12ozProphet Exclusive Interview: Blood of the Young
Blood of the Young is a local publishing house with a knack for all things badass. Its founder and creative director, Dimitri Karakostas agreed to have an interview with us one Friday afternoon in between running errands. Clad in a Remio shirt and wielding a cup of coffee, a sense of anxious diligence radiated off him. After a brief conversation about toys in the city, local skate spots, and why its so easy to make fun of the internet, we finally got down to business.
12ozProphet: Who are you?
Dimitri Karakostas: Creative director of Blood of the Young, photographer, everything that comes with doing what you want and, uh whatever else a boss does
12ozProphet: What do you do?
Dimitri Karakostas: I run a publishing house called Blood of The Young based primarily in Toronto. Pretty much I handle the day to day shit that comes with running your own business. Run around, sending lots of emails, putting in a lot of work.
12ozProphet: How did you start?
Dimitri Karakostas: Initially started out with Reilly and myself, while I was living out in Toronto and he was out in Vancouver. We’ve always been doing zines for 6-7 years before Blood of the Young so it kinda made sense. Most of our projects were one offs with other artists, but we needed to sort-of legitimize our cause to get where we want.
12ozProphet: What is Blood of The Young?
Dimitri Karakostas: *chuckles* I’ve been asking myself the same thing. The zine itself has a pretty big lean towards graffiti and skateboarding, but I guess it’s hard to pin it down… It’s something I like, haha.
12ozProphet: Your photography covers everything from sunsets to skateboards; can you tell me what motivates you to take pictures?
Dimitri Karakostas: A few things, I’ve been shooting for ten years and all my first shit was like graffiti and skateboarding stuff. Eventually I moved on and started taking pictures of just shit bad kids do, Just bragging rights stuff. And I mean I guess it’s the same thing now but the longer you do it the more you get into it. Just sorta taking the same things more seriously, I guess.
12ozProphet: What draws you to analog photography?
Dimitri Karakostas: Just being able to hold a photograph, man. Even as a kid I was just like always into shooting polaroids… Back when tumblr or photoblogs weren’t even a thing. Computers and flash drives break and get lost and that sucks. I like to have a physical archive of what I do. It’s funny to remember how things were before even geocities or angelfire or whatever. But even if my photos weren’t super important then, they are now…
12ozProphet: You have a good sense of humor, I always find myself chuckling at some of your flicks. How do you find your spots?
Dimitri Karakostas: I’m a total hunter opposed to gatherer when it comes to photography. Like I spend a serious amount of time looking for spots; it’s like walk, walk, walk! You gotta really think about it, I mean anyone can shoot a picture of a girl and it’s pretty and everyone is stoked… but I guess it’s not everything, haha. That’s just one part of the game.
12ozProphet: Some of your collabs are great, how do most of them come together?
Dimitri Karakostas: Haha, well we just get lucky. Do a show, meet lots of artists, include them in a new show, etc etc! I mean after a while I think people start to ‘get’ it- we’ve been around for about 4 years and people see that we’re not kidding. I mean, we didn’t just jump on the bandwagon a second ago we’re actually down for life. Most zines get into their 3rd or 4th issue until they fall off. We are quite aware for the amount of work that comes into getting people into making a book or doing a show, so it doesn’t come as a shock.
12ozProphet: I saw some photos you took of Liam the Younger, how’d that come about?
Dimitri Karakostas: Liam’s actually a good pal of mine, he dates one of my close friends. And it was crazy cuz I’ve heard of him and loved his music years before I actually knew him. Knowing him in real life is funny, like ‘fan out i listen to your records a lot’, but he got at me recently about doing some photos for Thrasher, ’cause of the new Think video he did a bunch of songs for.
12ozProphet: How did I’ll Get my Diploma on the Block come about?
Dimitri Karakostas: That zine is sort of the best example for a graff zine the way we like em, really classic layout with a strict cell phone photo mandate. It was actually done by my pal hitmeuponmycellycell, haha. Lots of euro/toronto flicks… kinda just the perfect storm for doing a graff zine.
12ozProphet: What do you think of Toronto’s graffiti scene?
Dimitri Karakostas: Oh lord… what is there to say? We’re at least really lucky to have block by block ink as a local [brand]. Really great independent company, working really hard as well. Just nice dudes which also helps, haha. As for writers, Herbs kills it, adore, crops, crsy, swimfan69, segue, sizeo, and… well, the dudes that everyone already knows and likes are really good at doing what they do. Listen is also around a lot lately, which makes me super happy. dude is #1.
12ozProphet: Craziest story while painting/taking pictures?
Dimitri Karakostas: Oh shit, there’s so many. The most recent I guess was when we were down in Barcelona, actually in a bar we used to go to every night and just get hammered. I went out for a smoke and there was this fire escape so I climbed up it and caught a tag. I remember looking down and right there was three cops just staring at me. I remember thinking oh fuck, I don’t have my phone there’s no way I could get a hold of Sonia or anyone. So I started climbing down, just ready for the search and the cuffs. But the cops just laughed and gave me the thumbs up. It was crazy, I mean there just so used to it there… they have better shit to do than knock a tourist, haha.
12ozProphet: You’ve done quite a bit of travelling, whats your favorite place?
Dimitri Karakostas: Hard to say, I think I’d say Paris is the best city, super easy breezy. The whole city is written on, the pace is so relaxed… it’s just perfect. Parisians are on that tip of minding their own business, which works haha.
12ozProphet: You’ve got a lot of love for the Simpsons, what’s good with a bumblebee man bootleg?
Dimitri Karakostas: Shit, like it sucks cuz I have 400,000 ideas for t shirt designs. I don’t even know what to do first. Like I really love the Simpsons *shows tattoos of bart* I totally do the shirts for myself, if someone likes em that’s even better. I’m way deep on the bootleg game though, way better than most other ‘original’ designs going on.
12ozProphet: Can you tell the readers what a Toronto Tom Collins is?
Dimitri Karakostas: Haha, well there’s a bunch of variations but it’s usually mountain dew and gin, or like toilet bowl cleaner and gin. I remember us going
to Bistro 422- we used to go to as kids cuz they didn’t card. So we went recently and my friend ordered a Tom Collins, and it came out glowing, like fucking glowing green. It was actually poison. Fun when you’re 17, a bummer when you’re 25.
Check out Blood of the Young’s catalog on their site here
and check out the shop here
Text: Sleazy Martinez
Photo: Dimitri Karakostas