One of our favorite subgenres in modern skateboarding is “spot deconstruction”. It is a made up term that describes video which is centered around one spot. Of course there’s been a lot of videos centered around one spot, but the “deconstruction” aspect means that you not only skate one spot but also come up with new ways how to skate it.
Spots obviously have default ways of skating them. Ledges ask for ledges lines. Stair sets require some jumping. “Spot deconstruction” involves doing something new, and, probably, is the most wholesome when a spot has been around for a while. It must wear skaters out, so they start to seek for some new options.
The spot in question today is Saint-Peterburg’s Skripka. Local skater, Vova Pavlov recently made an edit dedicated to that spot. We asked Vova some questions about the spot, the concept of the video and his brand Gizn (Жизнъ – eng. life).
Could you please introduce yourself?
Sulut! I am Vova Pavlov. Friends call me Palich. I was born and raised in the north of Russia in a city called Polyarnye Zori, Murmanskaja oblast. Since 2010 I have been living in Saint-Petersburgh. Been skating since 2005.
I remember you from Absurd skateboards videos. You would always skate in those, but now you are a filmer. How did that came about?
That’s right. This spring it will be 10 years since I joined Absurd as a rider. I have always been into the process of video making. However, it was until very recently that I have tried it myself, I’d say a few years ago. When I was younger all I wanted to do is skate and I was completely focused on that. From time to time I had a feeling that I needed something more than skating to be happy. Skating was feeling a bit boring even. Around 2018-2019 I had a couple of injuries that put me out from skating. In autumn of 2019 I came across an advert of friend Pasha Pinokio who was selling a VX that I eventually bought. Let’s not go in depth about the skate video culture and which videos inspired me. I’d rather talk about this in the kitchen with a cold one. I always valued filmers highly for their enthusiasm and nerves of steel. During my years of skating I had a chance to film with almost all of the best Russian skate filmers. And only after I bought my own camera I realized how physically hard filming can be. Try to film a fisheye line of your homie for a few hours. This actually takes a lot of energy. So after that I started to value filmers even higher.
Tell about Gizn.
My first debut was a funky home video of a trip to my homeland together with my friends Juzik and Kokos. Actually, during that trip, our connection was born. That trip can be considered the starting point of our artistic union “Gizn” (from Russian – жизнь meaning life). The name was a joke at first. I used to comment this word under funny or unusual photos of my friends in Instagram. My friends liked it and wrote it back to me. So, that word would stay in my head. When I had to come up with a name for an Instagram account, it didn’t take long to come up with an idea. As a matter of fact, we do live our best lives skateboarding and traveling. Everything around us is life. And what’s coming later—only life will show.
Tell about the spot? What’s the story there and how did the video came about?
The Square of composer Andrey Petrov is an old well-known spot in Saint-Petersburg. A violin sculpture is standing in the square center, that is why we call this spot “skripka” (eng. violin). I have been skateboarding there since I moved to Saint-Petersburgh. The idea to make a video about the spot belongs to Zhenya Nikolaev. He once said that the potential of that spot has not yet been fully explored and that it would be possible to make a full edit about it and set it to the music of the composer. Well, as it is usually goes, the idea never got to implementation.
Earlier this year I got injured and ended in a hospital. Since there was no skating for me in the next couple month, I was thinking about possible video projects. While on the hospital bed, I remembered about our discussion with Zhenya about “skripka” and starter to study the biography of Andrey Petrov. After watching a couple documentaries about him, I decided to get right to filming after I get out of the hospital. In summer it is possible to end up at that spot a lot, so I decided to film anybody who would be down. Zhenya left to live in Moscow and didn’t take part in the video.That’s cool you dug into the history of the spot. Do you think is it important?
For starters I like history in general. It can be definitely useful for your view of the world to expand. Same can be applied to skateboarding. Knowledge is power.
Is there anything you want to show through your vids?
The best part of skateboarding is not achievement and titles, it’s process itself. And the more meaningful it is, the more pleasure and happiness it can bring you. Enjoy skating here and now with friends, and do not pursue vague values, because life is short!
Are you going to make Gizn merch?
At the moment we are working on something. Hopefully we will put it out soon.
Photos by: Andrey Vladimirov, Alexander Gorbunov and Vova Skribo Vladimir Pavlov.