The title of the interview, inspired by Gilbert’s “Doin’ Thangs” part – which will forever be burned into my memory because of its genius intro with the catchy “NO FUCKING AIR BUBBLES” punch line –, hints to what Gilbert is focusing on these days. In between making art, pants, and fixing things around the shop, he answers the phone driving through Richmond, Virginia, momentarily doing away with the confusion as to why he chose a good old-fashioned phone call over a Zoom call to conduct the interview.
Hey, Gilbert. How are you doing?
Doing well, just kinda driving around in the ice-cold weather.
"I like old tattoos and I like old pants."
Are all Cee Blues graphics your designs?
They’re all my paintings and we sell them through the store as prints. I’ve been working on that today, too. We just had some come in a couple days ago and are getting some more made as soon as we can.
We’ve been around a little over two years. It’s been gaining momentum slowly since we opened and was still heading up until the pandemic. The day-to-day activity in the shop as far as running it is my mum. It was actually her idea. It definitely wouldn’t exist without her. I don’t have enough time and skill and focus to be able to do that. Skating and working on clothing and stuff, it’s too many things for me actually.
"You got an iPhone in your pocket and you can just look at exactly what every skater is doing and wearing, it’s almost too accessible to me."
Oh yeah, especially wider pants are getting ridiculously popular at the moment. All these skaters are wearing Big Boys from Polar and if they’re not wearing those, they’re buying 38” waist thrift store jeans or whatever they can find, which is cool. To me, skating has always been really involved in fashion. Everybody is always trying to find the best-fitting pants, shoes, or t-shirts, just to have your kit looking a certain way. It’s almost weird to me nowadays how easy it is to be on trend. You got an iPhone in your pocket and you can just look at exactly what every skater is doing and wearing, it’s almost too accessible to me. Kind of makes me not want to do what everyone else is doing, I guess.
"I’m definitely not past having my day ruined by pants that don’t fit right or any article of clothing that doesn’t fit right."
Yeah, I think it’s the one people pay attention to the most when you’re measuring. Your shoe-to-pant-leg-opening ratio is one that matters a lot, but there are a lot of measurements that I’m obsessed about. I have to be in a window of certain measurements to decide if they are going to work for me or not. I can kind of tell before I put them on if I’m measuring them.
If I had all these perfect skate spots at my fingertips, I don’t know if my skating would be the same and mean the same thing to me, or feel as expressive as it does to me. That’s something I appreciate, I want skating to feel a certain way when I’m doing it. I don’t want it to feel like I’m just working.
"I find creativity in those times where I have to work harder."
Way before! We used to make videos on point-and-shoot cameras and then we made them on cell phones before there was an iPhone.
No, I don’t really try to be on a program. I pretty much just ride my bike, walk our dog. I do stretch, but I’m not like “super fitness man” or anything. I should probably be doing more than I am. I do think about keeping my body healthy, something I definitely pay attention to. However, I feel fortunate, skating feels good these days, and I’m not in a lot of pain. Knock on wood. I’m getting older and I can tell my joints are starting to take a beating a little bit.