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Push: Lola Curtis

Interview by Dominic Chambers

Photography by Reece Leung and John Paz

PC Dominic Chambers back again, here interviewing Lola Curtis. Lola, tell us a bit about yourself. How old are you and where are you from?

I’m 22 and I’m from Hayes, but I grew up in High Wycombe, and now I’m living in Liverpool because I’m studying at uni.

How long have you been living in Liverpool? Is there much of a difference between Liverpool and High Wycombe?

I’ve been living here for three years now, I think. I noticed a difference the first time I came up here getting on the train, because between the three train stations from London to Birmingham to Liverpool, everyone just got nicer, and they started helping me out more, so straight away, I could see that this whole thing about everyone being nicer up north was true. And in skating it worked as well, because as soon as I went down to the Pier Head - that was the first place I went skating - straight away, everyone was just saying, “hey”. I think maybe the first two people that spoke to me were you and Jord (Leadbetter) actually, and then I met everyone else from there.

I know you’ve got about 80 hobbies, but I don’t actually know what it is you do at uni. So what are you in Liverpool to study?

I’m here doing graphic design, which I’m really enjoying, apart from I’m not that good at the computer parts, but I’m doing it because of graffiti, which is one of the many hobbies. It was actually in COVID I started doing graffiti properly, and one of my little sister’s friends asked me if I was doing graphic design. All of my mates were at uni doing something at this point, and I was just at home working at Costa, and I really wanted to go to uni, so that was it. I was like, “right, I’m going to do graphic design”. I put loads of stuff together, applied, had to come with a Foundation year, which meant that I got an extra year in Liverpool, and here I am.

Your graffiti is banging. You’ve done stuff for us at Camel; you did are display for the wall in Lost Art. How did you get into graffiti?

The first thing that I ever remember about graffiti was actually from my dad. He’s a roofer, and he worked on big jobs, on big monuments, and he used to tell me that he’d scratched my name into the lead or into the walls of all of these places. So from then, I had this thing about writing my name on everything. Then I found my dad’s old sketchbooks, because he used to do graff, and then I got my name on my wall at home in graffiti. I used to write in all of my school books, and instead of doing school work I basically did graffiti the whole way through, then eventually - just before COVID, when I went on holiday to Berlin - I picked up a spray can for the first time, and I’ve never put it down.

You don’t need to jump out of plane to feel airborne in Liverpool. Early grab frontside air, New Bird. Photo: Paz.

What’s the graffiti scene like in Liverpool? Because I’m not too clued up about graffiti myself, like.

The scene in Liverpool seems pretty old school to me. It’s more about going out bombing, getting out at night, which is probably the better part of graffiti in my opinion. But there’s also a lot of legal spaces around, too. You’ve got Zap Graffiti, the graffiti shop, and he’s got loads of space across the town to do legals. Obviously I’ve got my name that I write - Aloha - which is what I do my legal stuff with, and that’s what I get creative with, but obviously you’ve got to be doing something else going out on the night missions.

I know you have possibly upwards of 80 hobbies. If you had to name your top three outside of skateboarding, what would you say they are?

Graffiti is definitely one, skydiving is definitely the other, and then it’s probably got to be snowboarding… but I hope I’ve not forgotten anything that I like more (laughs).

The skydiving is a mad one because you’d never catch me jumping out of a plane. What made you want to get into that? Are you an adrenaline junkie or are you just nuts?

Again, I think I’ve got my dad to thank for that. He did it when he was younger, and it was this thing when I was growing up, that I was always going to jump out of a plane, so as soon as I turned 21, that’s what I did. Me and my dad went over to do the course together, and I’ve just been jumping out ever since. I love it, I love it so much, and the adrenaline, yeah, that’s definitely a big part of it.

I feel like sometimes the camera is a bit of an enemy, but I think it’s the same for everyone, and I should probably get over that.

So doing all of these hobbies, juggling jobs and university, do you find it hard to make time for skateboarding? And do you think skateboarding is your number one priority?

I think skateboarding definitely has a special place in my heart, because it’s my longest reigning hobby (laughs), and I’ve stuck with it for four or five years now. Skateboarding is the one that’s easiest to do, like I can go anywhere to do it any time, and I have loads of friends in that circle in the city, so it’s definitely my most comfortable hobby. It is still hard to juggle amongst all the other ones, because I feel like I’m constantly doing something.

You’ve definitely been more active with skateboarding recently, getting a few photos in mags. Do you think now you’re going to try film for a part? Because you’ve never really much footage, but you’ve shot a load of photos.

