Monday, September 6, 2010

Profile on OTW Advocate Dimitri Coste

Where were you born and where were you raised?

I was born and raised in Chatou which is about five miles west of Paris in the suburbs. Chatou is known for their "Impressionists' Island," which is a tiny island on the Seine river where famous impressionists painters of the 19th century used to come and paint. The place is well known because Monet, Renoir, Sisley used to come and paint the movements of the Seine River in the late 1860's. This is where Pierre Auguste Renoir painted the famous "Dejeuner des Canotiers."

Pierre Auguste Renoir - "Dejeuner des Canotiers"

In the late '30's, Emile Pathe built a gigantic record factory in Chatou. They eventually produced up to twenty million records a year. Their clients were Columbia, Capitol and MGM. In 1990 they decided to move to Germany. The huge factory was abandoned, and it ended up being one of our secret skate spots. When the factory closed, they left many things such as furniture. My buddies and I used to build some quarters to skate. What was good was that it was indoors so we could skate even if it was raining. The bad side is that the cops loved to chase us inside and to bring us back to the station. They would call our parents and tell them we were criminals because we skated in private property. Different place in the world and same ol' story (laughs).

What compels you to create?

It could be many different things ranging from my passions, to people, to the need of telling stories, or just the thrill of exploring something new. I get bored easily doing the same thing more than two times and I usually kill it the first time (laughs). Any new challenge is always very motivating and motivation is my V8.

Tell me about your photography, what motivated you to pick up the camera?

I never planned it, at first I wanted to be a writer. My Dad was a journalist and there was a camera at home. I just started to play with this camera and I finally became obsessed with images. I grew up trippin' on action images first, 80's motocross was my first thing. As far as I can remember, I was watching my father's MX mags at age five. I would spend winter days just watching over and over some crazy action shots. I was checking every detail such as riders' gears and riding positions. I never wanted to make such images I was more focused on the riders' styles, and I guess this can be seen in some of my fashion shots, the way small details and elements of style always matter to me.

My first photos where in the streets trying to capture some life scenes. I was 16 and I would walk all day in Paris with a 36 exposure film discovering the city and trying to catch a moment. I started to shoot action photos of my close friends, trying to make them look like they were in Thrasher or Transworld. Meeting people you respect is also a good motivation, and photography allows you to meet some very various and impressive people, the photo sometimes is just an excuse to share something with a character.

Who are you favorite photographers, what is it about their work that inspires you?

-Pat Boulland (RIP) for his legendary mx/sx images, he was dedicated to the sport and a real athlete in the action.

-Bob Osborn for his late 70's/early 80's BMX action photos. It traumatized me forever.

-Jean Paul Goude for his unique approach and incredible creativity.

-Philip Lorca Di Corcia. Such beautiful work, his lighting is very emotional.

-Guy Bourdin (RIP) a genius, a real artist. I loved his construction of graphic scenes, his weird sense of humour. The way he used colors and the fact that they were sometimes so mysterious tells so many stories.

-Miles Aldridge, he's incredibly sharp on everything : Style, make-up, poses, lighting and his work on colors.

-Yann Morvan. His portraiture work beyond thirty years is still raw, real and very captivating. He witnessed some crazy stuff and I respect him a lot.

-Helmut Newton (RIP). He was the man, he ruled his world. His work is just ubersexy and he seemed to enjoy it for many decades. That's important, you need to love it and have fun doing it.

-Ellen Von Unwerth. I love the way she makes look the girls she shoots.

-Xavier De Nauw. He's one of those guy who can frame it, who can make it happen anyhow, anywhere. A trooper and because he knows and loves music, his portraits of artists are always full of something.

There are so many: Jeff Wall, Glenn E Friedmann, Sebastien Meunier (RIP), William Eggleston, Gregory Crewdson, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Dingo, Lachapelle, William Klein, Terry Richardson, Cheyco Leidman, Guido Mocafico.

There is this bridge that I have noticed as of late of a cultural connection between Paris and Los Angeles, what with the music scene and even the fashion aesthetic. What's your thoughts on this trend?

I guess people in Paris would sometimes like to get some Cali coolness and craziness, while Californians may be craving for the cultural and style heritage we're known for. But I'm sure you can notice many bridges between many cities in the world; maybe in this case two opposites are facing each other, so it's natural they want to make out.

Name your top films.

-On Any Sunday
-Mad Max
-Vanishing Point
-Macadam Cow-Boy
-Two Lane Blacktop
-Easy Rider
-Up In Smoke
-Blue Velvet
-Ice Storm
-The Devil's rejects
-Requiem For A Dream
-Soy Cuba
-L'As Des As
-City Of God
-Night On Earth
-The Lampoon Vacations......

What do you do in your spare time?

I share it with my two kids and their hot mom. I race my vintage Brit bikes, it cleans the mess in my head in order to get better ideas. I invite my friends to share big BBQ's at The Cherry Palace, my HQ. I also try to develop more of my personal work, for me it's not easy for me to define the boundaries between work and spare time.

I feel most of the time so blessed to do this. I'm able to jump from one project to another; from a commissioned work, to an art project to a roadtrip, to building luminescent volumes, to rebuilding a vintage bmx, or just getting crazy looks for an original "Made in USA" Vans on ebay.

What are some of your favorite places to eat/drink in Paris?

Anahi 7 rue Volta - Super cool Argentinian restaurant, great vibe and great food.
Le Coffee Parisien- I hate the crowd but the taste of their burgers are worth it despite the douchebags who want to be seen there.
La Coquille - A small cool classic french bar. I usually go there the last friday of the month for L' Apéro Ruby where the music and the crowd is cool.
La Cloche D'Or - Good traditional cuisine, good meat and open 24hrs which is pretty rare in France.
La Durée - Ask for an ispahan. It's the shit!
La Favela Chic - For Brazilian fever festivities.
The Hot Dog booth croner of Rue du Roi de Sicile and Rue Vieille du Temple.

Any words of advice for those who yearn to create?

Go Big or Go Home.

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