web analytics
  • NOW SHOWING

    Iconic artist Craig R. Stecyk loves to create while capturing the moment.

    Story — Imani Lanier
    Images — Hideo Oida

    Craig R. Stecyk III has a muse and her name is now. Over the past few decades, he has tirelessly chronicled the Southern California surf and skate lifestyle through his photography and film. But, instead of getting caught up in his own creative process, he prefers to focus on capturing the moment exactly as it happens. For him, it’s as simple as point and shoot.

    At the moment, this iconic artist (best known for creating the Rat Bones logo used by the Bones Brigade in the ’80s) is putting the finishing touches on his new short film Fin, an unassuming record of his daily creative life and those that inspire and drive him to produce new work. The film’s cast of characters include Von Dutch, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Evel Knievel, Dave Sweet, Julian Ness, Tom Blake, Dale Velzy, Tyler Hatzikian, Scott Anderson, Mitch Abshere, Scotty Stopnik, Mike Ness and Roland Sands.FIN investigates artisan garage culture,” states Stecyk. “It offers insight into an assortment of individuals who incorporate traditional do-it-yourself garage methodology into differing pursuits such as traditional modified vehicles, surfboards, skateboards, art, music and communications.”

  • Dog days: A younger Stecyk (left) with Stacy Peralta

  • Still from Stecyk's 'Fin'

  • Still from Stecyk's 'Fin'

  • As he’s quick to point out, Fin is a natural extension of how he began shooting in the first place. Growing up in a humble yet creative household in Ocean Park, California, his father who was also a photographer influenced him to begin working in film at an early age. He began looking for military surplus cameras and dead stock film knowing that he could purchase the equipment cheaply enough. He ended up purchasing a 35mm movie camera and all of a sudden young Stecyk was making movies. He still owns the same camera and still shoots with it from time to time.

    Then, he began to repurpose found objects and create art that was inspired by his oceanfront surroundings. It fostered a DIY mentality founded in necessity and very little room for luxury. “Whatever floated up was yours if you caught it,” says Stecyk. “It was the law of the sea.”

  • Still from Stecyk's 'Fin'

  • Still from Stecyk's 'Fin'

  • All throughout his childhood, he was constantly surrounded by surf, skate, hot rod and motorcycle culture. He’s been an integral part of ride culture from its inception. So it was a natural progression for him to pick up his first Honeywell Pentax camera and document his beloved beach community. “I was so fascinated with what was going on around me I didn’t want to leave. I was afraid I was going to miss something.”

    Later, he wanted to know how surfboards and skateboards were made so he began documenting it. He also became partners alongside Jeff Ho and Skip Engblom in the infamous Zephyr Surf Shop that spawned Tony Alva, Stacey Peralta, Jay Adams and the rest of the Z-Boys. Through shaping surfboards, he befriended Bob Hurley and they still shape together to this day. No matter what he’s doing, Stecyk’s passionate about being directly involved in the culture he loves. He strives to challenge himself and others around him in what this lifestyle is all about.

  • Still from Stecyk's 'Fin'

  • Still from Stecyk's 'Fin'

  • In essence, Fin is the culmination of Stecyk’s lifetime love affair with ride culture. As the story of its inception goes, he was crashing at Hurley Art Director Jason Maloney’s studio at Hurley HQ in Costa Mesa, California. Maloney woke Stecyk up and told him he should make a movie about what he does every single day. “Because I was just there sleeping I needed something to do apparently,” he laughs.

    Right then, the two who have know each other for years decided to collaborate together on a film project that would organically document Stecyk’s creative journey and the people he spends time with. Topics range from racing motorcycles at 350 mph to building a custom ’52 Ford in the middle of a surfboard-shaping room. Anything is fair game.

  • Still from Stecyk's 'Fin'

  • Still from Stecyk's 'Fin'

  • Still from Stecyk's 'Fin'

  • In order to get inspired while shooting the film, the guys hopping in the car and headed north up the I-5 to San Francisco. While on the road, they stopped off at the Golden Gate Bridge, Redwood Nation Park and everywhere in-between capturing images and executing their vision. As Maloney explains, the whole process over the past three months has been an organic one. “Collaborating with Craig has helped me to step outside my usual creative process and opened me up to a free and organic way of creating. I’ve become very accepting of the ‘happy accident.’” It’s been a great learning experience for me.”

    As for Stecyk, when prompted, he jokes about the underlying message of the film. “Buy American”, he snickers. After a slight pause, he goes on to say that ultimately there is no message: “The film’s just about people interacting; it’s about communication and the commonality of it all.”

    Watch our exclusive Craig Stecyk Fin interview here