JUNE 2010 • NO. 1
TAJ FRANCIS JACEK LIDWIN CHE KOTHARI www.aestheticsnow.com
SUMMER DREAM MUSIC
TAJ FRANCIS HOW A YOUNG ARTIST BRINGS HOPE IN TIMES OF DESPAIR Simone Colosi
IT’S LIKE WORKING WITH A PERSON THAT IS ON THE SAME WAVELENGTH AS YOURSELF, BUT JUST OF A DIFFERENT MEDIUM
hen one thinks of the island of Jamaica, one often thinks of the beautiful beaches, rhythmic music, and breathtaking sunsets. Yet with the rise of its youth stepping into the light and pushing to make a difference, the word ‘talent’ becomes thrown into the equation of what this stunning country represents. Not only does scholastic talent stem throughout Jamaica’s younger population, but now more than ever we see the creativity that breeds through the communities on every imaginable artistic level. Jamaica is not just a pretty face, this is a country where hardship counteracts with the beautiful island scenery, meaning the abundance of knowledge that the youth of Jamaica possess, is often a difficult road to travel, because of the lack of social infrastructure and opportunities. Families struggle as finances are low, with ongoing economic issues that restrict many from reaching their true potential. Many Jamaicans have the talent and knowledge to succeed, but never truly do, mainly due to lack of support and poverty. While the music industry is global, and gives Jamaica the name of the most musically cultured country in the world, the opportunities to succeed within other fields are less pronounced. For one artist these struggles only drive him to fight harder to succeed. Waking up every morning with a desire to make an impact on Jamaica’s artistic landscape, and to be an inspiration to his peers, is a goal that this youth is passionate to achieve. His name is Taj Francis, and he is a 20 year old currently majoring in Illustration at the Edna Manley College School of Arts in Kingston Jamaica. A true cut above the rest when it comes to expressing ideas in a creative form, Taj showed an interest in art from an early age. He continues to perfect his own unique style through his use of pen, brush and ink, spray paint and digital illustrations. He has worked alongside other upcoming artists in different creative fields, as well as successfully making a name for himself as his work manifests into greater forms. Not only has Taj perfected his own style as a fine artist and designer, but his expansion into other fields that allow for him to display his pieces at greater
depths definitely shows that this young Jamaican has a strong future ahead of him. Another big achievement for him is the launch of his clothing line J.Ink. He said "The concept is mainly based around the concepts of music, and are somewhat a bit of a display of revolutionary style messages; like one shirt in particular has a quote from Talib Kweli which states ‘your arms are too short to box with God’, which is then coupled with an illustration that coincides with the message of the quote". He is in the process of organising a fashion show to be held later this month in Kingston, Jamaica, where he will display his T-shirt and ‘hoodie’ range alongside the ‘Momo’; a female style piece of clothing that he designed and named after the model who will be showcasing it on the catwalk. Those who know Taj personally, can appreciate his humble and down to earth personality, and are aware of his love for art and every tiny detail that it entails. Those who know Taj on a professional level are alert to the level of passion that he wholeheartedly expresses through the work he produces, and know that his inspirations definitely meet with his drive to succeed, enabling this young artist to look forward to a future of many rewarding opportunities in art. Let’s rewind to the beginning where it all began for this aspiring artist. While he can’t remember specifically when his love of art began, Taj has fond memories of school days where he and his classmates would be asked what they wanted to pursue during adulthood. Smirking at his peers' responses at wanting to be a doctor or lawyer, the one thing this child was always certain about was they he wanted to become an artist. Too young to fully comprehend the direction in which his passions would lead him; the only thing certain in his mind was that it was a that be had a creative core that must be explored and unleashed. So of course with this comes our curiosity as to what Taj’s first memorable piece of art was, and of course our desire to know is met with a chuckle as he thinks back to the days of Power Rangers.
IT’S MAINLY BASED AROUND THE CONCEPTS OF MUSIC, AND ARE SOMEWHAT A BIT OF A DISPLAY OF REVOLUTIONARY STYLE MESSAGES Taj on his T-shirt and hoodie graphics
That’s right, the first sketch Taj clearly remembers is of the red power ranger that he found years later during high school. He tells us looking back on it that the ranger was disproportionate with odd looking legs, yet the memory is one he is fond of as it is a step he took towards pursuing his love. He spent his adolescent years going to high school and studying what he was told to, and after high school Taj entered the world of Design School. He has only one year left, before he achieves his Illustration Degree at Edna Manley and is in the process of preparing for his final year show. With uncertainty of the direction he will take, Taj expresses a confidence in that regardless of its overall aesthetic feel, his concept will be the most creative that he has done yet; ensuring him every success as the freelance designer he aspires to become upon exiting into the working world. In a country of difficult times, Taj’s passion to continue studying and producing designs of such a high calibre fuels his drive to making his mark within Jamaica’s art scene. Known to many as an inspirational artist who shows a dedication well beyond his years, industry leaders and fellow artists are jumping on board to have Taj create pieces that represent their identity and brand with his use of organic shapes, lines and bright colours, Taj’s combination of ink, pen, digital editing and paint spells the result of an amazing design if executed in the right way… and yes, the right way seems to be all he knows. Through the nature of each project he tackles Taj’s prior experience in comic, drawing cartoons and anime sketches, as well as his ongoing learning process throughout college has enabled him to create a style that is entirely unique and noticeable as his work as soon as it’s seen. So aside from a small introduction into this young artist’s world, Taj allows us to delve deeper on the impact he is having on the arts industry in Jamaica and tells us of some of the bigger projects he has worked on and that are up ahead. One of these projects has been working alongside Protoje; a musician with a style also to be reckoned with. Protoje also a youth in the Jamaican arts field, paving steps to
communicating a strong message to individuals across Jamaica and abroad. So who better to execute this message in visual form? Yes, you guessed it! For Taj, working with Protoje is like ‘working with a person that is on the same wavelength as yourself, but just of a different medium’. After meeting through a mutual friend and initial discussions, Taj was sent a song from Protoje, which he secretly prayed was not another generic dancehall song, from an artist trying to be get a "buss". It only listened to the track once, to know that this musician was someone with whom he connected and he said “I could just tell that his music was of good quality with meaning and depth; like it was like a breath of fresh air for me, especially because I had begun to lose faith in the Jamaican music industry.” Since that day Taj has formed an ongoing business relationship with Protoje that has seen him design his CD covers, posters and more recently, the launch of Protoje's website. It’s no wonder this young artist is making bounds through the precious mountains of Jamaica on a mission for success. We asked Taj what it has been like trying to make a name for himself within an industry that has little to no assurance of a successful future in Jamaica, and his words really opened our eyes to the extent of struggles faced in a country known mainly for its visual beauty. Taj tells us "It's really hard being an artist in Jamaica, it’s not one of most respected life choices among the general public. People's encouragement in the arts are very slim here, it even stems back to the household and your family’s views on art throughout your childhood. It's really sad that there are parents that have no interest in allowing their children to pursue any of their dreams in the art field; there is pretty much no form of encouragement in the arts from parents. Many of them want you to fall neatly in line to society’s status quo, but I strongly digress". Along with wanting a wider acceptance of the arts within Jamaica, Taj for one would like to see more street art or murals around
Wont Be Televised
AS LONG AS YOU HAVE THE PASSION, DRIVE, AND WILLINGNESS TO PUT IN THE WORK, YOU'LL DO AND BECOME GREAT THINGS
Jamaica, as he believes they play a significant role in educating the public about art and ‘expressing a belief or some form of social commentary’. He genuinely has a desire for the public to appreciate art throughout Jamaica. Making leaps and bounds, and heading in a direction that can will only ensure that his every endeavour is appreciated by the level of dedication he puts in, if you haven’t yet been inspired by this young member of a rapidly expanding society then maybe his last words of encouragement directly towards you will do the trick… when it comes to following your dreams, he
said "continue doing so, even if you still don't see a profit for it right now, just continue to work to your best ability and love what you do. Passion is definitely key; if you don't have it for what you’re doing then you probably should not be doing it. As long as you have the passion, drive, and willingness to put in the work, you'll do and become great things. Don't fall prey to scrutiny of others, but take heed to words of wisdom and good advice because you can only fail if you don't learn from your mistakes".
Wrong Side Of The Law
Photography by Marlon James
PHOTO EDITING TUTORIAL We all know that photography is a powerful art form that captures a moment in time and allows you to relive that over and over again. What we don’t all know all of the amazing ways to edit those original stills we capture, projecting them with a new light and giving them that added depth to make an already great photograph even more fantastic. Aesthetics Now are bringing to you some photography tutorials for you to try with your next shoot of pictures to enhance the visual appeal they have and give them that extra punch.
CROSS PROCESSING Very much a 1980’s 1990’s style, cross processing gives a photo a new temperature, adding extra contrast and light to elements of the picture in shadowy hues of blues, reds and greens. This photo style was used commonly in fashion and portrait shoots, adding a new dimension and depth in a unique and interesting style.
