Interview: Jake Eshelman from Side Project Skateboards

Interview: Jake Eshelman from Side Project Skateboards

My name is Jake Eshelman and I am a copywriter and multidisciplinary creative from Houston, TX. I’m also the Founder and Creative Director of Side Project Skateboards — a personal brand and pet project that offers an exclusive collection of limited edition, vintage-inspired skateboards handcrafted from reclaimed hardwoods. To that end, I’m the sole designer and woodworker behind the scenes, and essentially run the brand.

As for what I’m doing now, I’ve been working with a variety of other creatives across genres (graphic design, photography, etc.) to push SPS into new territories, and am really excited to share more of what we’ve been up to in the coming weeks.

 

What are your favourite activities online and offline?
Well I try to not be online as much as possible, but if I’m going to have my face in a screen, I’m likely searching for creative inspiration whether it’s menswear, photography, or whatever else I can justify.

Offline, I try to be outside as much as I can — mostly hiking or skating. I also write a lot of music in what little downtime I have, and I would travel more if I had the money!

Is there anything that you dislike about yourself?
Ironically, my extreme work ethic. It’s great in terms of productivity and building SPS, but it’s difficult for me to unplug. I need to do a better job of not focusing on where I want to be in 5 years and enjoy the present.

Name your biggest childhood hero.
My mother. She was (and is) an incredible force for good in my life — always supporting me in what I want to do and accomplish. She sacrificed a lot to give me the opportunities to pursue my passions, and I hope to be half as selfless and supportive when I become a parent.

Your biggest extravagance?
Well… it’s not quite an ‘extravagance’ because I work with them, but every shirt in my closet is a custom Hamilton Shirt. There really is no other brand whose work I admire more in terms of the overall quality and sensibility. And it means a lot to me to support them — especially given that they are also a small business based in Houston.

Describe a perfect day for you.
Aside from a nice cappuccino, I don’t really have any ingredients for a perfect day — just that I would to be discovering something new. I find a lot of inspiration in traveling, so I would imagine a perfect day would involve the headspace and opportunity to explore someplace I’ve never been — or maybe someplace I haven’t seen in the right light.

Where are you living right now and why?
I’m currently living in St. Louis where I work fulltime as a copywriter at a boutique creative agency. We moved up here two years ago for my fiancée, who attended graduate school at Washington University. To be honest, I never expected to enjoy it here. I had a very limited and somewhat unsavory view of the Midwest before we moved, but St. Louis has turned out to be a wonderful place for us, both personally and professionally. It’s like living in an incubation chamber in a lot of ways.

Any special talents?
Tons, but the most important is modesty.

Please name three things that you could not live without.
My fiancée Margaux, extreme metal music and people who find beauty in my work.

I’m serious about the metal. I went without it for what should have been a calming weeklong trip to a remote island in Maine, but I had to break off a couple days into it to put on my headphones and get my fix.

What is your favourite snack?
Fresh sunburst tomatoes from our garden — or ice cream if that counts.

Any plans for the future?
Absolutely. I am toying with the idea of expanding Side Project Skateboards into a multidisciplinary design studio to craft a variety of lifestyle products. I’ve already started down that path by offering handmade leather wallets and limited runs of screenprint posters, and I imagine that I’ll continue to broaden the scope of what SPS stands for. Other than that, I hope to live a fulfilling life — wherever that takes me.

 

Picture: Christian Gideon

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