TINO RAZO – “Party In The Back”
In Party In The Back, celebrated skateboarder Tino Razo has documented – and shredded – abandoned backyard swimming pools throughout Southern California. The resulting body of work, showcased for the first time in his recently released book, elevates itself beyond a bunch of thrill-seekers navigating the suburban landscape, juxtaposing renegade sessions by world-class skateboarders with dramatic architectural photographs of a lost American dream. We were fortunate enough to track Tino down and ask a couple questions about the new book!
Hi Tino, we’re really doing this!
We’re talking! This is cool.
What are you doing right now this very second? Are you working on the show?
Ugh. I just ran outside to do this. I’m working at Supreme right now, been super busy; everything has kind of been a shit show, haha. But it’s all good. And no, I haven’t even started anything for the show really. Been working three straight weeks but I have the day off tomorrow to figure it all out.
Hell yeah, Tino! Well shit, I don’t wanna take up too much of your time so let’s dive right into this… how long have you been working on this book?
Um… Feels like it’s been a while but I guess in all, total like four years.
So the photos from this book, the pools and all these locations you’ve shot, did these all take place from all over the U.S.?
It’s primarily all shot in Southern California, from the Valley, to Los Angeles and Burbank, couple spots in the deserts and Baja.
The pools, or bowls, or whatever you call them these days, look pretty desolate. How do you even find half of these things?
Haha. There were so many different ways of finding them. Either it was driving around with friends, looking at satellite views of places on Apple Maps on my phone, messing around with Google Maps, having friends knowing these places or one of my friend’s friends would know something. You find pools and other people find pools, so you kind of share spots with different people. It’s kind of like a collection and trading baseball cards a bit.
When you show up at these locations what are the necessities you need to have to clean out a pool and make it skateable?
Brooms, buckets, a lot of old towels, or old t-shirts, anything you can really grab to help dry some of these spots out. That’s pretty basic. I’ll probably bring a plethora of skateboards. And of course beers!
What’s the average time it takes to clean one of these bad boys out?
It’s all pretty situational, could be hours or it could be a quick one. Sometimes you get there and there will just be little bit of dust to sweep. Sometimes it’s a nightmare and they will be filled with a bunch of wood or water. I’ve done a couple six- to eight-hour preparation on some of these things.
That sounds like hell. Do you like the whole process of doing all that or are you just in it for the skating and the photos?
I love all the parts of it, man. All the driving, the legwork, the scouring… it makes the pay off all worth it in the end.
The book is called Party in the Back, so how did you pick this name for the book?
I wrote down just a bunch of names kind of quickly and when I wrote that one down it just kind of stuck. I liked it, thought it was kind of funny.
Has there been any horror stories shooting for this book? Anyone get arrested or super fucked up?
I mean a couple of shitty things happened but nothing happened as crazy as one would expect getting into it. We made it through this whole thing pretty unscathed. Just the fact that we sneak into these things with skateboards really helps the situation. When cops see us it’s pretty harmless; having the skateboards diffuse a lot of the conflicts. Sometimes they’ll come in hot thinking we’re doing something real fucked up, but as soon as they see four dudes in the backyard with a pool with skateboards it’s pretty easy for them to judge what we’re actually doing back there.
How many of these spots have you been kicked out of?
Shit, maybe only like four or five of them.
All the photos you took for this book, is it all film? What photography medium did you use?
It’s all film photos. I didn’t have a digital camera at the time so when I started and when the body of work kept developing I just stuck to what I conceptually used.
As far as being a skater, and that whole approach, were you just always into this transitional, pool-type skating?
I just skated, man. A lot of the skating I do is just dictated by whatever was around, wherever I was living at the time. In this case it, and for sake of the book, was pool skating. I would never call myself a pool skater. I like skating everything.
So are you happy with the book and the whole end result? When’s it come out and where can we buy it?
Yeah, I’m super happy with the book. I’m stoked it’s literally as good as I possibly could have made it. Shooting how I shot it and not knowing how to shoot, for what I thought I could do, it’s as good as I could of asked from it. The book is actually out today, February 21st and you can buy through Mexican Summer (mexicansummer.com).
Well shit, Tino, I hope everything is a success and your photo shows corresponding with the book launch and everything goes amazing, congrats!
Word! Hell yeah and thank you!