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Official Genius | Interview


Are you smart? No, I’m an Official Genius! OK OK, before I get too ahead of myself, let me explain what I know and dig a little further into what being an Official Genius really means. Does it mean being smart? Sure. Does it mean being savvy? Yeah, sure. Does it mean you are cool AF and support a movement? I think so! But let’s find out from the man, the myth, the founder of the Official Genius brand, Dustin Amato. Hold up, hold up. Let’s all spark on first. This is going to get interesting, I’m sure of it.

Official Genius 'Aim High'

Where are you right now?

It’s been a busy year driving across the country, we started in Seattle down the west coast through the Las Vegas HQ, down into Arizona, and are now here in ABQ New Mexico, talking to NMBEARDEDMAN.


Appreciate you taking the time to do this. What’s next?

We are on our way back to Oklahoma, to meet up with Pinky’s in Muskogee and plan out the next Oklahoma glass challenge. Then gotta restock Texas. The hustle never ends.


I’ve known about your brand Official Genius for a while now, but tell me how did you get started?

The “Official Genius” experiment is almost a decade old, when I first teamed up with my good friend Uncle Grumpy, to release our first collection of products, in 2012. Our first big purchase was some custom snapback hats, and stickers. A LOT of stickers. Probably too many stickers in retrospect, but we needed to get the name out there and we are from the sticker slap generation, so we slapped stickers.

Official Genius 'Baby Bib'

How did you come up with the name “Official Genius” for your brand.

We were looking for a smart name that could represent anyone. That could stand out on its own, we wanted something that represented what we were about without overstating it. My Brother and I were tossing names back and forth when we eventually came up with OG, Official Genius.


What does the brand stand for?

It stands for being yourself and doing whatever makes you happy, whether it’s making music, gaming, skateboarding, snowboarding, DJing, Trading Crypto, partying, traveling, or smoking weed. Being an OG, to me means balancing your life so you get the most out of it. Dream your life and then live your dreams, kinda vibe. Ya know, AIM HIGH.


What’s up with the skate and snow teams?

I started my design career because I wanted to create graphics for our snowboarding /skating /jackass /whiskey inspired videos we were filming and editing from 1996-1999. So we grew up in that culture and community and were able to get a lot of stuff growing up from cool companies that supported us kids. So when I started my brand, it’s always been just doing what we like to do, so giving back to skateboarding, and snowboarding was always just part of our lives and came naturally. We try to host a few events each year, and got some fucking sicc riders representing, biggups Ricky Thizz, Tom B Bennet, Curren Weber, Jaromie the Homie, Tsak The Kat, Flaska, Jay Livin, Bogart and Bozung, DUH. Check out our annual rail jam at Eagle Point in Beaver Utah, which we throw every spring, with Park Fab, called the Mongo Smash. Cabins sell out fast so make sure to book as soon as we announce it. Utah’s best kept secret, No lift lines… (shhhhh. )


Who is on the Skate Team?

Ahh man, we had had lots of kids on the team, but I’ll just name a few and try and list the rest, my apologies if I forget anyone. Jason Thurtle, a technical master who imho a couple of pro level parts for Blind Skateboarding and is just a contest beast, winning a lot of events in Vegas and is almost done with a new part with BET, wreck wheels, pharmacy board shop etc. Joey Esteban who has been riding pro for the last few years for FSC & Theeve Trucks just dropped his latest part on the Thrasher website from Lights the video, go watch it if you get a chance. His latest pro-model is available, go swoop one from Enchantment board shop in Gallup, NM or any skate shop that carries FSC. Sean Snow aka the Street Genius out on the east coast, one of the most creative skaters I have ever seen ride, he is always dropping viral clips, Weird Wednesdays is his forte and could probably drop an entire park on a mini skateboard. George Campoverde, RIP, was the one who put together the original team, and we have been keeping it going in his honor. Shout out all the supporters and team members past and present, we couldn’t do this without them. Especially, Travis Prange, Travis Myers, Eman, AtomC, Doug Ska, Rag Doll, Chris Dunne, Juan, Mickey, Tr0n, E-Drew, Skate Bus, Reapers Grip, Richie aka the DIY legend, Jaymeer, Lee, Dirty Business, The Block, Orange Flag, Mas Vegas, Zoo Krew, Braydon, Double D, the finger boarders and so many more this list could go on forever. We appreciate anything and everything you have done for us.