STEP 1: Choose a portrait or fashion photo for the best results.
STEP 2: Once you have chosen your image, click on the ‘Layers’ toolbar, drop down to ‘New Adjustment Layer’ and click ‘Curves’. A new layer window will pop up, click ‘OK’. Now in the curves window click the drop down box and choose the Red colour, and then add some points by clicking on the diagonal line and pull the points in different directions so that your curve forms a slight ‘S’. This will give the image a variety of different red hues depending on how far you pull the points.
STEP 3: Now pull down the drop down box and select the Green channel. Follow the same process, creating another ‘S’ until you are happy with the tones of your picture.
STEP 4: Once again pull down the drop down box and this time select the Blue channel. Follow the same process, creating another ‘S’, paying particular attention to getting the highlights to the shade that you desire.
NOTE: Whilst editing these channels ensure that you do not edit the RGB channel as the main goal is to get the tones to the shades that you like before attempting to edit the contrast and strength of the colours.
STEP 5: Now that you have completed this process it is time to play around with the Layer Modes until you are satisfied with the result. In your layers toolbar begin changing the modes until you have chosen one that suits the result that you would like from your image. We have chosen Luminosity as it gives our photo an older effect.
STEP 6: Now it’s time to give your image the tinge it needs to have the visual effect we are aiming to achieve. Click on the ‘Layers’ toolbar, drop down to ‘New Fill Layer’ and click ‘Solid Colour’. Change this colour to a blue hue, click ‘OK’ and then change the transparency of it to 10%; this will give your image a cooler feel and adjust to its depth.
TILT SHIFT PHOTOGRAPHY Tilt shift photography is an emerging trend. Elements in everyday photos are made to look like miniature sides images in a larger world. It is quite an easy technique and the final results are always rewarding. This easy technique gives your work a new dimension and saves you a lot of money to be able to do for free what expensive tilt shift cameras specifically do. So, how do we do this?
STEP 1: Choose the photo that you would like to use. Try and use photos that have object in them that you can in with associate model form like cars and buildings. Also, try and choose an image that has been taken from a higher perspective as it is easier to create a tilt shift effect.
STEP 2: Once you have chosen your image, click ‘Q’ on to keyboard your change the mode to masking.
STEP 3: Click on the Gradient icon on the toolbar and then click on the Reflected Gradient option on the top toolbar (this looks like a horizontal cylinder). What you will not do is click and drag the mouse vertically along the picture, releasing the mouse click so that half (or thereof) of your image is red. Try and follow the line of your image so that you get the best result.
STEP 4: Now revert back from the masking stage by pressing ‘Q’ on the keyboard again. This will show a selection over half of your picture; this is perfectly fine as it will allow us to now edit the image to give it that depth of tilt shifting.
STEP 5: Now that you have completed this process click on Filter on the toolbar, then Blur, and then scroll down and select Lens Blur. You can now begin to play with the different options to create a blurry depth to the top of your image. We have used the following settings which we suggest you follow slightly as a guideline.
STEP 6: With your tilt photo now in effect, the only thing left to do is adjust the saturation to give it an intense colour and increase its depth. On the toolbar at the top of the screen select ‘Image’ then scroll down to ‘Adjustchoose and ments’ ‘Hue/Saturation’. Adjust the hue in a positive direction, brightening the picture and giving it a stronger colour. Once you are happy with your result click ‘OK’.
PAM GLEW OF ONE, WE ARE MANY… THE TRAVELLING ARTIST Simone Colosi
“it felt a bit like setting up a theatre show, but seemed much more direct and was somehow more natural”.
s an artist, the opportunity to travel to every corner of the globe is one that can come with the appreciation on every level for your expression of art, or as a disappointment that some cultures are not accepting of your particular style or the ways in which you have executed your ideas. Pam Glew, a British artist has never had to concern herself with the more negative notion as her artwork is created in a way that displays the pride of each country where her work is shown. She exhibits with a combination of portraits of people that come from that country who have excelled in areas where representation of their hometown is clearly present. This May, Pam’s exhibition “Luminaries” has brought her down under to Australian land. Having never been to Australia, Pam is fortunate to have family and friends currently travelling around Sydney while she is here, assisting her in comfortably settling into an already friendly atmosphere. She has successfully exhibited at shows within Europe and America, taking her styles to Australian shores and giving it the twist that allows it to represent Australian icons in a modest, respectable and extremely creative way. Her method of creating work for this exhibition is one where she creates portraits on top of personalised handmade flags. These flags are created with old vintage denim, and are then dyed and bleached to reveal portraits of models, actors and infamous luminaries that have made their mark in their countries history. Interested in the response that the Australian public will project from this exhibition, Pam understands the connotations that associate with cultures and their representation. She is aware of the importance of each countries flag and the attachments individuals hold to their country through their identity, and after successfully exhibiting in other countries with their own flag, is content with the possibilities this exhibition has in inspiring others. Pam’s exhibitions in Europe and America reflected their own culture with the use of their flags and celebrity icons and won over viewers as they could relate to the works with a sense of pride for the land they resided within on a daily basis. It is for this reason that Pam desired to look into the many
Australia luminaries that have gained world wide exposure for their talents and appeal. Pam has created works with well known icons Dannii and Kylie Minogue, having received a positive response to their popularity in Europe and Britain, and wanted to compare the response that the Australian public will have for their own. With both of these artists she has “used American flags as well and the union jack in both flags which hints at their reach to other countries”. When we delved into Pam’s childhood, we are amazed at the progress this artist has made and the inspirations she drew along the way. Having grown up on the coast of a seaside town in Cornwall, England, Pam spent the majority of her time partaking in plays and annual shows, painting scenic imagery and drawing images of her imagination. Taking an interest in performance she studies Theatre Design in a Drama School in London, where film inspired her to form a unity with cinema and art, working between the two to create works that related in an interesting way. Her progression of works saw her exhibiting in bars and then galleries, taking her from the less well known places to credible exhibiting venues within the UK, and then eventually on her international tours. When she thinks back to her first exhibition, Pam relays fond memories on a show in Brighton and the enjoyment she felts at the support that her many friends offered in assisting in the setting up of the show and attending its launch. She tells us “it felt a bit like setting up a theatre show, but seemed much more direct and was somehow more natural”. From the small gallery in Brighton to International journeys and cultural awareness, Pam stands firm to her inspirations those that she feels encourage her ideas and passions. Listening to music on a constant basis provides a freedom of mind and an inspiration that stems from the executions of others artworks. Taking a step back in time, Pam tells us that she would love to “spend a day at Warhol's factory, just hanging out the studio and seeing all the bright young things, Factory girls,
â€œIt takes a while to really navigate a way in the art world and find the right way forward. Determination is the keyâ€?. Gemma Ward
“ In my experience being very open about your work and keeping chatting about it with friends, galleries, and other creative’s validates it enough that a natural path opens up”. waifs and strays wander around the studio while he made his work”. Loving the notion that pop artists had a sense of freedom that allowed them to successfully work within any social environment, Pam tells us the little things that inspire her to continue achieving goals with extreme determination and drive. She also tells us that another desire she would love to fulfil would be to even spend a moment with the Pre-Raphaelites, “seeing how their social scene combined theory, art and another revolutionary way of viewing the world”. Whilst only in Sydney for a short period of time Pam’s journeys will never cease as her drive will continue to see her creating marvellous works that integrate social settings and the everyday things and people around her that she believes have the potential to create and inspire. Whilst remaining on the topic of
inspiration Pam shares with us some words that we believe should be embraced with open arms to all of those looking to enter the field of arts, those who continue to fulfil their already successful creative ideas, and those who just need that little push to remember the importance of art and the impact it has on an ever changing world. From Pam onto you she would like to share that “it takes a while to really navigate a way in the art world and find the right way forward. Determination is the key. And to constantly have a dialogue about where you want to go, what you want to do and how you think you may get there. In my experience being very open about your work and keeping chatting about it with friends, galleries, and other creative’s validates it enough that a natural path opens up”.
