Leon Bester is one of the nicest guys you might ever meet. A local Cape Town boy, Leon has been active in skateboarding, art, photography and videography for a while now, and owns at both. Find out more about the man behind the wayfarers. We introduce you to Leon Bester…
Take us through a day in the life of Leon Bester.
Alarm goes off, snooze button, snooze button, snooze button. This goes on for quit a while. Then I’ll start my day with a nice cup of tea, check on my plants and water them. Next I’ll jump into some denims and depending on the weather I’ll cycle down to the Woodstock Exchange to take care of business. If I leave before sunset I’ll go for a little skate, maybe a cheeky beer after. Then it’s dinner time and chill time.
Who/what inspires/influences you to do art?
There are endless things that will inspire me or spark a new thought or idea. I love to gather inspiration from all over and from many different things, situations and artists.
What sparked your interest in screen printing?
When I started my course in Graphic Design at Cape Tech, I was always fascinated in printmaking and I knew screen printing was part of our course, but only from second year. After my first year they pretty much scratched screen printing from our course, so when the time came to go and do an internship, I decided to intern at ilovescreenprinting. After the two week internship I was hooked on this new skill I’ve learned. I pretty much built a DIY set-up and bought a few screens and just carried on printing. For the whole of 2012 I ran my own screen printing studio in the northern suburbs. I mostly printed t-shirts, but my favourite is to print onto wood. I don’t print as much anymore, but it’s always fun to go mess around in the studio and make some t-shirts or print some artwork, get covered in paint, etc.
Klick Klak Exhibition Photos. Screen print on wood.
What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on?
I am really amped on all of the adidas projects I have been involved with. The most recent being the PE (Port Elizabeth) skate trip and the Gonz Exhibition. Always good fun and interesting trips. Another one stands out; about 2 months ago, Toby from ‘Hello Again’ in long street asked myself and Inus Smuts to do some t-shirt designs for his shop. I did a photo series on well known streets and landmarks of Cape Town, but from a first person view on a bicycle. I pretty much looked like crazy tourist cycling in the middle of the streets through town with my camera dangling from my neck while shooting the photos, haha. But I am really happy with the way it came out in the end. Risked my life a few times to get those shots, haha.
What are you listening to right now?
Yeasayer, Tame Impala, Neil Young, Future Island and some Witch.
What is this ‘Streets’ gang you’re part of? Does your Mom know about it?
Hahaha! Streets is pretty much a bunch of homies that love to skate, travel, braai, hang out, smash some beers and cause all sorts of shit together. Yeah, we are a diverse group of people that just started skating together in the school years and we still skate, hang out and make missions together as much as we can.
‘Streets’ design clock. Screen printed.
You were a videographer on the recent adidas skateboarding trip to PE. Care to share any stories from the trip?
There are so many good stories from that trip. Like when we had to saw off this piece of railing to make a handrail skateable. Or Jansen swinging and smashing everything in his way with the one golf club we had with us. Khulu falling over into the bath tub. Pieter giving Jansen a tomato relish shower. Yann shredding that bowl by the park. I can go on and on. There are so many.
Where are you at in skateboarding at the moment? Are you still pushing as hard as you always were?
At the moment I am just enjoying skateboarding for what it is to me. Sometimes I would just hang out with everybody and have a mellow session. Then other times I would find myself jumping or grinding stuff I would never even have looked at before.
Leon smith grinds a bowl. Photo by Wayne Reiche.
What are your favorite things about South Africa?
Definitely all the amazing destinations to travel to and all them characters you meet along the way.
My family for supporting and helping me out since forever. All of my friends for being unique characters. The streets homies, everybody I skate with, people I make art with, Inus Smuts for the daily entertainment, adidas, revolution, the woodstock studio mates and friends, the Pit, everybody that has helped me out on my travels… so many people to thank. All of you play a unique role, so thanks.
adidas Task Book
Buck Tour prints