Behind Every Patti, There’s a Good Patti

Elley Norman answers some of our questions about "Patti People," the growing collection of films and images featuring talented women possessing a similar boundless spirit to the great Patti Smith.

What is harder: A- camouflaging your spirit to blend into the status quo, or B- fighting back cultural stagnation for the green light to just to be YOU? For Patti People, ‘A’ is not an option.



But who are these People walking amongst us, in-hand with with the independent spirit of legendary writer, performer, poet and punk vanguard Patti Smith? The answer- undefined. But the evidence points to a special breed of trendsetter and trailblazer. A unique being in pursuit of passion in many forms – music, skateboarding, surfing, art and a laundry list of unconfined future possibilities. A fearless creature that smashes gender norms and stereotypes with little effort. The political takeaway some may surmise from a run-in with Patti People is for them, just the anti-revolutionary act of “being yourself.” Patti People prioritize heart first, and award zero fucks to the man behind the curtain.


Patti People is also the name of a group of creatives determined to celebrate these special individuals. Many of us were introduced to Patti by the participation of skateboarding legend Nora Vasconcellos in their premier film, This Way. In it, Nora is joined by professional surfers Jaleesa Vincent, Laura Enever, plus an endless supply of PBR, on a dreamy trip down a semi-apocalyptic East Coast in their 1994 limo. There is clearly some muscle behind the filming, as Patti presents this fun, meaningful girls trip through a desaturated, artful lens; a series of vignettes patched together with super 8 footage and a dope soundtrack. Traditional dialogue isn’t sewn into this quilt, instead descriptive and well-placed voiceovers by these three Patti protagonists, whose penchant for trench coats (matching the limo vibe) is seen throughout.


After “This Way” wrapped, recognizing our girl Nora’s star quality, Patti People followed up with “This Way- A Western Film.” With the addition of Aussie ripper Shanae Collins, the crew pounds the pavement of the American West in pursuit of quality concrete for some boot-scootin,’ and fringed, 4-wheel fly outs. There is a third and final This Way installment upcoming, and several other must-see short films posted on the Patti People website. These films will fill your soul up with inspiration and never let your independent sprit down. Principal Patti behind the scenes, Elley Norman kindly answered some of our questions.  -Migz


Patti Smith is a singer, writer and artist who became a highly influential figure in the New York City punk rock scene. After working on a factory assembly line, she began performing spoken word and later formed the Patti Smith Group (1974-79). Her most famous album is Horses.

  • BIRTH DATE- December 30, 1946 (age 74)
  • DID YOU KNOW?- Patti Smith had an almost two-month residency at CBGB in 1975. The song “Piss Factory,” which is widely considered the first true punk song, was about Patti Smith’s first job at a toy factory.
  • PLACE OF BIRTH- Chicago, Illinois
  • NICKNAME- The Godmother of Punk
  • ZODIAC SIGN- Capricorn

Who is behind Patti People?


A team of scoundrels haha. It’s a collective of creatives but some of the main players are Scott Wynn who is a co-founder, he’s a creative genius. The shit he comes up with is next level. His brain and talent is limitless. We just put on Erica Yary, Erica has a long history in the skate world. She was a co-host on Weekend Buzz, marketing lead at Stance and the list goes on. She’s an all round good human, we’re stoked to have her as part of the crew. Then myself, I’m the other co-founder. It’s weird talking about yourself so I’ll leave it at that haha


What are you working on right now?


We are working on a documentary around young skate/surf rippers. It’s wild how talented the next generation are. Hopefully ‘This Way 3″ can happen this year. In general, just working on creating cool shit that doesn’t feel like the norm.


What is the best story from the This Way trip?


There was so many, but one that stands out is checking into a place in Philly that we thought was a quirky retro motel. All the rooms had different themes. Once we checked in, we soon realized that it was in fact a shady sex motel. There was porn on all the channels, creepy characters hanging around the parking lot, people coming and going throughout the night. It was funny but gross, no one wanted to touch anything in the rooms, let alone sleep in the beds haha.


What is your background in filmmaking?


Scott and I run point of most of the creative stuff. We’ve both worked in film making for our entire career, mostly in the lifestyle, music and skate/surf world. We’ve been lucky enough to have had opportunities to work some pretty amazing humans, brands and musicians. That’s helped get us to where we are today.


If Patti was a cocktail, what would it be?


Hmmm, maybe a John Daly (which is the boozey version of an Arnold Palmer. Both names are from golfers, one is clean cut and the other not so much.) He’s non-country club- appearance and attitude feels like a good match for us. He also did what he wanted and said ‘fuck it’. We like that, and his cocktail.


What is the greatest feeling in the world?


Love… loving your friends, your family, your passion, your life. It’s a hard thing to come by and doesn’t always hang around. But when it shows up, it’s pretty special.


What was the last thing that made you laugh really hard?


It’s pretty silly, but I did have an encounter with a crow. It flew over and dropped a banana on my shoulder and it was super weird and funny.


What is the last text message in your phone?


A friend sent me a .gif of gorillas dancing and my reply was “hahaha I feel like gorillas actually do this when humans aren’t looking.”


What was the last song you listened to on repeat?


I’m not sure if it was on repeat but I have been listening to a song called ’Sonic Sword’ by Hobo Magic.


What are your future plans for Patti People?


Make fun stuff with good people. Build a world of creativity around us. Promote people that deserve it. Also, work with brands that are willing to do something different and create content that means something or provokes emotion.