Anthony Hurd LIFE and ART SIMONE COLOSI
MY APPROACH IS VERY LOOSE IN ITS STARTING FORM, BUT MUCH LIKE WHEN YOU LOOK AT A STONE OR THE SKY, THERE ARE WORLDS OF DETAIL THERE THAT SEEMINGLY HAS MASS AMOUNTS OF STRUCTURE. Vibrant colours, unique shapes, a combination of amazing illustrations designed upon backdrops of wood; when you see a piece of art encompassing all of the above elements one cannot help but to think of Anthony Hurd. Based in Sedona Arizona, this freelance/contract artist, director, illustrator, designer and animator has a portfolio that spans working with numerous companies, whilst winning a number of awards that demonstrate his excellent artistic ability. He has a unique style that breaks completely out of the mould, and his interpretation of everyday life inspires him to create a world within his art that is a representation of his every belief. Anthony stumbled across an artistic career on so many levels. As an active child, he was always pursuing some form of the fine arts, partaking in the many creative tasks that most youngsters enjoy. Yet for him it was different, some could say itâ€™s a coincidence that his artistic passion as a child led him to where he is today, but those who know him and have seen his work, know that this path was paved long before Anthony even knew, and that it was his journey to travel down the road and develop the skills that have now made him a successful artist. THE ABUNDANCE
His talent for design and animation naturally developed throughout his teenage years and has been making significant progress since. Whilst excelling in any task his puts his mind to, Anthony was sure that he would eventually pursue a career that involved some form of art. He dipped his hands in those that had absolutely no relation to the artistic such as air conditioning installation, bartending, counselling and even managing clubs. Yet, none of these roles held any form of purpose with the passion Anthony had for art, and eventually he pushed them aside to support his creative endeavours with even more creative decisions. His level of motivation and drive saw Anthony quicklyclimbing the trail of knowledge, giving himself high expectations to reach and ensuring that every one of them was achieved with excellence. Attempting to break into the creative world, an ambitious Anthony started a music and skateboarding magazine at the early age of 18, forcing himself to adapt to the processes of print in order to ensure its success. From there he delved into web, motion and illustration, finally finding his own style and using it to work within a number of mediums to create the amazing pieces of art that we see now. Whilst developing concepts and
executing them for the world to see, Anthony tells us that his process of creation is a constantly evolving trend. He follows his intuition and heart, constantly challenging himself to produce new pieces that reflect his influences and the way he understands life. Through study of all things natural and manmade within this world, Anthony allows his perception to guide his way, encouraging him to explore new ideas and experiment with different styles. Through this continuous process of reflection, the execution of Anthony’s works exceeds expectations every time. So what is it about Anthony’s recent works that catches the public’s eye and has one yearning to delve deeper into his mind? Recently, Anthony has “worked very hard at understanding what we consider to be "organic" in look and feel”. Through Anthony’s interpretation and appreciation of what he perceives, he has approached his current style from an interesting angle. In his own words Anthony tells us that his “approach is very loose in its starting form, but much like when you look at a stone or the sky, there are worlds of detail there that seemingly has mass amounts of structure”. With this concept he works with numerous colours to convey reactions, emotions and an overall combination of feelings that the viewer can express through appreciating not only art, but the world around them. He uses a combination of screenshots of Google Earth images in order to research the details of the earth and how it has organically formed and evolved. He then uses what he calls ‘channelling’ to head into a zone of meditation where his level of thoughtlessness allows him to begin working with the shapes of the world to bringing his artwork to life. The final process sees Anthony moulding his artwork with overlaying structures, giving each piece its original
I KEEP BUILDING AND BUILDING AND EVENTUALLY HAVE TO SAY ‘OK, LET THIS BE DONE, I'VE EXPLORED THIS AS FAR AS I CAN WITHOUT LOSING MY MIND
personality by creating a face-like profile and character. Another quality of Anthony’s work is the way in which he plays with the shape of his canvas to influence the vibe of each piece. He experiments with elongated vertical and horizontal rectangles as the aesthetic quality reflects that of the visions within his mind. He feels his “pieces could literally go on forever”’ and he therefore “keeps building and building and eventually have to say ‘OK, let this be done, I've explored this as far as I can without losing my mind”. With a style that grabs the viewers and pulls them to the core of his art, leaving them hanging onto every detail with great attention, one can only wonder what it is that inspires this artist to continue to create works at such a high artistic level. When we heard Anthony’s response, it was no wonder why his art appears in the visual form that he creates as it is a direct reflection of his own inspirations, straight from within him. He is inspired from everything around him; the natural environment, the air that he breathes, his dog, his partner, and every individual detail of his sightings on a
“Arguements” cover design by J.Ink
daily basis… these all play a drastic role in bringing a new dimension of depth to the concept of his art. Not one for compliments or one to be thrown off track by the masses of attention his art attracts, Anthony feels a combination of shock and sentiment when his work is genuinely appreciated. He loves that his work can become a new experience for each person and that they can find a way to relate to the themes and concepts that they see. In his own words, Anthony sums up his feelings for a viewers expression when seeing his not only his pieces, but art in general. With an open minded approach he says “Some people love the work and others are just downright scared of it. So it helps you read where people are coming from. Are they full of fear and think that a visual somehow represents something horrible in their life, or do they find beauty in even the most seemingly ugly things that exist.” Based on this, and Anthony’s positive response at being featured in magazines as well as having won awards, he is definitely entirely passionate about continuing to pursue his artistic dreams, even one day hoping to involve himself entirely in the fine arts world. With an ultimate goal of creating great work for great people, Aesthetics Now is pleased to have been able to speak with Anthony Hurd and share his amazing art whilst taking you on a journey through his imaginative mind. On an end note, we asked Anthony if he could give you, our readers, one piece of advice to encourage you to have the will to succeed within the creative industry and this is what he had to say: “I guess just be true to your heart. I know it sounds cheesy but no matter how far I push myself to do different things and go for big projects, or be out there and involved, more than anything my own happiness is of the utmost importance. As should yours be for you. Know that this is just a small glimpse of time in an utterly endless expanse of the cosmos and we're put here to enjoy it, not to struggle. The struggles are lessons in which we must learn and art is an expression of every lesson we are presented with. Enjoy it and express it!”. For more information on Anthony Hurd, or to view more of his amazing illustrations and paintings, visit him at www.anthonyhurd.com
Dorian Wood Promotions
FRIENDS AND COUNTRYMEN
KNOW THAT THIS IS JUST A SMALL GLIMPSE OF TIME IN AN UTTERLY ENDLESS EXPANSE OF THE COSMOS AND WE'RE PUT HERE TO ENJOY IT, NOT TO STRUGGLE. THE STRUGGLES ARE LESSONS IN WHICH WE MUST LEARN AND ART IS AN EXPRESSION OF EVERY LESSON WE ARE PRESENTED WITH. ENJOY IT AND EXPRESS IT!
THE LIFE TREE
THE LOVE COW
Dorian Wood Promotions
Dorian Wood Promotions
DUNGOG FILM FESTIVAL
THE COMMUNITY ITSELF REALLY GETS ON BOARD PROVIDING HEAPS OF SATELLITE EVENTS INCLUDING STREET PARADES AND MARKETS STALLS In the small town of Dungog the streets are filled with noise as the crowd rolls in numbers. This is no ordinary weekend for these rural residents; it is that time of the year again where they come together in celebration of the arts, which is the annual Dungog Film Festival. When Aesthetics Now caught up with Allanah Zitserman, Director of the Dungog Film Festival earlier this month, we had the opportunity to take a step into her creation and discover the importance of an event that not only benefits the art form of acting and filmmaking, but also one that supports the youth and the encouragement they require in order to fulfil their creative dreams. So what exactly is the Dungog Film Festival you ask? Well, let’s start from the beginning. Having first launched four years ago to celebrate Australian films in a non-competitive environment, the Dungog Film Festival is a showcase of different features, short films and documentaries. Along with these film opportunities for artists wanting to take a firm stance within the filming industry, this amazing festival also features In the Raw script reads, hosts Master Classes in film, as well as creating TV Pilots. With a unique quality in that all material and content is entirely Australian, as well as its ability to capture an expanding crowd each year, the Dungog Film Festival, along with the support of its major sponsor NSW Mining who joined in 2008, the festival has rapidly been growing each year with over 11,000 visitors since its 2007 commencement. Another unique quality of this festival is that it “is a city/country fusion, allowing attendees to experience the magic of the vibrant, Hunter Valley town that is Dungog and to enjoy film in a relaxed environment. The community itself really gets on board providing heaps of satellite events including street parades and markets stalls” With every year of its development, huge progress has been made within the Australian film industry, as well as within the Dungog Film Festival on a whole. They have not only grown in the number of attendees and films that are screened, but have also taken bounds in the programs now in place to allow students to achieve their artistic goals with the support
that not many are offered. With an incredible result from the 2009 festival, Allanah entered 2010 knowing of the current successes yet unsure of the opportunities for it to expand any further; yet she quickly learnt that this was not the case as the year has unfolded at a magnitude that Directors can only hope for. 2010 will be braced for the consecutive running for 3 cinemas, seven different film screening venues, a variety of workshops, a new and improved VIP festival lounge, and the much anticipated Screenwise Speed Auditioning competition; opening endless doors to the opportunities that allow for students to excel in the art form of film. After the progression of one successful year after another, Allanah and her supportive team deserve much credit for conjuring up such an amazing concept that has been put into flourishing motion. We were told by Allanah that her and her partner Stavros Kazantzidis were inspired by the beautiful country surrounding of Dungog and the opportunities that could arise if the right programs were put into place. Troubled by the negative feeling circulating within Australia’s film industry, the duo wanted “to provide a new proactive offering for the film community that appealed to filmmakers and film lovers alike”. In a beautiful setting between the bursting atmosphere of Sydney and the calmness of Newcastle, and in a location that housed the James Theatre, the pair agreed that Dungog was the ideal surrounding for a festival of this nature. The concept of the Dungog Film Festival is one that make any art lovers heart smile. Allanah goal from the very beginning was and “always will be to connect filmmakers with real audiences and vice versa. Not in a warm-and-fuzzy way (although that exists in spades) but helping in a very practical way to shape our cinema for the better, for our future, and to actively assist filmmakers (and our industry) to become sustainable and celebrated. Our future plans are to get better and better at doing this in new and creative ways”. With the ongoing development of new programs
DUNGOG FILM FESTIVAL
within the Dungog Film Festival, you can’t help but to be inspired by the opportunities that are constantly arising for the youth that reside in this rural town. This year they have been awarded with three student programs that allow them to excel in the field of art. As curious minds, eager to form one community through the arts and assist today’s young minds in getting a foot in the door to get the wheels turning within their creative minds, we wanted to know a little more about these programs. One in particular the took and held our attention with us wanting to know more is an Interactive Student Program, held in celebration of the International Year of Youth. Providing “the perfect opportunity for budding young filmmakers to learn from industry professionals, the program allows students to discover Australian cinema culture and filmmaking techniques that will offer a unique opportunity for hands on experience”.
