Surfing as Art and Lifestyle: Q&A with Saturdays' Colin Tunstall
By Matt Haber
Any store can put out a catalog or a little circular that focuses on its brand, but few would dare print a full-color, oversized glossy and sell it for $25. That's exactly what Saturdays, a New York City-based surf shop has done with it's massive Saturdays Magazine.
The second issue (out now) is a celebration of all that's great about print: It's heavy, its pages make noise as you turn them, and it falls open with a satisfying "thunk." The magazine, which was printed in Iceland (watch this video of it coming off the press), is so massive you might not be able to fit it in your carry-on bag. But if you do, inside you'll find striking multipage spreads of surfers at work and at play, interviews with artists like Larry Clark and Christo, and projects from photographer Bruce Weber and designer Hedi Slimane. What you won't find is a hard sell for surfboards.
We spoke with Saturdays co-owner and Saturdays editor-in-chief Colin Tunstall. Here's what he had to say:
What's a little surf shop with two locations in New York and two in Japan (the newest in Kobe) doing putting out a 300+ page oversized doorstopper of a magazine?
Colin Tunstall: I've always wanted to produce magazine. Before starting Saturdays I worked in publishing for 10 years. The concept was simple, we just wanted to produce something cool. We decided to focus on Q&A's with people we thought were interesting. We cast a wide net and embraced the variety of backgrounds, ages and locations of everyone to define the common thread of our lifestyle.
Your photographers went all over the world to produce Saturdays Magazine. What was the farthest flung destination and what did they find there?
Geographically we are including images from all over. Australia, Japan, Iceland, Indonesia… Mostly based on where there are waves are.
There's an amazing 12-page spread of sunrises and sunsets shot all over the world in places like Florida, Montauk, St. Barts, and San Francisco by photographer Eric Cahan. How did he manage to capture such rich, textured colors?
Eric is a friend based either in NYC or out in Amaganset. Not sure how he got started but a lot of his work is based on the blending of colors. He produces large sculptural blocks of resin with a similar feeling of a sunset or sunrise. We thought it would be unusual to include this story with just color. I love [that] the captions show all different parts of the world but they could be anywhere.
How do the non-surf related articles (an interview with wrap star Christo, a folio of New York City architecture, a collection of iPhone finger paintings of urban life by Jorge Colombo) fit in with the overall vision of the magazine, which slants heavily towards surf, sand, and the thrill of being atop a board?
Surfing is a lifestyle. It's also an art form. It's a creative process and people interpret however they like. We draw inspiration from the city we live in and I think in a way it represents itself in the things we do. Christo is an artist who lives and works down the street from our Crosby Street store. He is inspirational in so many ways. His use of color, size, and scale all come to mind. His dedication to projects. Large scale and complicated that get judged before they even exist based on his rendering and drawings he produces. For the architectural story, I wanted to work with a close friend whom we both share an affinity for the building in this city and the stories behind them. We have so many "stars" that steal the spotlight yet there's a long list of others that help tell the story of the city.
How did you come to print the magazine in Iceland? Couldn't you have picked a place with better surfing?
We think they do great work and use the best machines. Also it's a fun place to visit.