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Tyler Hopkins – Cemental
If you're looking for the definition of "underground", this one might be the answer : Cemental (noun) /ˈsɪˈmɛnt(ə)l/ – zine 100% dedicated to a niche market who is itself in a niche market.
To make it short; Cemental is clearly a skatezine for those who are more hyped by crusty spots, abandoned pools and creativity rather than by big corporate contests and millimetre-exact calculated lines.
First thing, can you shortly introduce yourself? (Name, Age, ...)
My name is Tyler Hopkins. I'm 31 years old. I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I've been riding a skateboard since I was a little kid and have always been into art and being creative. In the past decade of my life I have formed a sever addiction to lurking and pool skating. I have a BA in Graphic Design as well as experience in an array of other jobs and talents including lumber handler, farmer, cook, handyman, etc. I have a philosophy that if you're interested in something, experience it first hand.
Can you tell us about Cemental? At a time when almost everybody have their noses stuck on their screens, what motivates you to publish a printed zine?
I grew up in the 90's, an age where the internet was still being formed into what it is today. Social media did not exist. The way my friends and I found out what was going on in the world of skateboarding was by going to our local skate shop to scope the magazines and buy the hard copy DVD's. Hard Copies. That's truly what it's all about; making something tangible. I want to be able to hold something in my hands. That makes it "real" to me. The internet is cool. It has its pros and cons like everything else but it will never replace print. A book doesn't require batteries or wifi and isn't sensitive to an electro-magnetic pulse. Making a zine can also provide a good creative outlet that also allows you to share whatever you like with the world, rather than just adding to the continuous online vomit.
Why "Cemental", and what does that name mean to you and what is the story behind it?
Before Cemental, I was playing around with another skate zine. It was more satirical and poked fun at a lot within skateboarding as well as a major corporate company. Of course, by means of the internet, they received word of my 'print project' and their legal team proceed to send me some good ol' fashioned cease and desists. When that happened in 2015, I decided to get a little more serious and make an original, core skate zine. The name was that hardest part. But one day I was brainstorming with my buddy Paul and we came up with the combination of the world 'cement' and 'mental', originating from the mentality that were all mental for cement! The final test was to google the word. I wanted to make sure there was no previous skate associations with it. The only thing that came up was tooth fractures and horse milking. I was sold!
Do you have zines references (of all kinds)? What inspires you?
Growing us I was subscribed to Thrasher and Transworld Skateboarding. They will always be print foundations of my youth. My first experiences with zines came at a young age though. I was exposed to a lot of cool 'how-to' zines and art zines by older friends. Then in my teenage years I became more enthralled with anarchist and anti-establishment zines. Some of the earlier skateboard zines/magazines that I can recall being into were Concussion, Confusion and The Larb. After taking all of these publications, cramming them into my head and stirring them up into a soup, I was eventually inspired to create my own zines. I try to be original when creating my own zine, but in reality what's really 100% original these day.
Publishing its own zine is an amazing opportunity to send out a message or an idea.
Is there one (or more) message(s) you try to communicate through Cemental?
There are many messages I try to convey, changing from time to time. But one of the main messages I put out there that stays consistent is the fact that anyone can do this. Anyone can be creative. I want people to realize they can get out and do whatever they want, all on their own. I hope that through my writings, photos and creating, that I inspire others to do the same. To step out of their comfort zones and experience the raddness this world has to offer.
Publishing a magazine/fanzine is a lot of work.
How does the making of an issue works? With whom do you work?
I have friends, local and foreign, that contribute photos and content from time to time. I do much of the photography and writing myself though. When it comes to the layout and design, I do all of that work myself. I have a few friends who help proof read and provide creative criticism but most of the actual zine creating is done within the confines of my workspace. Acquiring all the content combined with layout usually takes 2-3 months. Then I send it off to the printers. To save on cost, they send back big boxes of unfolded paper. I then have to fold each zine, page by page and hand staple them. Thus, the zine is born on a budget.
Besides the time needed for its making, the production of a magazine/fanzine isn't costless.
How do you manage Cemental's financial aspect?
We have a website and an Etsy (etsy.com/shop/ty619) where you can buy an array of products - Koozies, DVD's, t-shirts, zines, etc. But in reality a lot of the sales just pay for themselves or to help fund travels which in turn fill the pages of the zines. It's a fun creative cycle but not always self sustaining. Therefore, I have a 'regular' job. Or should I say one with reliable income. Which in turn means that I put much of my own money towards this project with no expect for financial return. If you're not doing it for the love of it, you're probably just not doing it.
Regarding finances, do you accept any kind of advertisers?
Or did you impose yourself some kind of safeguards?
Over the years I have run some advertisements in many of the issues but they have always been with local companies/ shops and I have always worked with them, accepting product donation or simply doing it for free. I was more interested in uniting the local skate community and getting everyone involved, rather than trying to use corporate support to help run the zine. It is more of a grass roots effort where we are taking back skateboarding from the mega-corporate companies that all of a sudden care about what we're doing. I understand the argument that we all need to live and I agree it would be cool to make a living off of skateboarding or running a zine, but in the end I think it would compromise the whole reason I started Cemental.
In recent years the interest in print media has continually decreased. Skateboarding zines are increasingly harder and harder to find, even in skateshops. Do you worry about it?
It is a bummer, yes. I love zines. I have a fat collection and I would love it to continue to grow. But no, I do not worry about it. Things go in cycles. Creativity always finds a way. All as I can do is keep creating to hopefully inspire others to do the same.
At the same time, I have the impression that while less people are buying zines, more and more people are making them. Do you share that view?
Any plans for the future? How do you see Cemental's future?
Well at this point, the process of making a zine is still fun so it will continue on. It really is all about the FUN and enjoyment. I don't think I will ever stop traveling and skating and taking photos either so as long as the stoke is there... But I'm really just trying to live in the moment. Whatever happens, happens.
To conclude, if you had to choose between a session with your mates or finishing the next edition, what would you do?
Haha. Obviously a session with my buddies. That's why I happen to lag sometimes on releasing an issue. Without those rad sessions and epic times, there would be no zine for you guys to read. The adventures and real life experiences provide not only the inspiration to create the zines, but the content.
Last word? Any shout outs?
"Get up, get out and do something. Don't let the days of your life pass by." Theres a lot of rad shit out there to see. Get some!
Thanks to anyone and everyone who's shown us support throughout the years. All of our friends. Brain Done, Sam Hitz, Peter Hewitt, Rhino, Route 44, Local Skateshop, Slappys, Eduarto, Shane Yee, A-Lowe, Squeegee Prints, WSVT. All of the local companies that have been involved with us. Support you local skate community!!