Featuring members of the TAIKAN skate team, Paul Ismirnioglou, a long-time friend of the brand and talented photographer, showcases Collection 010. With a great overall eye for aesthetic and creative prowess beyond the lens, Paul’s TAIKAN By bred multiple mini series’ highlights the latest and greatest apparel in the line.
It was nice to be working with you again on TAIKAN. It had been a minute. What have the past couple of years been like for you over this pandemic, and what have you learned?
Working with Taikan is always a pleasure! The last couple of years have been super good, and it's also been really hard. Professionally, I have grown leaps and bounds. I spent the previous year working more on the creative side of design and trend forecasting. On a personal level, I have learned the importance of having a solid community of family and friends to lean on. Being a parent of two little boys during the pandemic has been rewarding and challenging—the yin and yang of life.
What is your relationship to skateboarding or skate culture in general?
Growing up in Carlsbad in the late 80’s / early 90’s, skateboarding was my whole life. I was so young and had no clue that we were living in the mecca of skateboarding. I was so obsessed with every aspect of skating. That was the age of launch ramps, mini ramps, late-night curb sessions at Von's parking lots, Ant ramp, Tacoland, Carlsbad High and Valley Jr. High. We would drive up and down PCH looking for schools and obscure ditches to skate. My homie Jeshua Stevens lived a couple of doors down from Tony Hawk's house, and we would sneak around looking for boards and see all the early Powell graphics before they were released. Skateboarding was an escape from a heavy upbringing and helped foster my interest in art, music, design, and many of my core beliefs.
What is your process with creative shoots?
I try not to get too deep into things. In my opinion, keeping things as simple as possible often delivers the best work. I keep a journal of concepts which usually is the starting point of my mood boards. I try mapping out 4 to 5 good locations within walking distance of each other. This allows me to control the flow without wasting time in case my core location is not working out. My goal is always to capture people as their authentic selves, so casting is super important. Post-production is where I spend the most time chopping images up and repositioning the background or subjects.
Tell us about your TAIKAN By concept?
I thought about my childhood memories in California and how much fun we had skating from spot to spot. The journey getting there seemed to be some of my fondest memories and how we all connected as friends. Just chilling, smoking weed, and pushing through the city.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
Continue in the development of more brands as well as being a part of a creative agency. I love creating products and content, but I also love the business behind creative industries. Hopefully, this will also allow me to be more involved in mentoring other young creatives and bring them up to reach their fullest creative potential.
What are you reading these days?
The Untethered Soul has been my daily. It's a great read that dives into the relationship with your habitual thoughts, emotions, and energy patterns that limit your consciousness.
Any closing comments?
Yes. Big ups to Kenny, Will, Pedro, and Malik. They were so easy to work with despite the dark and cloudy weather. We managed to get some great shots and capture some good memories.