Reese Forbes is the king of apparent paradoxes, and has trodden some road with his fair share of unexpected people. It started early, way before some bizarre twist of life got him to jump the Brad Staba ship. Back on his native East Coast, Reese was once teammates with dudes like Matt Mofett, Peter Hewitt and Adam McNatt, on the probably aptly named Goodtimes board company. Eclectic assemblage. Not the last to happen. After a hefty dose of Eastern Exposure via Dan Wolfe’s lens, Maryland’s über-popper joined Element, before getting together with artist Micheal Leon to start Rasa Libre. And then, the clean-cut, polite Reese joined one of the most acclaimed, most offensive board companies in the new millenium, Skate Mental. And it’s not over… Unsurprisingly, the boards he chose to talk about for his five favorite pro-models reflect exactly how he would later describe his first ever board on Element: “As random as it gets.” And awesome, too.
When Element wanted to turn me pro, I wanted to be involved in my graphics, so I called my friend Mike Baugh. The idea behind it, well, I gotta get back into a 17-year-old mind for a second. I just wanted to have something as random as it gets. Mike worked for Discovery Channel, a couple big companies so he had some graphic skills.
I just jumped in that suit and he shot me with goggles and that swimming hat. I was supposed to be an action figure, that’s what it was. I’m not sure what I was supposed to be. The pool balls, it has no relevance whatsoever, it means nothing. It’s just random.
Element did not like it. I don’t think (Element owner) Johnny Schillereff saw that board as having that continuity with any of the other Element boards. But he just wanted me to have what I wanted, which was great. That was probably one of the last times I had what I wanted, basically.
After I lost Element, I was skating a lot with Matt Field, we were talking about starting a company. We had a lot to bring to the table with his creativity. Matt Field and Mic-E Reyes came up with the Rasa Libre name, we were playing around with the word “Rasa” just because of the way it rolls off your tongue, the way it sounds. Plus we wanted that notion of being free, just how you feel when you skate.
When it came to my board, it was as usual: anything that Michael Leon shows me I never have anything to change, it’s always perfect, he’s that good. For this one, he just went for zebra print I guess but he added his own spin to it. This graphic is really sick, and the pattern is amazing. I would say that’s probably my favorite skateboard, ever. I loved Rasa Libre, great company. It was ahead of its time and the beauty of it is that it came and went, and never had time to get stale.
The wine bottle is a graphic that Michael always wanted to give me, he thought I would like it because he knew I was into drinking wine. There was also this idea of wine and roses, it was a ’60s thing and a saying, from some Sinatra album I think. It was a song, definitely. It was just really cool.
There was another one he did that was on a guitar stain board, that was mimicking that Gibson Starburst guitar, so Michael did that graphic on a board that looks like that exact same stain. This one’s not actually it, there’s a better one that has that graphic on but anyway, that’s the only one I have.
The jet, the gold watch, all the cool stuff, you know, that’s Brad Staba’s signature humor. It’s done through Brad’s perception of who I am. I mean, he thinks I like all the finer things in life (laughs).
Brad could probably not be any more different than who I am but it worked. We skated in SF when I lived there and we were buddies, then he had the opportunity to do something out of Girl and I just wanted to jump at that chance.
On Skate Mental, there were a lot of good-fun, offensive graphics he did. There was one that said “Fuck your Face,” and it was on a t-shirt too. And then there’s one he did at me with just teeth coming out of this businessman guy, which is probably my least favorite graphic in history. But you just gotta look at it with humor. Brad does a very good job at it.
Right when Brad pulled Skate Mental from Girl, I made a decision that I was not gonna do that, so I started talking with Michael Leon, he was thinking about turning his Commonwealth Stacks project into Stacks, the skateboard company.
I always enjoyed working with Michael so it was a natural fit. For now, the team is just yours truly. It always felt like there was some unfinished business since we stopped collaborating on Rasa Libre.
That beetle board is really cool because it came as a 3-board series, Small, Medium and Large, and the way he did the beetles is really amazing, with the colors on their backs, it just looks really cool on a board.