OUR YOUTH ARE THE FUTURE, SO WE AIM TO TRY AND HELP THEM TO TELL THEIR STORIES With a variety of workshops as well as selected screenings of particular documentaries and short films, this program is tailor made to assist the youth of Dungog and in rural areas alike to be offered to opportunity to excel in areas where they are not usually able to. With little to no access to filmmaking technology, through the support and funding of Dungog Film Festival, Australian Film Television & Radio School (AFTRS); Australian Director’s Guild (ADG); and the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA), these children will be given access and advice to assist in their development into the Australian Film Industry. The importance of these programs are perfectly clear, as these specially designed programs are “valuable Festival additions Allanah Zitserman, Director of the Dungog Film Festival
DUNGOG FILM FESTIVAL that tap into our youth market, especially those in rural areas who don’t have the same opportunities or access to technology as students in city locations. Our youth are the future, so we aim to try and help them to tell their stories and understand how to use the tools available to create films by making use of the tools and industry advice”. This year there is also the exciting implementation of Speed Auditioning, a program to assist budding actors get a foot in the door and gain some much deserved recognition. A selection of 10 finalist will be judged through a monologue presentation at the festival, the winner receiving a prize of $5000 cash, and the opportunity to be represented within an 18 month period as well as the enrolment into an “Acting for the Screen” workshop with Screenwise.
attend the festival, this year has showcased a range of films that bleed with talent, originality and extreme creativity. With an extremely successful opening night, as well as the premier of their romantic comedy Surviving Georgia, viewers were wowed by the talent of the performers, quoting the film as being “a knockout and the best romantic comedy I’ve seen for a long time”. Other exciting films screened this year at Dungog were the Australian premiere of Passengers, a feature film created by the likes of Cameron Daddo and Michael Bond, successfully screened on May 29th with an a viewer response of contentment and awe, as well as Road Train; a world premier that features Xavier Samuel, Georgina Haig, Bob Morley and Sophie Lowe, who proudly presented its launch at Dungog this year.
Art on a whole is valued on different levels. Whilst it is one of the harder fields to make a name within, when one does the rewards are entirely satisfying. Film is Giving credit of to the success of this years Film one of the arts that attract conflicting festival to the talented programming opinions about whether films are the team and screen programmer Laura TO HELP ACHIEVE YOUR future of theatrical, to the notion of Macdonald, Allanah is proud to DREAMS AND GET YOUR them being useless with the likelihohave held another successful and TALENT NOTICED od of slowly dying out. The Dungog PERSISTENCE IS THE KEY. I inspiring year at Dungog, representFilm Festival is quick to take the sting an array of Australian talent that LIVE AND DIE TO NEVER ance and defend the film industry will definitely lead this beautiful TAKING NO FOR AN and the efforts that the actors, film ANSWER - NO MEANS YES IN country to a blossoming future in makers, sound directors, typograpfilm. MY VOCABULARY hical artists, and the remaining team put in to fulfil their dream. The festival plans to remain Whether in the film industry or partaking in any other relevant as time based media continues to evolve, area of creativity one thing remains; the passion you with ongoing future plans that detail further developwithhold for your desired career path is one which ment at securing film as a sustainable, expandable should not lead you astray. In a constantly changing and successful form of art. Allanah tells us that “in this world we are faced with many obstacles and hurdles ever-changing climate, Film festivals, need to get to overcome when fulfilling our dream in the arts. The proactive and it is this notion we are embracing at Dungog Film Festival has set a platform to allow Dungog by making it our responsibility to actually developing, known and passionate Australian support content creators and the films we invite”. With filmmakers to have their break into a creative world, to future plans to develop the film industry to better that gain the support that is generally needed from the artists that genuinely have a desire to fulfil a career in outside community to become a success. In closing this trade, The Dungog Film festival has created a another successful year of the Dungog Film Festival sister company, and with the assistance of distributor for 2010, Allanah shared some wise words with us on Australian Film Syndicate have realeased four amazher method of ensuring her every creative endeavour ing Australian movies. DFF has also formed creative is met with the determination for its success, these connections with iTunes and Technicolor to create the words being “To help achieve your dreams and get “Dungog Collection.” Launching soon with, as well as your talent noticed - persistence is the key. I live and having “developed a new program with Oovie and die to never taking no for an answer - no means yes Screenwise Speed Auditioning - to inspire young in my vocabulary”. filmmakers across the nation and discover new talent. These programs are taking place outside Dungog, More on the Dungog Film Festival and the wrap up of spreading the festival’s reach. And is what forms our another successful year can be found at re-definition of a film festival”. http://www.dungogfilmfestival.org/ Whilst not all of us have been given the opportunity to
DUNGOG FILM FESTIVAL
SURVIVING GEORGIA Sisters Heidi (Pia Miranda) and Rose (Holly Valance) go about their daily lives separately. Heidi works in a glass factor while her sister travels between boarding houses with her young son... that is, until the mother that abandoned them passed away, leaving behind a mystery letter that would change their lives. Directed by Kate Whitbread and Sandra Scriberras, this picturesque film, set in the beautiful Victorian countryside where the hills and valleys flourish amazingly, this romantic comedy takes you on a journey of love, friendship, the bond between families and the ability to change the path of your future in the best way possible. Credits: Dir: Sandra Sciberras and Kate Whitbread / Scr: Sandra Sciberras / Prod: Spencer McLaren, Kate Whitbread / Cast: Pia Miranda, Holly Valance, Shane Jacobson, Caroline O'Connor, Spencer McLaren, Toby Wallace, Katerina Kotsonis, Alyssa McClelland / 2010 Duration: 90 mins
“THIS ROMANTIC COMEDY TAKES YOU ON A JOURNEY OF LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, THE BOND BETWEEN FAMILIES AND THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THE PATH OF YOUR FUTURE IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE”
DUNGOG FILM FESTIVAL
“ROAD TRAIN IS A JOURNEY THROUGH THE OUTBACK FOR FOUR FRIENDS WHICH GOES HORRIBLY WRONG”
Featuring an all Australian cast including Xavier Samuel (soon grace the screens of the thirds Twilight movie), Bob Morley (Home and Away), Georgina Haig (Underbelly) and Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate), and directed by Dean Francis, Road Train is a journey through the outback for four friends which goes horribly wrong. Whilst hoping for an travelling adventure, the wreckage of their own vehicle followed by distant gunshots, their escape in a three-trailer truck brings about many unusual and terrifying discoveries. Credits: Dir: Dean Francis / Scr: Clive Hopkins / Prod: Michael Robertson EP: Michael Baskin, Janine Pearce/ Cast: Xavier Samuel, Sophie Lowe, Bob Morley, Georgina Haig, David Argue / 2010 Duration: 90 mins
DUNGOG FILM FESTIVAL
LOU Filmed in the North Coast on NSW, this heart warming film written and directed by Belinda Chayko is one to touch the souls of all of its viewers. Lou, a film based on an eleven year old’s life as she grows with a dislike of her mother as she blames her for the departure of her father whilst she was a child is a touching story which shows how one girl can have a view so powerful that the extent reflects on her every being. As her grandfather steps into her life at an unexpected moment and then believing his graddaughter is his long departed wife, Lou takes us through her version of what it feels to be loved in the most unexpected way. Credits: Dir: Belinda Chayko / Scr: Belinda Chayko / Prod: Tony Ayres, Helen Bowden, Belinda Chayko, Michael McMahon / EP: Liz Watts / Cast: John Hurt, Emily Barclay, Lily Bell-Tindley / 2010, Rated M Duration: 88 mins
“A TOUCHING STORY WHICH SHOWS HOW ONE GIRL CAN HAVE A VIEW SO POWERFUL THAT THE EXTENT REFLECTS ON HER EVERY BEING”
IT A GO SIMONE COLOSI
WORDS BY SIMONE COLOSI ARTWORK BY TAJ FRANCIS
