"A willingness to push and suffer for their art as they search for fulfilment."
Some things are just like that because that’s the way they are
That has to rank as one of the dumber reasons we’ve heard for acceptance of why things are as they are. On the other hand, it’s one of the reasons why we’ve just made a film that’s taken us from the Arctic Circle to the US and to the South Pacific. What ‘things are just like that’ you might ask? Well chiefly the idea that riders, be their preference concrete, snow, surf, whatever are so different that they just don’t mix. Also, why is it that these guys are so easily dismissed by the mainstream as weird types who say ‘gnarly’ a lot when in fact so many of them are athletes, passionately driven people who can overcome the kinds of barriers that should surely endow them with a more noble status?
At Relentless, we’ve long struggled with the surface divisions and outsider status that to us just seem to miss the point. These ‘weird’ types are not weird. They are remarkable in the truest sense of the word. They are artists, no different in underlying attitude to each other and no different in attitude to the great artists of the past, across time and discipline. By artists we mean people driven to the point of obsession, determined to make their mark on the world, to pursue their goals with singular vision and to do so in ways that make the world a richer, more beautiful, more inspiring place for us all and in the process silence some of their own demons.
While there is a strong culture of film-making in action sports, because of these divisions and disconnections, it’s rare that one film can cross genres. It’s against the rules. But when there is a story to tell, a human journey to share and a resolution to learn from, the stylings and language, protocols and conventions all receded, fading into insignificance for all but the most ardent supporter of the ignorant status quo.
So, inspired by the insight that in the end, there is so much more that unites these seemingly isolated people, these artists who make our jaws drop when they push their own limits, it was clear that we had to tell the story.
In Renaissance Italy, a painter, sculptor and architect called Giorgio Vasari wrote a book because a Cardinal challenged him at a dinner party. ‘Lives of the Artists’ was conceived as a biography of the greatest artists of the time and earlier. What distinguishes this book from the dull tomes of art history is that it focussed not on the work of the artists but on their personalities. Through it we are given more than a glimpse into the hearts of men, propelled to by vision but volatile, selfish, violent, egotistical and in many more ways, unpleasant and totally uncompromising but capable of delivering to the world, sublime beauty that forgave all that turmoil.
And so our own contemporary Lives of The Artists project was born. If film is the richest medium for story-telling we have and the most dramatic way to capture and document the personalities and acts of our own contemporary ‘artists’ then the project had to be realised on film. One year on, many thousands of miles of travel to some of the most dangerous, remote, inspiring and romantic places on the planet, we’ve witnessed the light and dark sides of the artists personalities, been enriched by the performances we’ve seen and filmed and conclude that these guys, irrespective of differences in style and domain are unique yet still manage to be the same.
Currently putting the final touches to the edit, Lives of The Artists features freeride snowboarder Xavier de Le Rue in the incredible, untamed wilderness of Greenland before moving on to the World’s ‘most perfect’ wave, a simply awesome force of nature; Teahupoo in Tahiti with big wave surfers Tom Lowe and Fergal Smith, along with photographer Mickey Smith. Finally we get under the skin of an abrasive and dramatic tour across the US with British hardcore punk band Gallows.
Three diverse domains, with a collection of seemingly diverse personalities but all united by uncompromising integrity, and a willingness to push and suffer for their art as they search for fulfillment.
We can only watch, absorb and learn.