Jonas Sars is a skater I know. Well, maybe not, because he lives on the other side of the country and I still have to find a good via via via via connection. He lives in Eindhoven, and is the son of Essay #4 graduate Jeroen Sars, and somehow, Jonas is super productive. I like productive people; they have something to say and that’s always welcome in a magazine like this. The word “productive” was only invented sometime last century, around the time of the wars, if I remember well. Not that I’m this old, I heard about it during a podcast.
Skateboarding and being productive is a weird combination. Because productivity is about making things and selling things, with real valuta, statistics, targets, the whole deal. But as a skater, you’re productive because you do one thing for a thousand times, you’re mate films this thing a thousand times, and if you do a thing fifty thousand times, you might have a video part. The more video parts you film, the more productive you look.
But when you don’t skate to be productive, you skate to skate. And that’s what it should all be about, right?
Intro, interview & outro by Sander Rodenhuis, photography by Jonas Sars. This interview was originally published in issue #11.
Let’s start with the easy question: who are you, what do you do?
My name is Jonas Sars, I’m a skater/filmer/photographer/animator from Eindhoven.
I could better ask: what do you not do? You made a full-length video of almost two hours, you illustrate a lot, I’ve seen a music video, I bet you can skate and then you also shoot the photos for this interview. Are you ever not doing something? Why do you do so much?
I can’t explain. I just love to do things and make a lot. Whenever I’m not doing anything, I’ll probably be watching films or skate videos. I’m a big movie fan and collector.
As a person living in the north of the country, I’m not super familiar with the skate scenes below the rivers. I know Limburg sucks to ride a bike, and Eindhoven is home of the biggest rival of my favourite football club. That’s about it. What’s the scene in Eindhoven like compared to the rest of the country?
As far as I’m concerned, the scene isn’t really connected to the rest of the country. Of course a lot of skaters from different cities know each other but every city or town has their own specific scene with their own style. There’s also a lot of traveling around to go to other places to skate.
I have the idea that skaters in Eindhoven have their completely own style, where the influence of brands like the DLX umbrella is bigger than the growth of skaters with Big Boy pants. How do you see this yourself?
I have the idea that everyone has their own thing, there’s not one definitive style, in terms of skating and what people look like.
Your father is Jeroen Sars, a legend in the Dutch scene, but for you he’s your father. What’s that like? Was there ever the option to be a professional football player?
Of course he’s just my father, but also a skateboard encyclopedia, and a friend to skate with, and someone to watch and discuss skateboard videos with. That’s sick! I grew up in between skaters and skating itself, so there was no hiding from it. I never wanted to either because I always found it so sick. While growing up I found multiple hobbies: drawing, making movies, music, this was all in full support of my family. I never stopped doing those things. My brother and little sister are a bit less active when it comes to skating, they do more of their own stuff which is totally fine.
Before this interview, you had to prepare for your school exams. What are you going to do after school? Do you have the patience for even more school desks?
I plan on not going on with school but putting all my time into my own projects. In terms of skating I will be busy for the coming time but eventually, I want to focus on stop motion animation.
Are you regretting doing this interview already?
Haha no, I feel honoured.
Which skater do you have the most footage of?
Sjoerd Vissers, the first day I skated with him he got seven tricks that would have been the ender in my part, and that was only the beginning. Sjoerd continues to amaze me in terms of his abilities and how little he cares about shitty surfaces, run-ups and those things.
Sjoerd Vissers is a pretty well-known name for most Dutch skaters, who else are having a good time in Eindhoven lately?
There’s so many doing good things, skaters that I filmed a lot with, and think are really sick are Jort Wester, Jasper Tromp, Boet Hezemans and Max de Wit.
What’s the ground in Eindhoven like? Does it dry quickly?
Lately, it’s been really wet outside. When the weather is like this I stay inside to edit, but most skaters go to the piazza, a covered flatground spot.
I feel like you can have a strong opinion about videos. What do you like, and what is the last thing you saw where you thought: “this is bullshit!”?
It’s hard to say what I specifically like, a good part for me is when the skating, the filming, editing, B-shots and mostly the music come together in a good way, but on the other side Neil Blender in G&S “Footage” doesn’t have any music combined with simple editing, so it’s hard to say.
My favourite videos: Video Days, Memory Screen, Mouse, Fucktards, Dè Denk, Man Down, Bag of Sucj, Love Child. More recent videos I liked are Call me 917, and GX Roll Up. There are so many good videos that I can go on for a while.
On to the hate! What I can’t stand is how it seems that lately, people only film long lens and can’t stop touching the zoom button. It’s like every long lens clip is zoomed into the face, then a closeup of the feet and board during the trick, and when the person lands you go back up to the face. That’s how you don’t really see the spots, and you get no idea what the whole bodily movement of the skater is. You get no feeling of the style of the skater.
You shot the photos for this article as well. How’s your back, how heavy is your camera bag?
My back is still alive, but it’s had to endure a lot by now. On my most packed day I bring my digital 8 camera with extra tapes and batteries, my super 8 or 16mm camera, my photo camera with two lenses, a few cans of cola, a few packages of Wicky and some biscuits. When I’m on the bike I can throw the bag in my basket, but when we’re in a different city and we’re skating from spot to spot it gets really heavy after a while. Occasionally I can get someone to carry a camera for me. But I’m not complaining, you must put in the effort for it.
Global III, I think your last full-length video, is over an hour and a half, and the book you made with it was a fat one as well. Why is everything so long and big?
I don’t get the same satisfaction from a short and fast video, even though I make those in between big projects because I like to release new things. I always want to put my all into a project and push myself to learn new things. You can do that with shorter videos, but I like to work towards something big, and that’s where I get the idea that I personally did my best and really gave it my full efforts.
In the beginning of Global III there’s a few minutes with only Stadhuisplein footage. How important is this place for you? Or do you prefer not to stay there too long, before the session gets out of hand?
It’s a nice place to meet up and warm up, because there is always someone around. I do like to go to street spots the most, and just going somewhere and seeing what you can find. There are still enough days where I would like to do that, and we still end up at Stadhuisplein for the whole day. Those are the days where I hate the place, haha.
“Wajow”. Is this the best word to describe skating in Eindhoven?
Ha, I think that’s more my word for when I’m really hyped.
From which band, movies, artists, whatever do you get your inspiration? I always hate the word inspiration and think motivation sounds better. Maybe you feel like this too, that you see something and want to do something similar instantly. So, motivation. What motivates you?
There’s a lot of things that motivate me to do and make things. Specific examples are photobooks by Ed Templeton and Larry Clark, or Japanese movies of, for example, Takashi Miike, Shinya Tsukamoto and Takeshi Kitano. Troma and South Park are great. I also like to listen to a lot of different music, especially jazz music like John Coltrane or Thelonious gets me hyped. There are so many things that motivate me that I can go on for hours.
I think we can all go on for hours. It doesn’t matter what we do. I can go on for hours correcting this text, rewriting, finding a new place for my shitty knees to fit under my desk. The sun is shining, and I want to skate for hours on end, finding a place I haven’t done a shitty boardslide or a stylish slappy grind, I want to inspect the marks on my trucks and board, I want to see how many hours it takes before the graphic becomes something else. What more can you ask for?