The Long Read: The Jackson Sjogren Interview

Hello, and welcome to the Jackson Sjogren interview as the second part of our Julian Klincewicz week together with Vault by Vans. For those who follow our weekly Place Presents output, the name Jackson Sjogren might sound familiar as we once had the pleasure to release one of his skate videos through our platform. This time we wanted to let Jackson speak to us with words instead of his video work and so we talked to him about getting involved with Julian in the first place, how their (work) relationship is growing more and more, and what his future plans are. Enjoy!

Interview and intro by Roland Hoogwater.

Photos by Julian Klincewicz.

Hello Jackson, how are you?

I am good, gonna go grab some breakfast after this.

What have you been up to?

I have been working with Julian (Klincewicz), going back between San Diego and Los Angeles. I have been living with my parents since my graduation, but I have been looking into a place in L.A. Julian has just been so busy, that he kinda needs help all the time. So, have been couch-surfing in L.A. My siblings live there so it is mellow.

When you say that Julian needs help, what does that mean? What do you end up doing?

I don’t have a title or anything but I feel like I have become his general assistant. He does everything, so he needs help with everything, still, it has mostly been video stuff. Editing, coming along, and helping out with shoots and whatnot. As far as the editing goes, we have a similar taste so I have been doing a lot of the organizing, “meat and potato” kinda editing.

Julian and yourself had met before you started working together, so how did this working relationship come to be?

Honestly, over time things grew. A lot of it was due to mutual friends at a space that used to be called Gym Standard now known as *swish Projects. The owner is a friend of mine called Edwin and he is the connector down in S.D. he has brought different groups and communities together. He connected me amongst other people with Julian.

Thank you, Edwin, right! So what was the first project you worked on?

It was actually this Vans project, Julian had made these coloring posters. It was for one of his earlier Vans projects, and the idea was that people would come and color the posters. But he was going out of town to film an RVCA campaign so Edwin suggested that I’d do it. That was the first stepping stone, in January 2021, right before I launched my skate video “Stuck Between Moments”.

He was in your video as well, did the way that video turned out, have any influence on you guys working together?

I think it did. Anyway, the next project we worked on was for Off-White and Nike SB type campaign, I did the “Behind The Scenes” for that one. To be honest, it all went kinda serendipitous in a way, he needed help, though of me, and we get along as friends.

From my point of view as someone that hires people as well, it is not always easy to find people that speak your language and can take on assignments without you coaching them. So, from that perspective, it probably wasn’t easy for Julian to find people to assist him.

Honestly, our joined background in skating just really helps, we can connect on multiple things just through those mutual interests. He is two years older than me but we both were really into Alien Workshop videos, Memory Screen, Photosynthesis, and next to that we both enjoy art films. Early Harmony Korine films, and stuff like that. We have those mutual interests and like visuals that form a visual language.

He is worlds ahead of me so, I am just soaking it all up and learning a lot. It is also down to him trusting my taste and my judgment within these projects and the language we speak, him being able to talk to me about the things he is making. That is important, I think.

Can you give an example of the things that you are learning?

One thing is, what it means to be a working artist. Seeing how much work he puts in. From the outside you see these magical videos appear but he is one of the hardest working people I have ever met. Hands down, he puts so much work and time into these projects. Constantly putting out stuff, never a free moment.

So, I have learned how much hard work is needed to excel, besides that there are many little things you pick up. Also, seeing his process, you see the elements he uses and you start to feel like it is not such a foreign thing.

Another thing is, being able to make a decision quickly and with confidence, with the point of reference of the visual world you are creating in mind. Knowing where you need to go in the process and making those choices, even if it is on the fly.

So what has the process been like lately?

Julian has a new studio and has been sharing it with Deaton Chris Anthony, he is a musical artist and they are calling the space “Studio 75” and it is going to be their new creative hub. I have been going there a lot and hanging out, talking through ideas, etc. That community space is important, being able to talk to like-minded people that are into creating things.

So what has being around them and working with Julian done for your own projects?

Well, I am not around Julian constantly, it is still sporadic, we have done a handful of projects together, but this has intensified over the last 2-months. We were out in Boston working on this James Wrighton project, it was just me and him, 3-days & 7-cameras (laughs). That project intensified our working together because Julian has a habit of biting off a little bit more than he can chew. I have just been there to help and support him.

But still, there are weeks I don’t see him, as a creative, I have been working on music videos a lot recently, but I would like to see if I can go in a short-film direction in the future. It is cool because the work I do with him informs me in making the decision if this is a route I want to go in career-wise.

When I work on his projects though, I do tend to take things home a bit and I am working on finding that happy medium between worlds.

He is really chill though, he will easily say “Take the day off”. This whole thing is new to us both so we are both learning how to get the help and I am learning how to give my help.

Seeing that this video is connected to the release of Julians newest “Pure Michigan” collection for Vault by Vans. Can you tell us a bit about that project?

Again I was on the BTS side of the “Pure Michigan” project, Julian had brought me in a while ago to shoot a kinda doc-project for the collection. I was assigned to do the internal marketing video at first. That was one of the first things where we worked intensely together for a longer time. He was busy, but we would make time to skate, we did a full interview together and we really got to know each other more during the making of that. The interview was something where I really picked his brain, asking about his artistic intentions and straying off the “collection” path.

What I found out was that it is hard to imagine most people that get to do a Vans collection put that much thought into each and every detail of the product. It is not just making something cool, or good-looking, but it is taking his world and his experiences and diving into that world of summer. A shoe, was a shoe to me before I got the opportunity to talk to him about it. Now I feel like a product can be elevated if you manage to come from a meaningful place.

Fast forward, a year later, and asked for a “Public-Facing” video BTS piece. I took the original video and added it to it. I went to the studio and filmed him recording music with Andrew. It was cool to see a year of creating a collection, a world, from conception to execution. I see the intention and I see the love he put into the project.

With you both coming from a skateboarding background, how important was referencing that in the “Pure Michigan” project? Because it is a Vault collection, not per se a skate thing.

It never quite goes away, it is always an important thing for Julian, and he wanted to have it be part of it. Even if it was just one trick, it was actually one of his only notes when making the video. In the original edit, it was just him rolling down the street but he hit me up and told me to let’s get one skate clip at least for this project.

It shows, it runs through him, his work, you guys’ relationship & language. It is there!

I think skating is very problem-solving-based, we can make whatever work. The Boston project is the biggest version of that skateboard idea put into motion, it is just us two running around with 7-cameras making it work. That spirit carries things through.

Back to you for a minute, have you been working on another skate video?

Actually, Julian and I have been out a bunch, and I just got a new 16-millimeter camera as well, but on the HD side, I have been trying to find out what the new “skate cam” is going to be. I sold my VX, I don’t know if I want to go the Panasonic route so I have been trying to figure that out.

Maybe check out that setup that Romain Batard put together.

I will look into it, I have been bringing out my black magic but I have been trying to see if I need to buy something really new or if there is an older camera that can serve my needs and that can carry a bigger skate video. I need to save some money and start to experiment with multiple types of cameras.

Julian does a lot of that experimenting as well and his newest thing is the Go-Pro. He is so hyped on the Go-Pro, so expect more footage from that cam coming out of Julian. He has got the 360 one so it is a whole world (laughs).

(laughs) Alright, let’s leave it on that Go-Pro suspense, thank you so much for your time, Jackson!

Thank you, it was nice talking to you again.

If you missed our video about Julian’s trip to Milan you can watch it HERE.