Very few times in your life, you will run into people who will make a lasting impact on you and your perception on the world. They may not always be the person you expect. In this case, it was a young hispanic kid who used his humor to get through every minute of every day. Not to say he never took anything seriously, but... well yeah he pretty much never took anything seriously. Which was inspirational for me to be around, because sometimes shit just really ain't that serious.
Skateboarder - Photographer - Comedian - Cat Lover - Great Human
The first time I met Ricardo Aparicio was at his niece's birthday party, I think he was like 15 or 16 years old. He was a pretty funny kid, but I was closer to his older brother at the time who I worked with. His brother went on and got a job somewhere else, and Ricardo ended up working with me. The thing that stood out to me was his ability to make me genuinely laugh. Most of the time at work I just laugh at people's stupid ass jokes because I feel obligated too. But this kid was really fucking hilarious, even when he wasn't trying to be. He lightened up every situation, no matter how stressful work got.
As he has gotten older, it has been fun to watch him continue to be himself and make an impact on others. I know he's probably reading this like "This doesn't describe me at all, I'm just a normal ass dude." But it's a front he puts on, he really is a nice guy with good intentions and cares about others I don't care what he says. When I started this series of interviews, I knew Ricardo was someone who would be a fun read for y'all.
How it all started
Ricardo is a young 24 year old who was born and raised in Salida, California. Through the years, I have heard people talk a lot of shit about the people from the Modesto/Salida/Ceres area. But honestly, some of the most unique people I have ever met are from there. The diversity this area offers allows the people to connect with people of all races, backgrounds, and classes.
Being the youngest of all his siblings helped shape him into the man he is today, kinda. When I asked him what it was like, he said "As the youngest you’re kind of house bitch aha I’ll tell you what, I am so good at watching people play video games." It's pretty funny imagining him just sitting there never being allowed to play, but that's how it works when you're the youngest. He still has family there for him, even if they probably made him feel like he never belonged and that he should just find a new family. (That's sarcasm, but he gets it)
The power of skateboarding
As a young kid, he fell in love with skateboarding. It all started with video games ironically, he would play Tony Hawk Pro Skater with his best bud Devin. He specifically remembered a time when he was walking home and saw some older kids skateboarding in real life, and he used his knowledge he got from the game to help him sound cool and seek acceptance. He never viewed skateboarding as something that was tangible, but he would soon find out how much it could change his life.
Skateboarding created characteristics within Ricardo that would mold a carefree kid into a compulsive worker. He would spend hours trying to perfect tricks on his board, never stopping until he felt that he had succeeded. It reminded me of the traits of Kobe Bryant, just an unbelievable amount of time dedicated to perfecting his craft until it was right to him.
But one of the things that stood out to me was his use of the word "brotherhood." He treated the people he would hang out and skate with as his second family. Just learning how to navigate through life as a young kid, and trying to talk to girls which I'm sure he probably failed at multiple times. He has since improved his game, and that is an inspiration. It shows anything is truly possible. But seriously, his building of relationships and just learning how to grind out there in the streets gave him an edge that allowed him to be successful in any atmosphere.
I asked Ricardo who some of his biggest influencers in skateboarding and life were and his answer was simple, yet insightful. He said "In life, I am not sure. Just anyone who I've ever met that were themselves. I really like people." If you've ever met Ricardo, you know he really means that, and that shit is deeper than even he realizes. The day and age we live in, people glorify famous people like they are god-like figures or are viewed as role models, when in reality it's the everyday people who go through the same bullshit we have to go through everyday that are the true role models.
He has created a platform to share with the world his vision of skateboarding. Whether it's him behind the camera getting some dope ass photos or videos, or him gripping a brand new board, or him writing about some dope kids he's met at the park. His website has inspired me to grind harder, and his photos give us an insight to how intricate this sport really is. Droid is just the beginning for Ricardo, and the world will soon know that it is more than just about skateboarding, it's about life.
Just like in many sports, you can find something relatable from skateboarding and show how it translates to the real world. Ricardo was able to find the words to describe it when he said, "Trial and error. It starts creating patience. It forces you to really take in self-awareness and think about what you got to do yourself to get the result you need." Practice makes perfect. It may not make you into the greatest at whatever it is that you're doing, but it'll definitely help you master your craft and perform at your highest potential. Failure is just a lesson, it's what we do after failure that defines us.
