We had the good fortune of connecting with Tyler McIntosh & Roger Calamaio and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tyler and Roger, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
To be honest, there wasn’t any form of serious thought put into the idea of starting a “business” in the traditional sense, it just seemed natural. We all come from the underground music community that relies heavily on DIY ethics. You make connections with individuals who have their own screen printing operations or operate a label out of their garage. Printing skateboards didn’t seem any different, just a different task.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Desperation Skateboards is co-owned and created by Tyler McIntosh, Kenny Wytaske, and Roger Calamaio. I (Roger) had a reputation for self-publishing zines and organizing conventions of independent publications, so that kind of became a starting point. We were a group of people who cared enough about what skateboarding meant to us that we felt a need to put out a mission statement zine of sorts. Throw our ethos out there and see if anyone else vibed along with it. Phoenix has long been a skate mecca but there was a niche of raw throwback aesthetic that we felt wasn’t being represented. In a community of square pegs we wanted to be the railroad spike. The zine didn’t go over too hot. Not to be deterred however we knew that skaters always respond to product, so we decided soft goods and decks were the logical step if we wanted to convey our vision. Skaters love product, but they’re also creatures of habit that stick to their preferred brands that they feel comfortable riding because it’s a pretty big investment for broke skate rats. As time has gone on, we’ve more or less abandoned any notion of financial success and it’s evolved into a passion project. Creating aesthetics we feel should exist within the format of something we love. All of our graphics are designed and silkscreened by hand on a variety of board shapes and sizes. We print limited runs and our last few concepts sold out in less than 2 weeks. We do what we love and anything after that is a bonus.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Palo Verde Lounge is a wonderful place to unwind and have an adult beverage, it has excellent decor and the staff is extremely helpful. I heard they even fixed the plumbing recently. If you’re looking for some thrills try Castles and Coasters, a couple people broke their necks on the Desert Storm roller coaster but then went out smiling.The zip lines seems sturdier now also. The best burritos are for sure up on the Northside at Los Betos, I only got food poisoning once. If you’re one of those health nuts we know a guy who gets the best blueberries in town at a great price (Tony 2 Hits)! We’d certainly visit our favorite skate spot, the Sunny Slope banks, just make sure you’re armed. We have a secret curb spot, if you want in, buy a board. Locals only.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The Phoenix Skateboarding community keeps us going – anyone who has slapped a Desperation sticker or bought a board.

Brian Paulson is a local inspiration that has encouraged our vision since day one. He runs a small business called Sticker Ghoul and coordinates the monthly Punk Rock Flea Swap at Yucca Tap Room. It’s a great event that supports DIY businesses and the Phoenix punk community. He’s also a gnarly artist and designed our last board graphic that sold out in less than a week.

AZPX is another skateboarding company that has been in the valley for 20+ years. They are 100% local and their vibe has stayed true to the underground spirit of skateboarding.

Last but not least, Our buddy Jose Coronado at Rizen Fingerboards. He’s supported Desperation since jump and we even did some early collaborations. He makes miniature skateboard replicas with the finest craftsmanship. He started a business a few years ago and they have blown up! We are stoked for Jose.

Website: https://desperationskateboards.bigcartel.com/

Instagram: @desperation_skateboards

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/desperationskateboards/

Image Credits
Tyler McIntosh Roger Calamaio Tony Rivera Mikey Radriguez Oscar Griffin

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