P R O T O J E e goes by the name of Protoje (Oje Ollivi erre) and he is setting a standard yet to be met in Jamaica; he is a singer/songwriter determined to communicate a cultural message and inspire young Jamaicans with his meaningful lyrics, cultural exuberance, and an energy that holds your attention while you remain transfixed in his songs. Striving within a difficult industry and setting yourself apart from the numerous artists that take to Jamaica’s music business was never a morning stroll for Protoje. The willpower he possesses and the strength of his mind fuels a passion that will ensure his survival within this uncompromising field. After a successful release of his first single ‘Arguments’, Protoje has yet again pushed the limits of the Jamaican music scene with the drop of his newest hits ‘Dread’ and ‘JA’, and is definitely set to expand to greater heights as his maturity for the industry and his enthusiasm to change the route of music for the youth will not allow this young artist to fail. Oje was given the name Protoje from a friend Evaflow. Considering himself a student in every step of his journey through life, the name fitted his personality well as the extension of Proto gave it a new meaning. He stems from a childhood filled with song, and resides in one of the most musically encapsulated countries in the world, where the streets are filled with rhythm from the setting of the evenings and right through to the early hours of dawn. Whilst the never ceasing sounds of music in the air fill Protoje’s ears throughout each day, his musical being stems from further exposure with a lifestyle where lyrics, songs and rhythm formed a part of his every day routine. Having been raised in a home where his parents performed frequently, Protoje became familiar with music and had a natural love of the stage atmosphere from a young age. His early years featured great interaction with a variety of peers from different parts of Jamaica’s social circle. Protoje learned from his exposure to them and their different experiences. It is for this reason that Protoje has naturally formed a love for people, and this has carried over into his art, and explains why he takes great pride in his culture. The inspiration that other artistes from this creative island bring forth throughout his journey, has guided him on this mission to succeed; a mission that’s filled with the uncertainty of a changing musical scene in Jamaica, but a mission
from which this youth with not be deterred. He knows he will be a powerful force and fosees a bright future in his artisitic endeavours. Whilst on this the journey toward fulfilling a career where art and expression are intergral parts of Protoje’s daily routine, he is coignizant that his pursuits in the arts will be no walk in the park, and all artists alike understand the only way to success is through determination and hard labour. Having worked on his introduction to the local music scene, Protoje is now starting to reap the awards of a deserving artist. The release of his first track ‘Arguments’ followed through with an equally pleasing video, displaying beautiful visual landscapes, musical culture, and the women in Jamaica. If one might wonder why was ‘Arguments’ such a successful hit, Protoje himself stated "in the sense that it created a lot of awareness to what I was doing, it established my style and the video elevated it". The public had only seen Protoje in live performances and heard of him in the street by word of mouth, the release of this video came as a breath of fresh air, and was highly anticipated by his grwong fan base. Not only does he project a very unique style, Protoje’s music is relatable, not only locally, but has global reach and sustainablility, reaching as far as Australia, and this in itself, encourages him to continue pursuing his musical career with an even greater level of determination.
With making such a strong impression with the release of ‘Arguments’, the months that followed were not easy with the public clamouring for more. Protoje continues on his passage into the industry and winning media accalim by wowing his audiences with numerous stellar performances at various events that have aided his rise to becoming a known name within Jamaica’s musical airwaves. His busy schedule boasts his hosting a Miami based ‘For the love of Reggae’ compilation, performing alongside the infamous Taurus Riley at the Negril One Love concert, and also hosting a show called ‘The Seven Year Wish’ through House of Diggy. After the success of ‘Arguments’, he has just released another video for his newly released track ‘Dread’. When we asked him about the anticipated success of the sophomore single, Protoje laughs as he tells us that although it hasn’t yet caught up with the same level of popularity ‘Arguments’, that it is in
PROTOJE WORDS BY SIMONE COLOSI ARTWORK BY TAJ FRANCIS
fact the song that he wanted to release first as he’s always believed really strongly in its content. The song is about his growing up in 1992 in Santa Cruz Jamaica, and recalling the reality that has shaped the person he has become and the life that he leads. Quoting a line from the track “...hockey Jersey in the heat, Patrick Ewing on the Feet, Buju Banton on the beat, unuh Memba dat”, Protoje reminisces of his childhood with his surrounding youths in a very hot Santa Cruz sporting oversize Patrick Ewing shoes and hockey jerseys...how ridiculous it seems now to have been so caught up in what was popular that they couldn't see what was practical. So with the release of two successful tracks and a third video about to hit the airwaves in the coming days it’s no surprise that Protoje is successfully working towards the completion of his first album ‘The Seven Year Itch’. Protoje describes the concept behind the title stemmimg from the fact that he has been creating music for so long and said, "...the Seven Year Itch is a thing they say married men get after 7 years, you know, the point where most cheating occurs. So it’s basically me doing music for 7 years without making anything material off it yet, and being faced with the option to leave or stay with it." Obviously, to the delight of the public, he has chosen to stay, and with the help of Don Corleon in producing this album, the list of tracks and vibe of the project promises that this is bound to be a hit. In coinciding with the ‘Seven Year Itch’ is the show called ‘Seven Year Wish', which Protoje held on December 4, 2009. His first live event that was put on by House of Diggy, the affair featured other young artists such as Jah9, Jason Worton, From the Deep, and Nomaddz. Performing alongside them all was of course Protoje in what appeared to be an extremely successful show, even being recorded live in order to raise emphasis about Protoje’s web reach message. Whilst many musicians and artists are given the opportunity to host their own events on these beautiful shores, its success is not always the easiest to achieve. This is because music is the largest area of the arts focused upon within this country, with many artists constantly journeying the world due to their levels of success. In saying this, the putting on of an event that triumphed is definitely a larger stepping stone in the equation of Protoje’s achievements as an individual artist. With long term goals of a career in the music industry, Protoje aims to change the industry with full force, patiently taking his time to perfect each step of his mission and putting his entire focus into completing
AS AN ARTIST, NEVER FORGET THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL YOU HAVE ON THIS JOURNEY IS YOUR ART FORM AND YOUR CRAFT...
an album that he can be proud of. With plans to travel somewhere down the track in his career, Protoje still has some tracks up his sleeve that he’s yet to release before partaking on the trecking to other lands, having recently completed the recording of ‘Wrong Side of the Law' and this song that has definitely set the bar high and has proven to be a crowd pleaser when he takes to the stage. With his potential to inspire each time his lyrics are heard, Protoje reminisces of his own inspirations that assisted him to mould into the developing artist that he is today. Having been born into Jamaica in the golden era of music, the number of artists that inspired Protoje is endless, but strongly leans to many of the artists whose music expressed a level of depth on a cultural and spiritual level, some of them including Bob Marley, Jacob Miller, Mundell and Black Uhuru. Although the list continues, Protoje has a genuine appreciation for Bob Marley, and tells us, "The thing with Bob was that the documentation of his work was very present, so I learnt the artistic part of it visually was very key to letting the music live longer". With an overall belief that music can save the people, Protoje aims to create an impact on the youth in Jamaica and also abroad, encouraging them to express their inner selves in an artistic and cultural way. He opens his mind and offers some encouraging words to those with a genuine passion for the arts and achieving their creative dreams saying to you , "As an artist, never forget that the most important tool you have on this journey is your art form and your craft. So amidst all the trying to get heard, seen, watched, whatever… always be concentrating on mastering that, and everything will fall into place".