Being a part of a community is vital in how we change the future of our country and how we influence the youth. Ricardo has been a part of a group that has been building a skatepark in Woodland to create a new place for people to skateboard and just hang out. I remember him always telling him about skating in vacant parking lots, downtown on weekends, and other random spots that he probably wasn't supposed to be skating at. So to hear that he is doing something for the future of skateboarding, and for the kids who need a place to chill is pretty dope.
His website is an escape from reality. It allows the viewer to see a side of skateboarding they may not be accustomed too. A view through the lens has given us a glimpse into what is like to build a skatepark, and the challenges that come with it. It takes an entire community to come together for a project, and Ricardo is an important piece to that puzzle.
The thing that caught my attention most from our interview was when I asked him how the sport of skateboarding could help build a better future for the youth. Instead of giving me some fluffy bullshit answer, he was straight-forward and honest.
Well what if it isn’t? The thing about skateboarding is that, it’s not like karate
This kid just gets it, that’s the best way I can describe it. He understands that life is complex, and sometimes it's better to see things as they are instead of trying to sugar coat everything. He never takes things too seriously, yet he knows how serious everything he does is. He helped me realize a few things about myself throughout my time knowing him, and I needed to share it with you all.
The only way to get through this bullshit we call life is to laugh through it all. Not to say it's all one big joke, but I mean Donald Trump is our president for Christ's sake, that's the biggest joke of them all. Ricardo is better than Donald Trump, and if you ever get the chance to have a conversation with him and you disagree with that then you're just a douche.
If you would like to read the full transcript of our conversation, read below!
Alright peoples, this next series of posts is something that I am hella hyped about. They will be called Next Up, which will be interviews of people I link up with who would like to share their story with the world. If you guys want in, or you know someone who would, please let me know so we can really make this something special. This first person is a fashion model who was gracious enough to allow me to ask him a few questions about his background, his journey, and his passion for his art form. Enjoy.
25 years young
New York, New York
Remember that feeling you used to have as a kid when you would imagine yourself on the biggest stage in the biggest moment and being able to deliver for the people? For me it was always the NBA Finals, Game 7, 4 seconds on the clock, down by 2, on the road, and me hitting the clutch setback 3-pointer and setting the basketball world on fire. Everyone has their own idea or version of their dream moment, Kurtis Morris has been able to channel that feeling, and use it as fuel for his modeling career which is still in it's young stages. As a kid, he said that he "always had dreams of 'seeing my name in lights'" and as someone who has known this guy since he was just a teenager working at a baseball stadium, I can tell you that this guy has what it takes to make his dream happen.
In the modeling world, it is so important to be where "it" is at. Wherever "it" is, you gotta be there to be noticed, cherished, and accepted. Morris recently made the move to New York City to try to be a part of something bigger. He now has a deeper understanding for the modeling industry, because the city has taught him how deeply rooted one has to be within the culture to truly understand it's complex nature. He says, "Modeling isn't just a good looking person standing in front of a camera; it's being able to convey emotion & feeling thru movement and expression while drawing the audience in."
Morris has bigger plans set in his sights than just being a model at some company. His goal to promote diversity and versatility through his art makes him a hot commodity within the modeling world. Narrowing his options down at this point in his career is something he doesn't want to do, he wants to allow the world to come to him. As he continues to practice his craft everyday, he has an understanding that his image will continually change throughout the course of time. Modeling, just like many other art forms, changes constantly. So for Morris to be able to know that he has to be marketable, just shows that his mind is in the right place.
Being able to ask Kurtis these questions, only opened up my eyes to my dreams and goals. We all need to channel our dreams we had as children to be able to find happiness in whatever it is that we are doing. I doubt I will ever be in the NBA, but just remembering that feeling I imagined in that moment, and striving to continually find some feeling that is just as impactful will only help me be more passionate about everything I do. Kurtis Morris is already having an impact on the people around him, and his form of art will only reach more people as he continues to perfect his craft. As he is just beginning to sizzle on the scene, with his drive and passion, he will eventually set the modeling world on fire.
Thank you Kurtis for allowing the world to hear a little bit of your story!
Follow him through his career on Instagram @Kurtis10_0
If you would like to read the transcript of the interview, read below! It is absolutely worth it.
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.