California is one of those places where all of its cliches truly, and thankfully, match up to its reality. It’s a dream-like state where endless sunshine and skateboarding reign supreme.
Who better to capture its spirit than filmmaker and photographer Dexter Navy, whose psychedelic aesthetic has seen him adopted into US cultural history. Notably for his work with A$AP Rocky on the trippy music video for “L$D”, and most recently the short film, Moneyman.
As us Brits pack on the layers, Navy takes us beyond the Cali palm trees, to the bottom of swimming pools, out on late night drives and to twilight-lit skate spots in his latest film for Stüssy x Converse, soundtracked by Eagle Blakk. Created in honour of the Stüssy Converse One-Star ’74 collab – a spin on Converse’s classic silhouette that features Stüssy’s signature-style graphics in west coast-inspired colour ways – that debuts tomorrow.
With a brief set to “embody California”, Navy – who has visited the state every summer since he was 18 – set about street casting with Dan Regan. “None of the characters in the film were uncomfortable doing what they were doing because that’s what they really do,” Navy tells me over the phone. “I don’t see why you should try and fake it if you can make it real. That’s what we do best – find real people.” It’s also the people that Navy thinks makes Cali so special, “that’s what California is about... at least for me.”
In his signature style, the film’s hallucinatory colour palette consumes the viewer – with yellow and blue hues dominating like sunshine and water. Navy explains, “I want all my work to be psychedelic, raw, and authentic… there’s always a colour palette.”