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‘Get lost, walk, run, bike, drive around and leave your comfort zone.’

Gems in this


Explore Playbook

Feature by Michael Canning

Shafik Kadi has lived on three different continents and in five different countries, visiting almost 50 altogether. Born in Helsinki, Finland, and of Lebanese descent, he lives in Los Angeles, where he’s been working for Diamond Supply Co skateboard supplies since 2012. 

Shafik is known for the unique content he creates, including Out of Bounds, a popular basketball-inspired travel journal. We spoke to him about creative life in Los Angeles and picked his brains on events, beaches, what inspires him, his favorite spots in LA, and where you'll find him enjoying a cold one.


On where you’re from

I am half-Finnish, half-Lebanese, born in Helsinki, Finland.

On moving to LA

I was given the opportunity to move to LA for work, so I immediately packed up, sold almost all my belongings, flew to LA with two suitcases and started a new chapter in my life.

On where you live in LA

I live in Hollywood. I kinda just ended up there when I first moved to LA. My employer provided me a place to stay for a few first months as I was settling in, and I ended up staying in the same area. It’s the most convenient location for my commute and I love living walking distance to things.

On your relationship with LA

It’s a love story (laughs). I traveled to LA for the first time in 2007, and I remember being blown away by the weather, the iconic skate spots, NBA, NHL, entertainment and all the concerts and other things a small city like Helsinki just doesn’t have. Finland is possibly the best place in the world to grow up: schools are great (and free), it's safe and you can really live a worry-free life, but LA is just full of endless opportunities.

Above: Window seat. Below: A United Airlines 747 aircraft in Los Angeles and the streets of LA from above. Images by Shafik Kadi.

On how LA inspires you

The sun! When the sun is out, I want to be out. I want to be doing stuff, going to places. That’s something LA is not running out of: sunlight. What I also enjoy about LA is the diversity. For photos, there are so many different opportunities to capture the city. Just to use as an example, on Olympic Boulevard that cuts through the city — from East LA to the water, which is a quick drive — you can see a full spectrum of different income-level housing, downtown skyscrapers, and everything in between, and end up on a beach. I think LA is very photogenic.

On where you find inspiration

I’ll never get tired of looking at the downtown LA skyline, so any elevated places like rooftops or hills with the view of the city. Griffith Observatory offers great views and I like to run up there, working out and walking through the planetarium.

‘What I also enjoy about LA is the diversity. For photos, there are so many different opportunities to capture the city.’

On current projects

I’m currently working on a project with Diamond Supply Co. and Nike. It’s been a really amazing experience to see this project come into life. Can’t wait to show everyone what we have been working on. I also just recently released my first printed zine titled Out of Bounds, which was a basketball-inspired travel journal; it was a really fun project. The feedback from some of my favorite art-book stores selling it has been great, so I’m gonna try to make more books in the future.

On a popular topic of conversation in LA

It’s always going to be traffic and weather, like it or not. A very highlighted conversation starter at the moment has been LeBron though!

Above: Shafik on the court. Below: 'Out of Bounds', a basketball inspired travel journal by Shafik Kadi. Images courtesy Shafik Kadi.

On getting to know LA

Get lost, walk, run, bike, drive around, and leave your comfort zone. Use Waze (laughs) because it always takes you through the most random streets. The best thing about LA is you could have lived there for years but you can still discover something new all the time.

On good food

I love Jon & Vinny’s on Fairfax — the food is amazing. On a day-to-day basis, I find myself almost once a week at Tocaya on Sunset Plaza, or Tender Greens for comfort food.

‘Get lost, walk, run, bike, drive around, and leave your comfort zone. Use Waze (laughs) because it always takes you through the most random streets.’

On your favorite LA spots

During the summer, we always drive down to Laguna to hang out at the beach. The water is beautiful there. When in Hollywood and you want to grab a cold one, find me at Frolic Room. In Downtown LA, I always want to go walk through the Broad Museum; they have a beautiful building and a very very impressive collection of art.

On an event worth checking out

Rose Bowl Flea Market. This is one of my favorite things to do in LA, and I highly recommend this to everyone. Set your alarms early.

Above: Self portrait at The Broad Museum in DTLA. Below: Shafik at the Diamond Supply Co. office space. Images courtesy Shafik Kadi.

On something from Finland you need a fix of in LA

The candy and chocolate is so good in Finland; I haven’t found a match yet from the US. Luckily I have friends traveling all the time, so usually it’s pretty easy to get it. Also there is Sockerbit on 3rd St next to the Grove — that has an okay selection — and Shoop’s European Market on Main St in Santa Monica has a lot of my favorites too. The only thing I’m really missing and haven’t found yet from LA is the dark rye bread from Finland. When I’m missing a home cooked Lebanese meal, I go to Open Sesame Grill for lunch or dinner, or Bowery Bungalow for brunch.

On window seat or aisle

Always a window seat!

On LA in one word



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