Is it true you invented the smoking mask, during the pandemic?

Idk if we invented it, but we sure as hell came out with it first. We started making masks in early March right as the pandemic was just picking up. My publisher and friend at Smash magazine wanted to make drinking masks, so they could still sell drinks at venues in Las Vegas. I put together a design template, adjusted it a few times, made the hole bigger, and collabed with a lot of major glass artists like AKM, Salt, Jolex, Preston Hanna, Shaggy. We made them for dispensaries, cultivations, brands and this is what really helped us through the pandemic.

Official Genius 'OGLV'

And then another company knocked it off?

In my opinion, they released an inferior product, with heavy magnets. I was bummed about it for a while, but now I look at it as a compliment, we did something so dope a big company like RAW copied it. It’s not the first time they have done it to other products and probably won’t be the last. I was never trying to be a smoking mask company, it was just a fun concept that I repurposed from a drinking mask and marketed as a different use. The rapper Rick Ross actually knocked it off first, but having actually known and met Josh at Raw multiple times and vended at the same shows as him, I guess I just expected more from “industry friends.”


Where can people find your gear?

Mainly at mom and pop stores, we get the most love from small businesses but have been working on bigger deals that we can’t talk about yet publicly. We are excited about the future. Currently hit up places in Las Vegas like Gorilla Radio, The Drop, Tattoos and Smoke, Pharmacy Board shop. In Arizona, hit up Smoke-N-Thangs and Liquid Chicken. In New Mexico, we got lots of love from Yoodab Distributors, Just Urban, Full Spectrum, and Enchantment Skate Shop. Salt Lake City – Borosyndicate, Winter Park Colorado – Divide Board shop, Oklahoma – Pinkys, Curiozities, Giddy Up, BS unlimited. Smoking Smittys in Montana. In Texas and Cali too many to name.


You are always dropping cool collabs, what have you designed recently for other companies?

We got some new hats out with Redwood cultivation that features the strains they grow for Mike Tyson, Cheech, Chong, Cookies and they all got their own panel on the inside. Calipo, a strain from the UK, had us design his new orange hat. Black Diamond in Sacramento had us make his winter line of hoodies, tees and hats, rolling trays, grinders and other fun stuff. Did some facemasks for a Nick Diaz signing during UFC 268. Just finished the new hoodies for the Glass Vegas expo show, hat pins for some well known cannabis brands, and a New capsule for a Drift Car driver, Modified Performance. Lots of new stuff in the pipeline. It’s going to be a fun year.

Official Genius Preston Hanna 'Facemask'

What events will you be vending at soon?

We will be doing pop-ups all holiday, and primarily focusing on the next Glass Vegas expo, where we will debut some new products. We have been having fun at the Evil Twins electronic music and fire breathing events, all the cannabis awards in Las Vegas, Orange County, Phoenix and Oklahoma City, potentially chronicpalooza, kushstock, champs, designer con and anywhere else we can slide in. S/O Mark OG for always holding down the boothes.


Ok, this king size genius joint is almost out and I got some great answers, is there anything else you want to add?

Just thank you again to NMBEARDEDMAN, Cannabis Cactus, all the OGs that shared knowledge, pointers, provider assistance and every single person that has ever supported me, whether you just bought a hat, or got a closet full of gear, your support means the world to me. All the Djs, Drumz, OG Serg 1200, B Genius, the Rappers, J Richter, Dizzy Wright, Riff Raff, Ekoh, Nite Breed and Chucky Chuck and the King Klick, and all the event producers that have allowed us to shine, y’all the real OGs. We salute you!


Is it genius? No its Official Genius. Man, they seriously are making moves in the cannabis industry, the athletic industry, music industry, and more! It’s pure genius. Like they say, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I don’t know who said that besides my Nana but Official Genius definitely knows and follows that old saying. Not only are they cool AF but they support and sponsor cool stuff too. NMBEARDEDMAN Approved.

 


Shane-Stanford-@NMBeardedMan

Shane Stanford is a dank dad living in New Mexico. Read more of his articles and follow him on Instagram @NMBeardedMan

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