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In the late 1970s, as an original member of the Dogtown skateboard gang in Southern California, Stecyk changed the look and attitude of skateboarding forever. As a result of familial and neighborhood connections in the Venice and Santa Monica areas of Los Angeles, Stecyk grew up around car customizers and auto style progenitors like George Barris, Dutch Darrin, Gil Ayala, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Von Dutch Howard, Phil Hill, Dean Jeffries and Ed Iskenderian, as well as legendary surfers and board builders Dave Sweet, Dale Velzy, Miklos Dora and Greg Noll.
Beginning his career as a surfboard designer and graphic artist while working out of the small Zephyr surf shop, Stecyk is considered one of the first to incorporate many outlaw elements of surf and skate culture into the equipment and attendant gear. He is perhaps best known as a documentary photographer. His articles and photo essays for Skateboarder magazine in the 1970s set a standard for throngs of rebellious individualists to follow. This original documentation of the mid 1970s Dogtown scene altered the lives of a generation, inspiring confidence and encouraging the rebel instinct to flourish. It was through Stecyk’s photographs that the modern skateboarder archetype was brought to light.
Since then, Stecyk has continued his documentary recordings, immersing himself in Southern California’s surf, hot rod and low rider scenes. In 1993, he curated the highly successful exhibition, Kustom Kulture, at the Laguna Art Museum, which featured such seminal underground artists as Robert Williams, Von Dutch and Roth. Stecyk also organized Surf Culture: The Art History of Surfing, was a founding member of the Juxtapoz magazine collective, and was the production designer and writer of the Sundance Film Festival award-winning Dogtown and Z-Boys.