Rudy Jacques is a talented surfer/photographer from France. His eclectic portfolio is a combination of street art, analog photography, and film. His website Avthentic, is the place where he shares his work with the surfing community. We sat down with Rudy to learn more.
What was your life like growing up in France?
Very simple. I spent my entire childhood in Oleron Island. A part of me always wants to go back there—a perfect countryside with different kinds of spots. This place has a real identity; so many inhabitants are proud to live there.
When did you get your first surfboard?
At the age of 11 or 12. I used to stand up on my bodyboard before. My parents finally bought me a used 6’2’’ thruster, very thick, with flashy colors. This board made my friends laugh a lot. I still ride it today.
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
I read many answers which dealt about faith. I am not a religious believer, and I can’t remember the feeling I had when I first stood on a board. It was quite challenging, so I probably said, “Finally!”
Who did you look up and admire when you were a young man?
I didn’t have many influences before getting involved into longboarding. So I was more influenced by punk and its values. At 15, I first tried a longboard and discovered that it was closer to the idea I had of surfing. Of course, I was astonished by Joel Tudor’s style-mastering and Thomas Campbell’s creativity. They are unique. They both changed my way to see surfing.
Who or what inspires you? What have been your greatest influences, both as a surfer and as an artist?
Time to do a checklist: Joel Tudor, Thomas Campbell, Barry McGee, Clovis Donizzeti, Kyle Lightner and Ian McKaye. They all express something true; they are original. I like the discretion of Barry McGee. And Ian McKaye? What can I say? Minor Threat is for sure one of my greatest influences. It represents all that I would like to share through my company Avthentic: simplicity, humility and the do-it-yourself spirit.
How did you get involved with RVCA in France?
I did my first show in ‘08 at Tamarindo Surf Shop. They have been interested in my photos and my blog, so we got in touch. As a kid, I used to follow their collaboration with people like Ed Templeton, but I also was interested in artists, like Josh Lazcano, who should have been much more under the spotlight. I am really grateful to Ben and Marie, the French people of RVCA.
Tell us about your working relationship with surfer Steven Dunn Videau ?
What comes to my mind is that we are surfers who want to surf and surf again. Sometimes we should stop talking about that. We often share our ideas and are really motivated to make new stuff; we learn from each other. And I also want to add some words about Clovis. He’s a talented guy, very cultivated, who has a true knowledge of surfing history. I remember the first time I saw him surfing. I was out of mind.
What have you been focusing on artistically lately? Can you tell us about your recent fascination with street art and graffiti?
I began writing on walls maybe one year ago, but I am not a graffiti artist. I always have a marker with me I never plan and I write not necessarily a nickname but a word that expresses a feeling. I have too much respect for people who have dedicated their life to graffiti to define me as a writer. There is a real parallel between punk, longboarding and graffiti. As a sub– or counter-culture, they have evolved differently from the mainstream, focusing on the act, the essential. And the main word could be “legitimacy”. I always question myself, seeking out legitimacy, because I hate posers as I hate fad. If I want to talk about something, I must have experienced it.
What are you most proud of?
Maybe all I have done with Avthentic and how it has evolved. It has really gone beyond my expectations. The future will be a bonus. I am glad to have met people thanks to Avthentic and to have had the opportunity to share my photographs.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
I really became aware of how surfing changed my life by living in Paris. When I go back home, I find the daily things that I love—cool waves, fewer people, a simple life. Surfing helped me to know why all this environment is exactly what I need.
What are the greatest things you have learned in your life?
There are two: love and straight. By “straight,” I’m referring to the term “straight and narrow” and living one’s life with both good behavior and integrity.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
My girlfriend, surfing, punk music, health … and seeing my family.
Who are some of the people are shaping the path for surfing today?
From a pure surfing point of view, Dane Reynolds. He seems to be very open-minded and not only focused on his own surfing. There are many surfers who ride incredibly, and I hope those who are shaping the path are not assholes out of the water, craving for money. I am not saying that money is necessarily a burden for surfing, but thinking first of business clearly is.
What is your favorite board ? Surf spot?
Since I started surfing, I’ve owned less than ten boards. I can’t explain why, but I am not particularly attracted by the object—it will probably come when I get older. I just hope the board works. During a session, if I surf like a kook, it is my fault and not the one of the board. I currently ride a 9’5” Fat Bob Addiction that I have had since November 2009. It’s made by people who I respect, a cool classic board. And my favorite spot? Northeast coast of Oleron.
What are you currently listening on your iPod?
I am fond of punk, from Minor Threat to Anti-Flag. I recently bought all the Nirvana albums—one of the heaviest sound I’ve ever heard, some of the best poetry I’ve ever read.
What causes organizations do you support?
People in the streets. Some mornings, in the metro station next to my flat, I can’t even sit on a bench; they are all occupied by maybe fifteen homeless or more. Something is wrong and it begins in front of our door. I would like to talk with the homeless. I have tried.
What are you most grateful for?
I am grateful to my parents and grandparents for all they have done for my sister and me.
What’s next for Rudy Jacques?
I will finish my internship at the end of June, so I will spend the most of the summer holidays surfing, photographing and meeting friends. That is the best future I can plan. I read the interview you did with Jair Bortoleto. He said, “My main goal is always to be a better man.” That is a good quote to conclude on.
Find out more about Rudy Jacques at his website here.