K-OS POLITIKIN - DO THE RIGHT THING
CHE PAVING KOTHARI THE WAY TO A MORE CREATIVE WORLD
Q&A CHE KOTHARI
“To this day, photography has been one of the best gifts that has been bestowed on me”
So the old saying goes “no goal is ever too big to accomplish”… and we have proof! At the age of 26, a young man has made some footprints that he willingly invites you to fill, but take heed, the achievements lay before you are extremely hard to match and can only be met with great determination, passion, honesty, and an outlook on the world that is unbiased where the belief of change exists. His name is Che Kothari and he has achieved more in his short time on earth than some do within their lifetime. He is a young entrepreneur making moves around the world as not only an amazing photographer, but also as an educator and volunteer, with a genuine care for offering support and assistance to other cultural communities in need of a better quality of life. Che has come a long way from a childhood where art was a passion. One only needs to read his resume to realise the leaps and bounds this young man has made at accelerated speeds. Not only having photographed some of today’s most recognized and appreciated artists, cultural figures and leaders, Che has also had the opportunity to see some of his dreams
unfold into reality… dreams that involve today’s youth and the opportunities available for them to excel in all areas of education, including the arts. Aesthetics Now met with Che this month to discuss the concept behind his photographic world and the journey this path has taken him on, as well as Manifesto Toronto and the development that this youth program has had on influencing today’s creative minds in a positive way, his recent travels to Tokyo to play the role of photographic exhibitor, as well as his inspiration, knowledge and love of the world from an artistic heart. Aesthetics Now: Tell us a little bit about photography and how your passion for it began Che Kothari: My mother gave me my first camera when I was young. To this day, photography has been one of the best gifts that has been bestowed on me. When I was 15, I had the chance to go Curacao and had the opportunity to shoot the colour and creativity of Carnival. It made me fall in love with photography because it gave me great
access to the event and people. With my camera in hand, people opened up and talked with me in a whole new way. When I came back home and started sharing the photos with family and friends I realized that what I was doing was also very important; I documented history and now was a conduit for sharing what was happening in another place in the world, opening up peoples minds to new things, just like I was doing in the act of shooting with the people I was meeting there. From that point I knew I was going to be a photographer and did everything I could to further my knowledge. I moved out of my family home at 17 and went to University for photography. I took on every gig I could and continued to travel to learn more about shooting and the world. I feel deeply in love with the act of shooting and seeing a final image on a wall and the dialogue, feeling and movement that could be instigated from it. On an individual level, photography has the power to show each person that they have a unique view of this world and that it is important. On a community level, it can be a tool to document histories, share stories, and it can also be a tool for economic development as creative industries
continue to flourish. On a global level, photography is changing human behaviour, the way that we act, the way we communicate, the way we see the world, the way we see ourselves. I am simplifying it...but it is a powerful powerful tool that comes with great responsibility. AN: You have made a name for yourself as a photographer, having worked with many well known artists. How does that feel? CK: It is a true privilege and I give thanks everyday. I recognize that much of my success is based on those who I have been able to get in front of my lens. I take it all with great responsibility as my notoriety grows and as I have the attention of more people, I want to find more ways to promote positivity, love and unity and make aware injustices that plague our world. I want to focus my time on continuing to broaden my portfolio including more work that can invoke thought and provoke change. I also am humbled by everyone I have the chance to meet and recog-
Q&A CHE KOTHARI
â€œWe spent time with sadhus who shared their wisdom, from simple life basics to special stories and wisdom that came about from their decades walking across the lands of Indiaâ€? nize how much I have to learn. Along with my goal of always leading a life that is full of never ending learning, I have also made it a goal to dedicate a lot of time to passing on the knowledge I have of the craft on to others. Right now I do a lot of photo workshops with young people and starting this month I will be the artist in resident for a 4 month photo program put on by Schools Without Borders. I hope to be able to extend my teachings soon to people all around the world, especially those with less access to cameras and elders who I think could make some very important images for our world to see. AN: Any particular photo shoot that stands out as a memorable moment? CK: Last month my best friend Mriga and I went to a very auspicious gathering in Haridwar, India, called Kumbh Mela. Over 15 million hindu pilgrims attended to bathe in the waters of the Mother Ganga. It was crazy for me to be able to go to this, as I was only in India for about 10 days and the timing worked out... you could say the stars aligned, literally (the dates of each celebration are calculated based on zodiacal
positions of the Sun, Moon and Jupiter). I have been to India 3 times now and this was definitely the first time I ever saw India like this. It was the first time I touched the holy Ganga River. We spent time with sadhus who shared their wisdom, from simple life basics to special stories and wisdom that came about from their decades walking across the lands of India. There was one sadhu, Bandani babaji who really welcomed us with his wise eyes. We spent the day sitting and learning from him. He shared his space, his food, his energy and his knowledge with us. He allowed me to photograph him. His elder was sitting in the back of the tented area. He told us that no one has really photographed him and he is not that open to shooting pictures. Somehow, we felt each others energy and within a few moments we were shooting portraits with him as well. This was a great honour for me. In moments like that I am reminded of my love for the camera and the magic it allows me to be part of. AN: What are your inspirations and what encourages you to feed your artistic addiction?
CK: Infinity. The concept of infinity is always a driving force for me. The thought that all of 'this' has always been and will forever be is something I often contemplate; it allows me the freedom to be an artist and express my present moments. Infinity... well that encompasses pretty much everything :) ... but other things that inspire me are: the love I have felt and been able to give to/from my family and close friends; the beauty in a seed becoming a tree and leading to an orchard; really yummy healthy vegan food and eating it with people who appreciate it; the never give up or give in attitude of people I have met from all parts of the world; Mahatma Gandhi; Skype; birth; deep breaths; death; the beach; the sun; yoga; meditation; sex; mangos; basketball; photographers: Richard Avedon, David Lachapelle, JR, Jamel Shabazz, Ernie Panniccioli, Annie Leibovitz, Matt Barnes, Steve Carty + so many more; visual artists: Nunca, Skam, Blu, Justin Broadbent + more; Musicians: Bob Marley, K'Naan, Erykah Badu, 9th Wonder, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Fela Kuti, ?uestlove + so many more; Toronto: Ryan Paterson, Mark Valino, Jeff Garcia, Weyni Mengesha, D’Bi Young, Sol Guy,
Jonathan Ramos, Bryan Espirity LL, ILOVETO, Shad, Gavin Sheppard, Drake, Lost Lyrics, SWB, Urbanology fam, Photo Will + so many more; Mumbai: Mriga + Amit Kapadiya, Amrit Kumar, Cara Eascott, + more; Kingston, Jamaica: Gavin Hutchinson, Reginald Bell, Lesley Welsh, Nine Mile Family + so many more; Bogota, Colombia: Voodoo Souljah’s; Rio: Panmela aka Anarkia, Toddy + more…the list goes on and on. To tell you the truth I find inspiration in almost everything; I often daydream about ant farms or a starfish sitting in the ocean. And that thought that all of this is happening at this very moment... this moment and this moment…and this one...it always comes back to the love for mother earth and the insane synchronicity that surrounds you if you tap into the energy of the universe. AN: How did the concept of Manifesto evolve? CK: Toronto has an immense amount of talent and it was time for it to get represented properly and given a deserving platform. There were some amazing things happening that were creating that platform, but many were ending, not sustainable and not as big of a SIZZLA - CLASS IN SESSION
Q&A CHE KOTHARI
platform as many of the artists deserved. These people were known in their own community but not by the city at large or let alone the world. All the bigger corporate festivals etc. were not booking the people we knew and loved and that had something real to say. So many of the people working in this sphere did not know about what each other were doing, everyone was working in their own silos and we needed to find ways of connecting them, because we knew what could come from that network is immeasurable. Also - all these artists were not getting paid properly for what they were creating. That is on a micro level. On a bit more of a macro level you have a lot of young people who are extremely disengaged with the public education system and dropping out. Mass media was further perpetuating negative images of certain demographics and making certain ideals the norm, while also making them completely unattainable in many ways. We knew that culture could play a huge role in mitigating and solving all of this. So to tackle these things, a group of friends (Ryan Paterson, Adrienne Lorico, Prakash Surapaneni, Jesse Ohtake, Devon Ostrom, Mark Valino + more) and I, called a big meeting at our city hall, in the same room that our mayor meets. We invited 20 people that were active in the hip hop community already and announced that we wanted to do a festival to address all the issues I just mentioned. Everyone in the room was down and we began building it. The meetings grew from 20 people to 40, to 80, to 150, and upwards of 250. Within 8 months, with the support and love of countless community members, we created Canada's biggest Hip Hop celebration which is now an annual end of summer tradition. The goal as organizers was to act as a conduit for what the community wanted to see. The concept of unifying people to unearth and share local storytellerâ€™s voices goes back generations, we are just doing it with the current tools that we have, recognizing all the hard work of past generations to get us here and keeping in mind the future generations that will hopefully carry it on. Manifesto has become much more than just a festival, and includes town hall meetings, a budding website with amazing content and an online TV series, a 3500 square foot physical space that houses over 10 organizations doing work with culture and young
people, and we are gearing up to expand our education department of workshops in the area of both arts and business. The idea is really to celebrate and unify your local scene and create viable opportunities for growth on all levels; in Toronto one of the predominant youth cultures is hip hop, in other parts of the world it may be reggae, or whatever it is, building things around that and re-localizing. We are much stronger as one. AN: Did you expect it to be as successful as it has become in such a short period of time? CK: I had no doubt that when we came together as a city and community of hard working, passionate people who all excel in their own fields, working for common goals things would quickly grow. As I said before, the talent was there; all we had to do was help create a platform. We knew that once the voices were heard (through whatever medium it was, visual arts, dance, music, etc), that people would gravitate exponentially. People were eagerly waiting for something like this, so we struck that nerve and its taken on a life of its own, which was exactly what was suppose to happen. The potential for change is no doubt present, itâ€™s just about organizing ourselves and coming together, because we are much stronger unified as one than all doing our own thing. When people realize that, nothing is impossible. So in that spirit, let's keep building! AN: What does it feel like every year at the conclusion of Manifesto, when you get to sit on your couch and just reflect on its progress? CK: Have you ever felt burn out? Haha...that is what most of the team goes through for a good few months after the event. There is a great sense of energy and love for this work, but it does take a serious toll on your mental, physical and spiritual self. I try not to sit on a couch and reflect; I rather try to do that on a beach or by a waterfall. Actually, I am involved with so many things that there isn't really too much time to just sit; itâ€™s usually on to the next thing. The planning of the festival usually starts again quickly after the one is complete. It is almost a yearly cycle to pull it all together. Truthfully though, as it continues to grow, it
The potential for change is no doubt present, it’s just about organizing ourselves and coming together, because we are much stronger unified as one than all doing our own thing.
