Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.
There’s so much I could say but let’s keep it simple. I’m a photographer first, then a dyslexic writer and creative (but who isn’t these days?). My friends and family have made me who I am. They taught me how to take photos, they’ve taken me into their homes all over the world and lead me on some great journeys, they’ve shown me what great design looks like, and they’ve taught me how to tell a compelling story. I’m originally from Toronto, I moved to Halifax as a teenager, which was followed by a few nomadic years that eventually landed me in NYC.
What do you do for a living?
Right now my official title is the Senior Content Editor at Outerknown. There I basically work with a team to tell the story of the brand through different mediums. I also still do the odd freelance job, but these days it has to be something extra compelling. Outerknown is just a year old and is taking the majority of my bandwidth.
When and why did you move to Venice from NYC?
When I first moved to New York, I didn’t think I’d last more than a year living there. Naively, I didn’t understand what a great city it is. Growing up in Toronto (which is the biggest city in Canada), all I ever wanted to do was to get out of an urban environment and into nature. The move to Halifax in my teens was really just a way to run from Toronto. Years later, when I started getting some traction as a photographer, I didn’t see a career path in rural eastern Canada. I knew if I wanted to keep learning and getting better I had to make a move. That move ended up being three years working with Saturdays NYC. Being there was a great experience and I truly ended up loving living in the city.
But to get to your question, I moved to LA just over a year ago. It was partially for a lifestyle change but I was also really inspired by the sustainable brand that the team at Outerknown had set out to create. In college I majored in International Development and Environmental Science. I chose that path out of interest more than anything else… I just wanted to learn. After working in the fashion industry for a few years it became really clear that things like environmental impact and worker’s rights should really be a frontline issue. For a lot of the industry that’s not the case.
That’s a sweet gig you landed, we truly love everything you guys are doing at Outerknown. What’s it like working closely with Kelly Slater?
Look, I’m a guy from Canada who basically learned how to surf in the middle of the winter, completely separated from the endemic surf market. I never thought I’d have the chance to work with a guy like Kelly. He’s a super inspiring person. We all know how intelligently he speaks about the technical aspects of surfing, but the best part of working with him is when we get talking about everything else that he cares about: food, the environment, music even photography – whatever the topic, he’s got a wealth of knowledge. There is literally no one else like him.
What are your favorite parts about Venice and the area in which you live now?
Venice is pretty great. I’m a few blocks away from the beach. I go down and surf or run in the mornings. I love that it feels like a small neighborhood. I think the sprawl of LA seems daunting to a lot of people, but I end up riding my bike everywhere, there’s a ton of great food and coffee.
What do you miss about NYC and the east coast in general?
I miss humidity, when I go back east and I get off the plane the air just feels better. But more importantly, I have a lot of great friends back east, between T.O., Halifax and NYC, there’s a lot of “ride or dies” who I wish I could see everyday.