Steve Olson X IWS Smile High Club

Today is Steve Olson’s birthday, and it seemed like a good time to see what he has going on. Here’s a quick interview to fill you in on his upcoming art show and IWS clothing collaboration with Aussie surfer, Luke Stedman’s company, Insted We Smile, as well as a preview of an Andy Kessler tribute sculpture Olson has been creating and more… Happy Birthday, Olson!


Steve Olson at the Brooklyn Banks in 1986. Photo by Christian Lepanto

Mr. Steve Olson, tell me a bit about what you have going on next week?

Oh, are we doing this right now?

Oh, are we not?

[Laughs] Yes, we are. Have we already started?

[Laughs] Yes, we have started. The checkerboard flag is flying. Wait. That’s the one at the end of the race. That would mean we’ve finished and we won!

Right. Okay, good.

[Laughs] Wait. Instant replay. Green flag. Go.

[Laughs] Yellow, red, green… Go! Okay, next week, on the 2nd of September, I’m having a show with a friend of mine, Luke Stedman. He lives in Australia and he does a company called Insted We Smile. We did a collaboration of some clothes using phrases and patterns from some paintings that I made and they will be showing at American Rag on La Brea from 7 to 9pm. The Smile High Club looks really good. It’s all about smiling, even in the worst situations. You know what I’m saying?

Steve Olson Smile High Club Art

Steve Olson Smile High Club Art

Yes! So everyone will get to see art and clothing in this show?

Yes. We did art and clothing, eight to ten pieces, together. Some of the work will be on the wall and it’s really a launch for the collaboration and Insted We Smile. There’s a big piece called the “Smile High Club” too. It will be a nice show and it should be fun.

Is this the first clothing collaboration that you’ve done?

Yes. It’s my first clothing collab.

That’s a very intriguing combination – Olson art and IWS apparel.

Yeah. Luke used to be a top ten surfer, so everything is looking smooth. We also did a sculpture piece. The sculpture is some of the clothing that has been cast in resin upside down standing in a cloud of cloth that looks like a brain and also a tortoise shell representing a sea turtle with a leg sticking out. It’s kind of a representation of an ostrich with its head in the sand.

Luke Stedman and Keegan Gibbs on location in Venice beach for IWS. Photo by Trevor King

Luke Stedman (Founder of IWS) and Keegan Gibbs (co-founder of House Beer) 
on location in Venice beach for IWS. Photo by Trevor King

I have to ask about another sculpture that you have in the works of Andy Kessler.

For the great Andy Kessler, I started the form of a sculpture, which hopefully we can get put up at the 108 Riverside Skatepark. The city is being a little bit difficult, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. We’re pushing forward and hopefully, with help from all the people out there, we can get that thing up in honor of Kess.

Calling the skate army. Let’s give Kessler a tribute!

Yes! It’s a sculpture based on the famous photograph by Ivory Serra of Kessler pushing down the streets of New York, which he was infamous for.

Classic New York skateboarding shot.

Yeah. The sculpture is a representation of that; Kessler skating through the park to get his skate on. Hopefully, we can all get behind this and make it happen.


Andy Kessler tribute sculpture in progress by Steve Olson

Yes. That would be great. Okay, where can people find the new clothing that you’ve put together with IWS?

It’s all on the website

Cool. Will this be a one night show or will it be up for a minute for people to come and check it out?

It will be up for a while. It’s more of an installation along with the collaboration. Luke is a good friend, so we’re doing it.

 IWS X Steve Olson Smile High Club tee. Available at

IWS X Steve Olson Smile High Club tee. Available at

Excellent. What else in on the art and skate horizon for Steve Olson?

Always keep skating and, at the same time, always keep making art. I have another sculpture going for a skatepark down in Texas next year and that will be really wickedly mind-confusing. More to come on that.


IWS presents a Steve Olson art show:

IWS presents a Steve Olson Art Show, September 2, 2016 at American Rag located at 150 S. La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA at 7pm with Music by DJ Kate. ISW is celebrating the launch of its Fall 16 collection entitled ‘90291’ inspired by Skater/Artist, Steve Olson. Help celebrate this occasion and view the art that inspired the IWS X Steve Olson collaboration. Sponsored by House Beer and Santa Vittoria Acqua Minerale.

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