Ignorances Enemy COMMON SENSE
I am not a virgin to witnessing begging, I live in downtown Toronto and have travelled extensively and witnessed extreme poverty, but for some reason this felt different.
is the small things that are the greatest for me to reflect on, like a young boy and girl no older than 5 years old learning how to breakdance from some of the city's best dancers on our outdoor bboy floor and seeing the mother or father of that child smiling at their involvement. Knowing that the impacts of a gathering of this nature are completely immeasurable and unique for everyone and that we are part of creating profound cultural history that is achieving the goals we set out in the beginning to meet that is a beautiful thing. AN: You have been travelling back and forth to Jamaica, working on Nine Mile Project and photographing your journey the whole way. Tell us a little about this. CK: I have been blessed to come to Jamaica over 15 times in my lifetime. I started coming at a very young age and I think the vibration of Jamaica is deeply rooted in who I have become. In 2008, my friend Sol Guy sent me down to Kingston to deliver some equipment to K'Naan, who at the time was recording his album Troubadour at Tuff Gong Studio. When I got off the plane I saw a sign that says "Africa Unite Youth Symposium". I quickly asked Sol to extend my ticket, as I knew I needed to reach this. I went to it and I met some people who would inform my path forward (Gavin Hutchinson, Reginald Bell, Lesley-Ann Welsh, Donisha Prendergast), all who were involved in the symposium. One of the days of the symposium included a trip to Nine Mile in St. Ann, the birthplace of the honourable Robert Nesta (aka Bob) Marley and also where he is now laid to rest. Right after we visited the mausoleum, we are walking back down to the exit of the gated area, and we see a hand reaching under one of the gates and a faint voice begging ‘money please, money please’. I am not a virgin to witnessing begging, I live in downtown Toronto and have travelled extensively and witnessed extreme poverty, but for some reason this felt different. All these thoughts start racing through my head of where we are and the significance of it all. We were in this small village where Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, and Burning Spear were all raised, some of the world’s most significant black leaders; we were delegates from all over North America; we just rolled into this community in a big bus; how much money Bob Marley’s music has created for the world…all of these things hitting me harder and harder. I needed to start to engage others in the thoughts I was having. Luckily I was with two of the amazing people running the symposium (Lesley W and Gavin H) and they started to share some things with me. I can’t quote these as absolute facts, but the overall message of what they were saying is what matters in my opinion: ‘only 4% of reggae music’s profits go to Jamaica, the majority of the rest go to Europe and The US’. So this community that Bob was born in and that influenced his early
CHE KOTHARI - shot by Jon Riera years is not getting any of the monetary benefits of a music form and a culture that has spawned off financial gain for so many others around the world, his own community is not getting anything it deserves due to systems of oppression that are in place, and this is just one small example of these injustices happening. We then visited the school Bob attended called Stepney All Ages, and I was able to speak to the principal, who mentioned that it would be of great use to have some computers to help keep accurate records of the school children and be able to send them to the Ministry of Education and for the teachers and students to get more familiar with using computers. Returning to Toronto, I was able to enlist the support of the community I work with here and lots of things have emerged. My friend Ravi Jain was able to donate 2 brand new laptops, of which my friend Mina took down to Nine Mile and worked at Stepney to teach some students and teachers how to use them over a 5 week period. Mina Mikhail also taught some videography/photo workshops to interested students while he was there. The next step was to build a stronger base of support in Toronto, so we did a trip of 15 people who are highly involved in community work in Toronto to visit and learn more about things that were happening in Nine Mile as well as build relationships. Lots of things have spawned off from this trip, including a partnership for a youth-led festival in Nine Mile. One of the key things we are working towards right now is fundraising for a school bus for Stepney.
AFRIKA BAMBAATAA - ZULU NATION
M1 - DEAD PREZ
Q&A CHE KOTHARI
Many of the students walk for a couple hours to get to school in direct sunlight on mountain roads. Although it is great physical activity, it can also make a young person very tired and hard for him/her to focus at school, especially when some may not have been able to eat breakfast. So the bus and community events are short-term goals we are working towards with community members from Nine Mile. There are some long-term goals in place as well, but one step at a time. AN: Why Jamaica? CK: For the sound systems, the hilltops, the ital stew, the beaches, the waterfalls, the Rastaman vibrations, the reggae and dance hall, the uprising of the Maroons, the teachings of Marcus Garvey, the streetcorner philosophers, the peanut porridge, the sour sap, the future generations, the youth, the ancestors, and most importantly the amazing people I have been able to build, learn, share and work with that have become true bredren and sistrens. You feel me? I am driven by culture and Jamaica is one of the richest cultural capitals I have been to. It has created such beautiful culture that has influenced the entire world. The work we do in Jamaica is focused on pushing culture to the forefront and having it recognized in the way it deserves to be. Both the human development and spiritual aspects as well as for its economic potential, encouraging and supporting Jamaicans to own their own cultural institutions so that less exploitation can occur. Too often Jamaica has been taken from; the example I gave in my last response about the music industry, or the mainstream tourism industry, which continues to perpetuate systems of oppression. There are other ways. So many people only know the Jamaica that is on a postcard or stereotyped in the media. New truths need to be shared. I am not naive to think that this can happen over night or that we are the solution, but we can be a part of the ongoing movement for good over evil. Toronto also has a huge Jamaican Diaspora so finding ways of connecting people and unearthing each other’s stories is another reason why we are building on all of this to help to accelerate and propel things forward. AN: You recently travelled to Tokyo and held an exhibition. What can you tell us about this? CK: This was an awesome experience to be a part of.
The Eunoia Project, an arts organization from Canada, and Birdo Flugas an arts organization from Japan were aware of my work and invited me to exhibit and do an artist talk in Tokyo, at Uplink Gallery/Factory in Shibuya. I was down as I love being able to connect with new people and perspectives and art has always been a great avenue for me to open up those spaces. The work I showed was mainly portraits of hip hop and reggae artists that I have shot over the past 6 years. The hip hop, reggae and dance hall scene down there runs deep, the heads know and love their music, so it was a great space to enter into. The opening night and artist talk was rammed - really good turn out and discussion. People were really interested in how we were able to breakthrough and work with our government in Canada to support art forms that are not so mainstream. From the minute I touched down to the minute I left I was in good company and got to go out to some of the best spots. DJ Sarasa holds it down heavy in Tokyo and she linked us to the right people and places. AN: Was this your first time on Japanese land? CK: First time physically being there, but definitely not my last. A lot of people loved the idea of Manifesto, so I will be sharing the methods in which gave birth to it in Toronto and if people pick it up, carry it on and build on it there, I will have to go back. It was Cherry Blossom season which only happens for two weeks each year. I had a great time at Yoyogi Park, I would love to go back and photograph there more. I definitely want to spend more time, rather than just 1 week and travel around. I would definitely go to Sendai where two of the curators who brought me down live and meet their family and friends. This past year I have travelled a lot: Miami, Calgary, Washington a couple times, Sao Paulo, Lisbon, Kingston a couple times, Tokyo, Mumbai, Delhi, Haridwar, New York + more…so I need to settle down in Toronto for a bit before taking off anywhere right now…travelling plans kick in again after this years Manifesto in Toronto. AN: Any big plans for the future that we should look out for? CK: Me. Big Plans? Hehe. If you check my sticky
PHIFE DAWG - TRIBE CALLED QUEST
notes I have about 150 ideas, each that most would consider big :) ... I'm going to keep crossing them off one by one and passing the ideas on to others who are interested in working with me. One thing I am going to be doing is relaunching a few sites, so if you are interested, keep an eye on them to see all the other plans come to be: chekothari.com, hightop.ca, themanifesto.ca, ignitetheamericas.ca. AN: Aesthetics Now aims at targeting artists on a global scale to create a sense of unity that can be brought about through art. If you could tell our readers something that would encourage them to follow their dreams and continue pursuing their artistic passions, what would it be? CK: I teach a lot of workshops and there is an idea that Mos Def talks about that I always think about and share with others. It is about dreaming. I will paraphrase it... â€˜Every single thing in this world that you see is somebody's dream, and often times someone's outrageous dream. The chair you are sitting on, the
toast you at this morning, the slave trade, Dubai, this magazine Aesthetics Now, all someone's ridiculous dream. If others can dream, why not you. Never forget to dream and think positively about your dreams, they will come true. Just keep working towards it all and push away anything that comes between you and your dream.â€™ That really resonates with me. Also, take care of yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually. Your body is a temple, so treat it that way... don't push yourself to the limit that you are no longer in control of yourself. Ask lots of questions and seek answers. Remember to look within for answers too, you will be surprised by what you can find. Be positive and spread love.
