Skateboarding, painting and music is all “real art” according to local musician Matthew Winters and filmmaker Ruska Williams. Ruska and Matthew’s Private Shows, RAMPS, are a series of video episodes that showcase a variety of talent including skateboarders, musicians and artists. Winters and Williams released the first episode they created, or “issue” as they like to call it, on Oct. 22 on a projector screen at Pacific Avenue Pizza in Browne’s Addition, Spokane, Wash. The October issue of RAMPS starts out with Winters and Williams skateboarding through downtown Spokane. Their fellow skateboarding friends, Steve Ladderman and Andrew Washburn, donated skateboard ramps to Winters and Williams, which were later transferred to the local skate park in Spokane. That is also partly where RAMPS got its name.
The idea behind RAMPS began one night when Winters and Williams were bored in their cabin. They decided to make a video of Winters playing an acoustic rendition of a Dead Kennedys song called “Moon Over Marin.”
“We watched the video later and we saw this painting in the background,” Winters said. “We figured since we have music, video and art, we should keeping doing this.”
The next night RAMPS was born. Winters and Williams brought in new artwork and new musician friends to film another video.
“We wanted to feature something no one had ever seen or heard,” Williams said.
Winters and Williams both have years of musical experience. Winters started playing music when he was 10 years old and is now a recording artist. He plays the bass, guitar, piano, and sings and writes his own music. Currently he plays in a band he formed, called Team Growl.
“My dad introduced me to music at a young age and always kept my mind open,” Winters said. “He was my biggest supporter and my biggest fan.”
Williams has also been playing music for many years. He played the trumpet in junior high, and continued to play music through high school, where he learned how to play the bass and guitar. He graduated from Eastern University’s film program in 2010.
Winters and Williams consider each other to be life-long friends. They met while they were both going through a rough time and agree that they saved each other’s lives through music, encouragement and skateboarding. Now Winters and Williams want to give back using RAMPS as the medium.
The first few segments of video are what Winters and Williams like to call mini-ramps. Like the video of Winters playing “Moon Over Marin,” the videos tend to be three to four minutes long. RAMPS’ full length episodes tend to run much longer; the October issue is over 20 minutes long.
“We started it just to have fun, and now it’s become a jump-off point for artists, musicians and skateboarders alike,” Winters said. “There is so much talent out there and we want to showcase it, to keep the windows and doors open for all involved, and to keep the kids on skateboards.”
RAMPS episodes are aired on Community Minded Television, CMTV, on channel 14 Tuesdays at 10 p.m. and Saturdays at noon.
“The goal is to sell the show to Fuel TV, go from town to town and give underprivileged kids ramps, while showcasing artists, musicians, and skateboarders from those towns,” Williams said.
Skateboarders, musicians, and artists have the opportunity to share their crafts with a wider audience, according to RAMPS’ YouTube page. As donations are contributed toward these private showcases from featured artists and other participants, Winters and Williams said they hope to continue filming and build more skateboard ramps for children.
Story By Brianna Anderson
Photographer: Alex Spencer