<center>Jason Celaya of Welcome Skateboards</center>

Jason Celaya of Welcome Skateboards

Just drawing like crazy trying to get our next season ready. I grew up in Whittier, CA which is about 30min outside of Los Angeles. I was introduced to skating by a friend and from there, it was a combination of the local skate shop employees, Pipeline Skatepark and music that set up my ideas about skating.

I don’t think there was ever a definitive moment but i was not excited about the direction of skateboarding at the time. Welcome was more of a thing for me and my friends to make the ultimate skateboard company in our mind. I draw 99% of Welcome's artwork, we use some of Chris Miller’s old graphics on some of his boards.

I’ve drawn since i was a little kid but when i started Welcome i had not drawn a thing for years probably. I needed art and it was always a dream of mine to do skate graphics.

I am inspired by life experiences, music and pop culture, usually all mixed together.

I think one's personal and artistic expression it is one of the biggest things that makes skateboarding so special. At the end of the day that is what you are paying for when buying a board. Unfortunately I think the industry placed a bigger emphasis on marketing so much kids just don’t know the difference. Most of the time they are just slapping their picture on the same board you are buying from another brand.

We have our own shit that is unique to Welcome. We have a goal here to constantly evolve and top whatever we did the season before. We want to look back on what we did the year before and think it is rubbish.

I grew up riding shapely boards and it creates so much more excitement when setting up something different each time you get a new board. Its like reliving x-mas morning over and over. I wanted to make a board that makes you want to take pictures of it. I spend a lot of time on the performance side of each board before worrying about dialing in the aesthetics of it.

It's about making something great instead of following some formula that makes money. 

Music is huge in the art process, I’m listening to something every time I create, the video edits and probably even in our approach to skateboarding in general. We are like a band making records in my mind. We are trying to set up something right now where we do a board with a band that influences the company once a year going forward. We have the first band lined up just working out the details of what we want to do together.

I think the work progress, or DIY in general, is very different from what it looks like on the outside. The workload is way more intense than any job you can have traditionally. Rewarding? Absolutely. I guess the best thing about it is that we have absolutely no rules in what we are doing because we have no one to answer to but ourselves.

If I can dream it up, we can make it.

We're currently working on a UK/ Europe trip this summer, a lot of new product such as board shapes, graphics, and new pro riders. New video edits. We have really been into making interesting clothing over the last couple of years and we going a lot further with it this year.

Published: In Print Issue Nº 052017
Interview by Vice Lesley, Thinkbabymusic Collective
Photography © Alex Papke, Thrasher