Bill Strobeck

"In Philly I saw like two homeless guys blowing each other and eating McDonald's afterwards."
Portrait & Interview by Maggie Lee

My Lovely Mess, 2012

How much stuff do you shoot?
When I'm out filming skateboard stuff, and that's been 15 years now, I film other stuff too. If there's something else going on, I'll film it. I have hundreds of hours of footage, which goes back to what I was saying about documentary stuff. That's what it is. I'm basically filming the day that I'm living in. I'm filming the people I'm with. I'm filming things that are around me. That's my day. Then I'll go back and use eight seconds of it. My job is filming what goes on in my life.
Do you ever feel weird behind the camera? Or awkward?
I don't feel weird behind the camera. I actually feel really comfortable. I'll just walk up to a stranger, and start talking to them. When you have a camera, and it has a lens that's really big, and you're up close to someone, and you don't know them, it freaks them out. I feel like I'm super good at jiving with people,also fucking with people. Just the other day, I got like some lady on the street with her boyfriend. They were maxed out or something. They were fighting, and I was up the street from Supreme, out here in L.A. , and I walked by them, they were fighting. I'm, like, "Hey, can you talk about what's going on up the street?" Next thing you know, the girl had her tits out, and the guy was slapping them around and talking about how he had so much money… and they were homeless. That's what I'm saying. Stuff just happens like that to me. Any of the skate videos, they're packed with all that. For skateboarding, you could do a hard trick and It doesn't matter to me. I'm over that. Personality is the trick.
Are you attracted to that, or does it come to you?
I want that. I go home, I watch that, and it speaks in volumes. My mother was schizophrenic, and I was around that. I feel pretty comfortable walking up to somebody that I feel is homeless or schizophrenic on the street. I don't scare them. I don't feel freaked out, and maybe they don't feel threatened by that. I try to go with the flow with what that person's about.

Where's Bambi, Opening Ceremony, 2012

You seem to be unafraid to make mix computer cameras and, like, high 8. How do you decided to use what camera to use?
I just did that thing with Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony. It's short, and it only took a couple hours. I had the cameras lying around my apartment, and I hadn't used them yet, so I used them. It's a little bit of today and a little bit of the past. The cameras are old and we're in the present. If you look at somebody from the '60s, you know they're from that time. 
And you put them on the internet.
I like doing projects where I can show them in a free, free, way. A free-ish style. Like with making videos and films, when you put them online, you don’t need to go through anyone to do that. When it goes online, it’s your thing, it’s exactly the way you wanted it. I like that style. You do that, and then somebody might see that and say “I want something like this. I’m gonna give them the creative, and the cash to make it,” which I think is the raddest thing ever.
So True. And you’re creating things that teenagers are looking at, and people in small towns.
When I was younger I would order videos from a skate shop in Florida, and it would take two weeks to get to me. I would get this tape, and would watch it over and over, and that would inspire me.
I see you as an artist that can make commercial work that's your work- no one can replicate it, it's something that you can only do.
That's looking forward, about doing everything yourself and doing it your own way. Having your own vibe to it without trying.This is what I feel - that this clip should be cut here, then this clip should be back two clips, it should be before this clip. Any of the things that I've made have been a process to me. I have to turn up the volume here on this clip. You have to do this here. You have to put this person here. Its things you probably don’t even notice but making a film for me is like putting a puzzle together.
What’s one thing you don’t want anyone to know?[LAUGHTER] I know.
something that I don’t want anyone to know?
That’s a weird question. I just wanted to see what you would say.
I’m pretty open. I’m a pretty open person, I don’t think I leave too much hidden. My way of feeling comfortable is just spitting it out and getting it over with …
What’s something you want to tell everyone?
"How about fuck you"...and, stop on over and hang out at my apartment...it’s a fun place to kick it.

From Sex Magazine #1 Fall 2012
Labelled Film