Daisy by Colton Abernathy
Kyler Garrison boadslide to fakie manny with Colton filming. Photo: Isaac Randozzi
Interview by Isaac Randozzi, photos by Alec Chuvarsky and Colton Abernathy
Colton is one of those kids that always has his camera on him. Always ready to get something good and never complains about how long it might take. Not boisterous or a hype-man in the regular sense. His enthusiasm of a well landed trick or line is subdued but beaming with a wide smile and nodding head. Over the past couple of years his style of filming and editing have matured and become something unique. Maybe it’s all the reefer smoke in the Colorado air or radiation from the uranium mines that litter the front range. Either way, the guy has a drippy editing style that is almost David Lynchian in obscurity and reminiscent of channel surfing at 3am on a TV without cable after eating a pot brownie the size of your first. But that is over simplifying that work he does. There is thought and craft in his work and daisy is a culmination of sorts. Of his editing and of the Covidian times we live in, sketchy and blended together day after day. But in these ten minutes, there is stoke and some great to be seen.
I’m twenty-three years old and I’ve been filming since I was probably twelve years old.
Twelve is when you got your first camera?
I think so, I started off using a little digital point-and-shoot camera my mom had stuck in a drawer at the house. I ended up taking it to a skate park and just filming my friends and stuff. Making stupid stuff, park montages and kid stuff. Got more involved with the local scene here in Denver over the years and started taking film making more serious around 16 when I got a car and all that.
Where you filming friends and whoever was around?
Yeah, always film my friends. I grew up with a solid crew of close friends in Boulder. On my own time I was doing a lot of work with Crisis skate shop which was the shop up in Broomfield. With Jeremy at Crisis we put out 2 full length videos. The shop closed down in 2018 and since then I’ve just been finding out where I fit in because I want to keep doing more video work and stuff. With these dudes, it was just a natural fit once I started hanging out with them more.
How long have you and your crew been doing stuff with and for Emage?
These guys have been doing stuff for a while now, Kyler’s video ‘insured’ dropped last year I know they had been working on that for a while, I started to come around right when he was finishing up that project. Within this last year Kyler, Valen and I have been out filming as much as possible. As footage started to accumulate it only made sense to work on a project with Brendan at Emage.
They are a productive and positive crew.
Yeah, it’s been awesome. To be honest the entire crew has a lot of interests and time dedicated outside of just skateboarding. It’s always motivating to see the dudes doing they’re art or music or whatever else people are stoked on. It definitely is positive energy.
Why the name daisy?
There is not really much of a meaning, I wish there was. I kind of just go with the first word that pops in my head for my edits. A lot of my edits are just one-word titles. I think my first idea was innocent for whatever reason or something along those lines. Then the word daisy just kinda worked. We had the idea that we wanted to do a zine with the project and once we had that title it sparked a lot of imagery to work with.
So it was a situation where the title helped to solidify the other aspects the project?
Yeah, it tied it all together I feel.
Why a limited YouTube premiere?
Mostly because of Covid we didn’t want to do an event type thing. So the online premiere made the most sense. The video is QR coded into the zine. So lets say someone picks up the zine in two or three years and they flip to the last page they can scan that code and go watch it. It was our way to give people a reason to go back and re-watch something.
When did you cats started filming for this and was it always intended to be a video, zine and clothing project?
For the last three or four years I’ve always had the idea to do a zine with a video project but I was never sure how to do it. Once I started working with these guys, they have a lot of creative minds so it was very easy to work with everybody and collaborate. All I really had to worry about was making the video up to my standards. Kyler and Greg did just about all the art work for the clothing and zine. Alec Chuvarsky contributed a long of really great photos, and Grant Corrigan inspired the layout and feel for the zine. I think it came out awesome and it was the best way to incorporate everybody that was a part of it.
You collaborated with your longtime friends Kyler and Alec on this, how was the process?
It was awesome, it helped me a lot. It took a lot of the creative stress, when you work by yourself you are kind of in your own head about it. Working with people that are like-minded and have similar ideas of what’s cool and what’s not, really helps with confidence in what you’re doing. Also we can just throw around ideas all day and see what sticks. It’s nice having talented friends.
What drew you to that sketchy analog tape vibe elements and why have you kept using it? You’ve utilized it a lot of different ways, from transitions between tricks to making a two and a half minute edit, Glitch that had the same digital blemish in each clip.
I wish I could pinpoint it exactly, I know using the hi-8 camera since I was a kid because I wanted super-8 b-roll but I couldn’t afford the film and the processing and all that. So my route was the hi-8 camera, for years now. I don’t know, I guess that just evolved into a style. And that edit you mentioned, Glitch was at a point in time where my VX camera was just glitched, everything I filmed was almost unusable, there were some clips that came out OK but the majority of it was all just trashed. I still wanted to use that footage so I did and there was kind of a good reaction, people they didn’t mind the sketchy look, not as much as I thought they would. So it evolved from using the hi-8 to also playing with these glitches and learning how to transfer the mini DV to the hi-8, all analog style and that’s one side of the editing that I really really enjoy.
Were you influenced by the early Bronze and Palace edits?
I definitely was a fan of all that stuff but I’m not sure how much it influenced me. To be honest a lot of the Matt King videos influenced me as a kid, his video ‘hoephase’ I particular, super unique, almost a horror movie is what he makes. Super crazy but as a kid that’s what influenced me, it’s absolutely ridiculous editing-wise and insane ideas that shouldn’t have been played with. Over time I realized I’m just a fan of skating and I watch almost everything. I’m probably influenced by it all more than I realize, but think I draw my inspiration from different places outside of skateboarding.
