One purpose of an editor’s letter is to illuminate the guiding principles of the current issue, giving the reader insight into the process and pursuits of the content therein. In other words, the editor would like to make a case that it all went according to a plan. Or that there ever was a plan to begin with. Not so here. There is, however, a fundamental process at work while we make an At Large issue, an abiding rule finally articulated one night in LA, and to which I now draw the reader’s attention. But first, the rule poses a problem to a serious attempt at a definition as it must be, by its own meaning, (a) acknowledged and (b) ignored. An explanation must be anecdotal. Thus . . .
Three At Large* editors flew to Los Angeles to film a project in concert with Dior. We three met with skateboarder and stunt artist William Spencer at our old Hollywood stomping grounds for an informal confab about skating technicalities, and to shoot the breeze. William, in his words, is a skateboarder you either love or hate. In our words: you either get him or don’t. For Spencer, the skateboard is an idea, as much in flux as the sound of your voice: with the right coordination it can be shaped into infinite expressions. Skateboarding, of course, is limited only by gravity and surface. “The rule is to stay on it,” Spencer said. “And I don’t even do that.” At Large is not a skateboarding magazine. And, although I skated as a kid in the 80’s, I haven’t stepped foot on a deck in twenty years. Yet I get — we get — William Spencer.
And we’ve coveted his rule, or, more accurately, his breaking of it. Pinned to a white foam-core board amid At Large Issue 06 layouts printed off an oversized relic of the Xerox company, is a hand-written decree: The Rule Is To Stay On It, an unsubtle reminder to reflect, repeal and replace.
At Large has no protocol, each issue is begun fresh, made from scratch, a process of reimagining more akin to making an artbook than producing a magazine. As it was with Spencer, so it’s been with all of our contributors, from the manifested destiny of Kron Gracie and the high spirit of Luke Rockhold, to an independant Scott Eastwood and freewheeling Jai Courtney. We commit ourselves to their affect, to work under the influence of that ineffable common quality best described as individuality. Our yields are as footprints, telling not where we are, but that we are going. As TS Eliot said, “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”
— Erik Rasmussen
*In the seventies, High Times magazine staff purportedly coined the term “at-large” for an editor who was allegedly in the office so rarely it brought to mind the “Wanted” posters of the Wild West.