Jacob Van Orden
Hi Jacob! Can you tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to lately?
Got back into Los Angeles mid January. I was somewhat on the run, staying with people around in different cities, breathing new air, and meeting new strangers, staring at the images from different views of the world. I began questioning what “home” actually is, observing what the idea is to others.
What feels most important to you at this moment?
Right now I think it is the consciousness of happiness, what makes me happy, what makes others happy, and tuning in to these little details. A friend in New York brought this idea to a conversation we were having and I guess I never thought about it in such detail, so I’ve been focusing on it a lot lately.
Can you remember the first song / poem / story you fell in love with?
Probably “Like Spinning Plates” by Radiohead. It was one of the more beautiful, melancholy songs that always made me think. Every fragment, its strange musical pattern, the lyrics, all the senses are there for me. But the last few years I’ve been listening to Max Richter’s solo work. It’s a daily thing, I’m not even here when I end up there.
Do you have a favorite poem, song or mantra that has been meaningful to you throughout your life?
Can’t really pinpoint anything specific. I guess anything in the moment that feels right, music, a read, the simple things that get me feeling when I’m thinking, or vice versa.
What's your first memory of writing poetry?
There were a few times when as a kid, writing small pieces for a girl I had a thing for. That was good and silly, I remember it well, but really sitting down and writing in a state where it begins to spill was about 6 years ago. I wrote without thinking, no structure at all, I just wrote. Afterwards I sat and tried to decipher where these lines or words or colours came from.
How would you say poetry connects us as human beings?
As much as people may feel that the next person is so different, in all the subgroups and categories we place ourselves in these days, it seems clear that we all share the same basic emotions as humans. Poetry is more than words, its in movement, hands, lips, and our vessels that we operate every day. It’s a constant lingering fog among the sea of us.
What role do you feel poetry plays in our world today?
I feel it varies along the spectrum, from an individual painting with words in a book that only he or she will see, all the way around to the grand scale of someone who has the access to reach the worlds’ eyes and ears through words. It can be an impact to fight for freedom, or describe a fountain to a child. People carry that freedom, to embrace the beauty of expression and ring it out of their body however they see fit.
Skateboarding has played a big role in your life... I'm wondering if you see a connection between poetry and skateboarding?
I see the process being similar. The starting point in both a poem and a dance in the street begin with a blank canvas. A location anywhere, for example, can spark the first material to work with, the colour of a wall and the imagery around it. The poem may begin there by describing the colour, while in skateboarding you physically work with the colour and its surroundings. I personally feel a great connection in the process of either. There is an unconscious freedom that takes place, the moment in each where a flow removes you from reality and you experience a duration of euphoria. Then there is the close relation of obstacle, pain, happiness, frustration, youthful simple joy, and everything in between being told through an individual’s story.
What about poetry and photography?
A photo tells a story as much as a poem paints a picture, they might come from the same alley, a bed in the mountains or someone’s funny teeth.
How would you describe the path of love?
The path of love is infinite, a grand journey into our minds, a backpack of memories we collect along the way, a kiss from a lover in the grasp through the night, a symphony of strings in a field of reeds, a loss of sleep, a slap in the face, a farewell to a friend, a rose on a grave, a ceremony of bliss, the earth’s first sunrise, the one thing invisible that roots our existence and has kept us all from going completely insane. Somebody said that once.
How would you describe the path of fear?
Fear is a point in everywhere, at anytime, when we may stop in our tracks to consider what is on the other side of a choice, a positive or negative. We all have our own version, I suppose it’s just about how we handle it. Sometimes my head is in the clouds and I forget about it, or breathe with my mouth open and my Grandpa tells me to close it or I’ll catch a fly one day. I caught a bee in there when I was younger and immediately remembered those words. Sal was right. You live and you learn.
What is your dream for the world?
It might do us some good if we all slowed down for a second, just a second.
What is your biggest question for the world?
When will we realize we are all children?
Who would you like to see interviewed on WTTH?
Alfredo Madrid and Jose Manuel Cubias are two people I’ve known for a very long time, real sweethearts. It would be a pleasure to hear from their worlds.
Apr 28, 2018
Photos by Dani Fine
Jacob is currently preparing to release a new collection of photos and poetry in the coming weeks titled “ (p)laying on the tracks “