reading.
After Dill replied Black Boy by Richard Wright, she complimented his clothes, and Dill responded that he designed them. She was so impressed she asked him to speak at the university she worked at.
We talked to Dill before he started his lecture as he was trying to figure out the timing of his skate clip. Being a bit of a perfectionist, he told his assistant, “Let’s take it back, pause it completely. I don’t want to repeat myself at all with this, so please let’s make sure we’re all on the same page with this.”
When it was time to start, Dill was seemingly nervous. Someone who’s been through so much in 43 years most likely has a lot to say, and I understand it might be hard to figure out where to begin.
He started off with, “The world is deceptive, in this time. There’s so much going on I wouldn’t blame any of you for just staying in bed and saying ‘fuck everything’… But you’re here listening to a high school dropout speak at a university.”
Before diving into a slideshow of pictures he took, he told everyone he wanted to show us what he said was the greatest skateboard trick he’s ever done.
No it wasn’t some technical grind or a trick over a large set of stairs but a brutal slam after he slipped out of a 50-50 grind, after he fell, you can hear the filmer say, “You’re still alive?” To Dill, he said this clip “perfectly sums up my life, my career, everything I’ve ever done,”
After a slight problem with making his slideshow go full screen, Dill presented a bunch of pictures he had taken over the years.
He said he’ll never take photos again like the one he showed because the world that the photos were taken doesn’t exist anymore. And the man who took the photos also doesn’t exist.
Dill said he had spent ten years of his life at bars getting “fucked up.” While he did admit it was a good time, he regrets it.
One of his main talking points was that it doesn’t matter if someone else thinks the art you make or the pictures you take are “bad” to other people because they mean something completely different to you.
When showing a picture of the legendary, late, skateboarder, Dylan Rieder he said after someone important in your life leaves, the memories you’ve made with them and the pictures you took take on a whole new meaning.
“Don’t go chasing shitty relationships,” was something that he wanted to drill into the audience’s heads. “If your friends suck, you suck. If your friends are sitting around vaping all day and listening to Lil Xan, they fucking suck, you can be so much more than all that.”
When showing pictures of his paintings he said everybody should paint, “Painting can really really help you figure out what you’re good at.”
Books and reading came up a lot during his lecture, “You have to read books, reading can help you with everything you do.” Dill expressed a negative attitude towards spending a lot of time on your phone and the internet.
He said there’s so many other things that we could be doing, writing, reading, creating, and making the most out of the time throughout the day instead of looking at a screen.
After showing a picture of himself in his living room with pictures sprawled across the floor he said, “to me you’re not making good shit unless your living room looks like that,” that’s where all the ideas for Fucking Awesome stemmed from. Imagery, imagery, imagery, he stressed. Nothing off the glowing screen.
One thing that Dill said that he’d seen a lot in his life was violence.
He had witnessed a man get his throat slit and a man bloodied and mangled underneath a New York City cab. But one violent act that Jason Dill saw with his own eyes not only changed him, but also changed the course of history.
The 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks. An image of a 20 something your old Jason Dill with the twin towers smoking behind him was projected on the screen.
Dill emphasized that you never know what’s going to happen in life and because of it, Mike and Dill decided Fucking Awesome was going to happen.
Fucking Awesome opened it’s first store in Los Angeles in 2019. A piece of decor that sticks out in the store is a police car on top of the ceiling. Dill said, “Why is there a cop car on the ceiling? That’s the question I get all of the time… Anything’s possible! Holy fuck why’d you put that cop car on the ceiling? Because anything is possible!”
What makes Fucking Awesome and Jason Dill so great is that they truly care about what they make and the people that buy it, it’s not for the paycheck.
It’s for the kids and the skaters that wear the clothes and ride the boards.
“When you have a company that young people, like yourself, at the level that you do, it’s my responsibility to make sure you guys know that I’m putting everything I can into this. Cause the world’s fucked, If I make you guys happy, well I go to bed and I’m like well they liked it. It’s not that bad out there,” Dill said.
After his lecture ended, Dill took 15 minutes for a Q&A.
During which things got a little heated when someone couldn’t wait their turn to ask a question.
They blurted from the crowd, “Why’d you leave Alien Workshop?” (Dill’s old skateboard sponsor). He responded, “Excuse me, sir, we have an organized event going on if you’d like to stay in your seat-” before he could finish the objector said, “I’m just asking a question,” “You can actually shut the fuck up… Why don’t you take your polar shirt and get the fuck out,” Dill responded (which made me laugh very hard).
After the event was over Dill stayed on campus to sign autographs, take pictures and talk with attendees.
I took the opportunity to get my Fucking Awesome Jason Dill class photo signed and a pair of my Jason Dill vans syndicate’s from 2015.
When he signed my shirt that features a picture of an early teenage version of himself I asked him what he would say to the boy on my shirt if he could talk to him now.
In which he replied, “He has no idea.”
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