Yeah, I think I definitely should (laughs). I feel like sometimes the camera is a bit of an enemy, but I think it’s the same for everyone, and I should probably get over that. Doing all of these things, it does motivate you to get more involved, and I am enjoying skating so much at the minute, so I’m saying let’s get it, let’s do more… but let’s just wait and see what happens when that camera is in my face (laughs).

First and only try noseblunt pull-in, Meols, Wirral. Photo: Reece.

To go back to what you said earlier, skateboarding is your longest running hobby and the one you started first. What was it that got you into it in the first place?

I was always interested in it. It was another thing I had with my dad. We used to go to the park; I had a BMX, and I used to watch the skaters, but I didn’t really do much. It was only when I went to college and there was a skatepark at the college, I thought, “right, I want to do this”, so I told my dad about it. He was on a site, and there was these two old Tesco looking skateboards in a bin, so he brought them home for me and I’d take one to the skatepark. I only realised that I needed a better board when someone asked if they could borrow it; they got on and they were like, “urgh”, and gave me it straight back, so I thought, “right, I need to get something proper”. I got a setup from a skate shop and I skated at college all of the time. I started getting better at it, and I loved it. I failed college because of it, but… here I am (laughs).

What was the skate scene like in High Wycombe? Was there a big scene?

It wasn’t massive, because High Wycombe is pretty secluded. You can get to London quite quick, and there’s obviously a whole scene going on in London, but by me it was more like little towns. So I had the people I would skate with at college, and then I had the people I would skate with at home, in High Wycombe at the skatepark, and my two friends Benny (David) and Omar (Rehman), they probably helped me out the most with skating at the start. We used to go on little skate trips together, they used to teach me stuff, and without them… I probably wouldn’t be as good as I am (laughs).

Are you thinking that you’re going to stay in Liverpool, or are you going to check out some other cities?

This is literally the hardest question of my life, because I never know what I’m going to do in the future. I love Liverpool so much, and at the minute I can’t picture myself leaving, but what I really want to do is travel and go everywhere, travel to all different cities so I can skate them, paint them, I want jump out of a plane and see them from above. I want to travel and go to all of these mad places, so I need to figure out somewhere that I can live and save some money after this uni thing. I’m hoping it’s going to be Liverpool, because I can’t picture myself leaving permanently now I’m here.

Garry Scott Davis’ creation gets a Merseyside excursion. A Boneless One to fakie into the haggard bank. Photo: Reece.

We’ve been rudely interrupted by a Mr David Mackey, who’s joined in and wants to ask Lola a question.

Dave Mackey: You are a gymnast, a dancer, a graffiti artist, a skydiver, skateboarder, and God knows what else. How come you do so many different activities?

I’m just interested in life and I want to do it all. There’s no stone I want to leave unturned (laughs). I’ve just got a taste for it all, and again, big thanks to my dad for introducing me to so much of it. If I see someone doing something good, or doing something interesting, I just have to get a bit of that (laughs).

Mackey: But once you’ve started something, do you get bored of it, or do you continue to pursue it?

I go through cycles with them all. I never get bored of them, I just get super invested in one at a time and then keep going like that, and they all feed into each other.

I’m just interested in life and I want to do it all. There’s no stone I want to leave unturned (laughs).

As Mackey’s been asking the questions there, she’s been body popping (laughs), body locking and hip-hopping all around Lost Art. So that just proves she has a love for many hobbies (laughs). Could you make a quick prediction for us - what do you think is going to be the next hobby that you do?

The next hobby, it’s not really a new one, but I want to try and combine breakdancing and skydiving at the same time (laughs), and then definitely a wing suit. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to chuck a skateboard in there too (laughs).

A wing suit? Yeah, mate, you are round the bend. Hopefully no more walking around fields barefoot, trying to align your energy with the floor. Do you plan to do any more of that, or was that a one off?

(Laughing) No, you’ve always got to keep the energy good, you’ve got to stay connected. Listen, I’m spreading positive vibes; don’t hate me for that (laughs).

Yeah. I don’t know if acting like Tarzan in the Lake District is really ‘spreading positive vibes’, but to each their own. Anyway though, it’s been nice to speak to you, and I look forward to seeing more skate content from you. Is there anyone you’d like to give a little shout out to before we wrap this up?

Shout out to my mum and dad for sure for getting me into all of this stuff. Shout out to the boys back at home for helping my skateboarding at the start, the boys in Liverpool for keeping it going and getting me where I am now, shout out to Lost Art for being the best skate shop, and all of my friends and family - you all know who you are.

Follow Lola - @lolacurtiis

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