Meet Joaquin Carter, the man behind Generic Skateboards
How did you come up with the name?
The name is actually a jab at the skateboarding industry, which sounds way more harsh than it actually is. I saw that the industry was getting saturated with all these super generic skate brands popping up. I mean, you could guess their next move. Everything looked the same, so what if there was a company called Generic? I thought that would be kind of cynical and funny, but when it became real it kind of took a different turn.
What made you start Generic skateboards? How long have you been doing it?
The original idea was in high school, it was to do all knockoff graphics to make fun of everyone else doing knockoff graphics. The truth is, I love skateboarding and the skateboard industry, so I wanted to do something I was actually passionate about. I made sketches of board designs, then learned how to make mockups of the boards on the computer. I realized I could probably make this idea a reality. This was 2016, but I didn’t take the brand seriously until April 1st of 2017, when we had our first premiere.
What is your creative process?
There’s never a set creative process, but I do want there to be a punchline. Overall, It depends on what I’m feeling or what I’m into at the moment. I tend to be drawn to graphics that are funny, cynical, clever, or political statements.
What is your favorite skate brand?
My favorite brand is Rasta Libre, they had some of the first avant-garde graphics. I tried to find one of their boards for years, but they had already gone under. There’s too many brands and graphics to name off, but anything from Anti Hero is amazing. I’ve always loved and respected them as a brand. I also wanted to own the “Bad Babies” 101 Adam McNatt board. It plays towards dark humor and innocence with strong political and ideological statement. I think boards like that are a bit more honest and raw while being humorous at the same time.
Working on any future projects?
We’re always working on new stuff at the Generic camp, and there’s a lot I want to branch out to besides boards. Right now, I’m trying to start up an online magazine called Subradmag, short for Subliminal Radicals Magazine. It’s not based on skateboarding, but more about the culture around it. We want to highlight artists, work with creative people, put on events, write silly articles, write serious articles, etc.. Another idea is “the Generic Olympics”, an event jabbing at the idea of skateboarding being in the Olympics. We’ll see where everything goes, but I intend on doing the most I can, and look forward to working on future plans.
Do you have any favorite board designers? Why?
Mark McKee and Sean Cliver for sure. They were some of the first that made clever, in your face graphics during a time that was producing mostly mainstream or punk driven graphics. I think Todd Francis will always be my go to board designer, he has designed for AntiHero and Penthouse. I’ve always loved his sense of humor and how it translates perfectly on the boards. He is kind of the standard I set for everyone else. There are so many great artists in skateboarding, it’s so hard to pick just one. Fos and Heroin also make some super sick graphics and shapes.
Are there any local events you support/participate in?
We have always tried to have a lot of support for our community! We’ve hosted contests and done giveaways, and participated in music events and pop ups with local businesses and artists. We did a pop up at Tattered that was super fun and went really well. We recently were able to get our products into skate shops, so that’s been exciting. I’ve always been a supporter of local business, and to actually work with them has been a great learning experience. They’ve all been extremely supportive and to me that translates into the support of the skate community as a whole. Long Beach is a great city and has lots of skate history and energy embedded into the culture.
What is your favorite shoe brand at the moment? why?
My favorite shoe brand is probably Clearweather. It’s these two designers who worked at Vans and Supra who decided to start their own thing. They did lifestyle footwear at first, and then started doing skate shoes. We met them at Agenda and they were super down-to-earth chillers. Their designs are super innovative and skate perfectly. I think it’s important to support things you genuinely love, which gets kind of distorted in skateboard culture because sponsorship and free product is such a big part. A lot of the smaller companies are killing it too. State Footwear new shoe models are cool, and Lakai is pushing a strong comeback. I like to believe that there are like-minded people with the same ideas that I have. I trust there will always be skater-owned companies with good shoes to skate.
Tell me about the Generic creative team?
As of now our team is very informal, but with the creation of Subradmag, we will be able to divide the work more efficiently. The Generic squad is made up of people with a shared common vision. I think right now, the most difficult thing is conflicting schedules. We all have to work outside of Generic, so it can make things tough. Another challenge of mine is I’ve always liked to do things myself, and as a creator with a vision, working creatively with others can become a bit difficult. But overall, I love my team right now.
How did you choose your skate team?
The general screening process is going out to film with the team’s one dedicated filmer and a few other team members. It’s crucial that we’re all able to hang out and get along. These are people I grew up with, so I treat it very much like a family. You have to be cool with everyone and dedicate your time to the team to get fully approved. We’ll see what happens this year
Where can people find your boards/shirts?
Right now we’re in Venice Beach Surf, Long Beach Skate, Furnace Skate Shop, Unmodern Industries, and United Boardshop. They have all been extremely supportive and push me to work harder. They’ve helped me make sure my spot in the skateboard industry is earned and secured. It’s awesome to have the privilege of working with them. Thanks guys! Hopefully we’ll get into more shops this year and try to spread the Generic Skateboards’ virus around Southern California a bit more.