How long was the editing process on daisy? It looked like it a lot of layers and elements to it.
Yeah, the timeline was crazy layered. I had parts and sections of it edited six months ago and it was really finding songs and figuring out how to blend them, that took the most time. Within the last month before the deadline I just took all the time I could off work and spent everyday editing. It was a lot of time, maybe a bit unnecessary but that’s what I like to do. Obsess over that weird little part in the edit. When it’s your craft you love it and like to get deep into it.
What cameras did you use?
A VX and the hi-8, a Sony. Nothing special, seen a million of them at thrift stores. It’s one of the cameras I got out of my mom’s attic and I’ve used since I was a kid. My buddy Grant hooked me up with a tape deck he found somewhere. That’s how I was able to do all of the editing/glitching and stuff. I ran the VX footage through the hi-8 to get the glitch effects.
You grew up in an age with a lot of digital options available, why keep using the VX1000 and hi-8? The tech is older than you are.
[Laughter] Yeah, for sure. That’s a question I still ask myself all the time. Because it’s probably time to go digital and get a nice crisp look to my edits but something about the analog. I feel that the slowing down of the process, having to capture these tapes is part of what I enjoy. I did film HD for some years but it got boring for me because I just didn’t have any passion towards it. But I think that’s going to have to change soon because the market for the VX stuff is just getting ridiculous.
How many have you gone through?
I’ve gone through four and yeah they are getting harder and harder to find and the fish-eyes are the real problem. I’ve had a few of those too.
Did you have any problems filming during the lockdown?
At first during the lockdown I was a little nervous to be honest. At the beginning I wasn’t going out too often. I kind of locked myself in for a while. Some of the other dudes were still out skating still doing it but being distant, safe, just skating. After a while I got out there and filmed with them, might as well if they are out there. Once I got out, it was the best time to be out filming.
Were you able to hit spots that were normally a bust?
Yeah, a lot of the spots that were a bust were a lot easier to skate not completely clear but easier to skate. I think even the cops mellowed out a lot. Maybe with all the other stuff going on maybe the cops pushed skaters to the bottom of their priority list. I don’t think they were paying much attention to the calls they got about skaters. The last couple months skating downtown has been pretty easy, it hasn’t been a struggle during the lockdown and everything. As long as you are smart about it.
Was daisy filmed just in Denver?
We did take one trip down to Santa Fe, New Mexico so there are a couple clips from out there. Also some of the dudes took a trip to Salt Lake City. Mostly Denver, some Boulder is in there but pretty much all Denver.
Was this the longest edit you’ve made?
No, I’ve made full-length videos in the past. With everyone’s attention span these days I try and fit a lot of stuff in during a short amount of time. I was aiming for the ten-minute mark the whole time and trimmed off a lot of footage that could have been used.
How long have you been a fan of DJ Screw?
During this whole quarantine/lockdown that’s all Kyler Valen and I have been listening to. I’ve been a fan of that stuff since a friend of mine, who wasn’t a skater just a music head had put me onto it in highschool. But it was something we had been listening to during the whole filming process and so I wanted to use that music in particular. For the most part they are instrumental because I didn’t want to step on the toes of the Texas scene, if that makes sense. Those lyrics are very Huston influenced.
Did you layout the zine in physical form first, or on the computer first? A little bit of both?
Mostly we did it physically, I got a print of pretty much everything we had made and a couple of us – me, Kyler and Grant who is in the video as well we all sat down and layed out a couple pages. We had our buddy Greg do some airbrush work for the zine and he would come through and whatever ideas he had he would add some of his work to it. So it was just a big collaboration that was done mostly physically, not a lot was done digitally. There was a lot of scanning and printing, scanning and printing during the process.
Now that you are done with this project, what’s next? Do you want to do something more focused? Another project for Emage? Keep it with the ten-minute edits?
I don’t know, hard to say. Doing a full length, to me isn’t worth it as a film-maker. Maybe if I was working for a company getting some sort of paycheck but as an independent film-maker I think it’s just a dream to do that at this point. If I do anything of some length it’ll be shorter projects like this one. And shorter pieces for Emage, social media teasers and stuff that helps the shop.
How many of the Emage/Nike edits have you and Kyler done?
That’s a good question, definitely over six and we have plans to do more. We pick and choose what shoes we want to do a video for. Whenever we have an idea we want to hop on it and we want it to be fresh, maybe not even have nothing to do with skateboarding. Some of the random commercials we have done with no skating has been most well received. No one wants to see the same advertisement over and over again.
How long does it take you to make them from start to finish?
Those ones are pretty quick. If we go out filming and we have a plan of what we want to do I can usually get the edit done within a few hours. Some of those edits I’ve pumped out in a day, a few hours sometimes. We’ve gotten it down pretty well because Kyler and I work quite a bit on projects outside of skateboarding so we’re able to work something out quick if we want to.
Any last words, thank you’s or FU’s?
Some thank-yous for sure – Brendan Reimers, Emmett, Shylo, Adam, all the dudes at Emage. Thank you to Alec Chuvarzky, Greg Palena, Grant Corrigan for the help on the project. Thank you Will and Max Garson my favorite family. Thank you Kyler Garrison and Valen Sabin for your hard work. Thank you Grant Thomas and Jeremy Frankovis for your help and inspiration over the years. Thank you Issac and Josh, and everyone else that was apart of this project or Emage in anyway. And I guess FU’s to anyone who isn’t down for the shop or my friends.
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yal needa post edit, obnoxious amount of typos in this but other than that good read! loved daisy and wish dude the best!