THUNDERHEIST - shot by Che Kothari & May Troung
CHANDNI CHOWK HOLD UP
Words By: Dutty Bookman
ELDERS : WISDOM FROM AUSTRALIA’S INDIGENOUS LEADERS -[PETER MCCONCHIE] lders have a natural urge to transfer knowledge to the babes and suckling. As parents devote themselves to nourishing and otherwise raising their offspring into maturation, grandparents and great-grandparents tend to support that mission with a supply of ancestral knowledge. Continuity of human life goes hand-in-hand with this flow of information in the shape of traditions. In reality, many live without the benefit of parents who are responsible; some live without parents, period. Grandparents are even scarcer in this regard and, of those still breathing, they are increasingly unsettled for reasons related to their living standards. Our contemporary elders seem to have a wealth of practical knowledge about survival in the context of an inadequate system of economics. Does this equate to wisdom? Enough time has elapsed since the Bretton Woods agreement (this July will make it 66 years) for us to realize that the nature of the system is not harmonious with Mother Nature. If we do not recognize this truth, we are in dire need of some nuggets of wisdom. Elders: Wisdom from Australia’s Indigenous Leaders by Peter McConchie is a corrective force, an essential collection of messages from physically strong and mentally adept humans who have spent considerable time living on Earth. In fact, they have been taking good care of the Earth, a lifestyle at odds with the economic opportunities associated with the modern world.
The author seems to have edited very little or nothing in this simple series of interviews. He presents them as they were recorded. Therefore, the linguistic power of the book is drawn directly from the interviewees. If tone of voice could be heard in written text, Elders would probably sound like a steady gust of ancestral wind. It would scold the reader for being oblivious to the obvious and would also caress the reader with the gentleness of Mother Earth herself. In a sense, we are mostly immature, regardless of age, as long as we adhere to a system operating out of accordance with the natural cycle of the planet. Elders turns out to be a labour of love with the power to dissolve the reader’s vanity. Its nine simple chapters – ‘Healing,’ ‘The Land,’ ‘Hunting,’ ‘Gathering,’ ‘Family,’ ‘Lore, Law,’ ‘Spirit,’ ‘The Sea,’ and ‘Ceremony & Song’ – can each be isolated to provide powerful stimulation for meaningful thought. A reflection on them collectively reveals the universality of a reverence for life and the elements that exists in isolated pockets across the length and breadth of the Australian continent. Similarities can be found with the outlook of a Maroon, Rastafarian or Inuk. The overall philosophy is unmistakably native in nature. Cohesion is maintained in part by the publication’s photographic quality, which serves as a central and prominent feature. The imagery is remarkably simple and perfectly matches the ordinariness of the sentences that deliver common sense messages. Scope is added to the reading experience with a reference map that gives a general idea of the geographic distribution of the various tribal groups in Australia. There is something unexpected and curious about learning about another culture through the eyes and words of the people who belong to that culture. McConchie applies this refreshing approach throughout the entire work. That is what makes it a special learning experience.
L U F I T U A BE s o a h c
JACEK LIDWIN WORDS BY SIMONE COLOSI
JACEK KNOWS THE VISION HE WANTS TO PROJECT, PLACING HIS EYE TO THE VIEWFINDER AND COMING ALIVE, HAVING A PURPOSE, AND WANTING TO CREATE THE IMAGES THAT ONLY HIS MIND CAN SEE he sun is setting in Katowice, Poland, and when the working day ends, you usually go home to relax. Instead, somewhere in a Jewish cemetery or an abandoned and burnt down building, unknowingly to many, the extraordinary is taking place. A man, his tripod and camera, focuses on a girl with unique features, and the rays of light from the drowning sun peeks through it's surrounding chaos, he captures a remarkable image. His name is Jacek Lidwin and he is a bar above the rest when he takes to his lens. Look with the naked eye, and you will see something ordinary, commonplace...ugly even, but a look through Jacek's eyes, leaves you questioning your own senses, as he uses his lens to paint an unimaginable vision. Having had a passion for photography from as early as he can remember, Jacek is no amateur when he picks up his camera. He knows what he wants his audoence to experience before the first click of his shutter, and he isll go to any to extreme to deliver this beauty, to its very last detail. Even from the moments before reaching for his camera Jacek knows, in his mind's eye, what he will bring alive in an otherwise still image. Using Poland's unique landscape as his backdrop, he plays with scenery that is out of the norm, distinguishing himself as a photographer of with an extremely original style and a different outlook within this artistic medium. One of Jaceks most memorable shoots is that within a Jewish Cemetery. His fascination with the unusual setting as a background, as well as being given the opportunity to photography within a scene that contains memories and vague images of people that have formerly lived within his country, Jacek refers to this photography environment as a comparison to the “In Search of Lost Time” from Marcel Proust. Also rife with excellence is his series into industry buildings that have gone to ruins. What could be otherwise seen as an eyesore, Jacek turns into raw decadence and beauty. A run down building within Silesia is the home of
this thriving artist, and provides him with the opportunity to continue shooting and prolonging the existence of the three hundred year old buildings, giving them new life and creating new stories within their borken walls. Outside of shooting within these areas, Jacek adds his own personality to his photography and gives it new depth, to place that already contains the whispers of many years of history. Another of Jacek's passions is fashion and form, but his focus is not the glossy output that we see on covers of numerous magazines, that demand the pretty photos of glamour models. No, Jacek's method is to actually attract the audience that appreciates more than just surface beauty. His settings, models, and apparel are clear contradictions to the norm of the fashion industry. Jacek has the ability to capture an image that will force a wide variety of reactions from his audiences when they view his work. He projects imagery that shows emotion, despair, a haunting sense of insecurity, a fierceness, pain, solace, peace, anger, and utter joy. One cannot view a Lidwin piece and not be affected, some will draw negative responses, while others will conjure positive reactions and comment. Either way, Jacek feels he has won, because he has pulled his audience into a deeply emotional experience. Whilst these shoots have liberated and inspired Jacek to continue pursuing his passions with full force, the response from his audiences have allowed him to successfully display three solo exhibitions, with his most successful being ‘Human, Space and Light' which was exhibited during the 15th International Theatre Festival in Katowice’s Roundabout Art Gallery. As well as Jacek’s fascination of fashion photography within unusual environments, he also thoroughly enjoys photographing individuals that randomly walk the streets of Poland. The sight of seemingly unknown people continuing their daily mundane activities around him, somehow inspires
â€œHe believes in art and its ability to open endless opportunities to those with determination and the heart to succeed, and believes that every individual possesses their own unique aesthetical beingâ€?.
Jacek to take out his camera to capture a moment of their lives. And within this moment, he creates for them and for his viewers, and second life for this person. You the viewer must now decode their actions and create their life stories from a single random moment. He watches people on the streets as they rush by daily, and uses his camera to stop them in their tracks, giving them a break from their hustle, even without their knowledge of this release. Jacek has also dipped his fingers, or camera lens shall we say, into theatre performances and those that take to the stage to pursue their own dreams. Looking for a moment to create history from a piece of a performance, Jacek captures a piece of therir art through his own art, doubling creativity as his camera snaps away at the intensities of acting and the settings created on stage. Watching others performing and being able to choose the moment during an act to photography a desired effect, motion or stance has given Jacek the opportunity to display not only his
photographic talents, but also his skill at predicting the right moment to capture what becomes a memory of someone elseâ€™s executed art. How wonderful that he can help other artists from motion on stage to a still on film, an image that can never be duplicated or destroyed. Whilst many artists draw their inspiration from other artists or particular works of creativity, Jacek is driven to continue pursuing his photographic art from the inspiration of the real life experiences currently surrounding him. He has said that sleep plays a large factor in his creativity and he is inspired to create what he experiences in his dreams. His own perspectives on is around him with an open mind and his constantly study of photography and others' works in albums and magazines, helps Jacek to continue to fill his audiences with wonder. He believes in art and its ability to open endless opportunities to those with determination and the heart to succeed, and believes that every individual possesses their own unique aesthetical being. Jacek knows the extent that art can aid in creating a sense of happiness, motivation and passion and encourages all those around him to look into their inner selves to discover the creative soul that is buried within them. He also encourages that once you have found that level of comfort within your creativity, that it should be displayed for others to see and appreciate; sharing one's art is the most critical point of even creating art. We invite you to discover more about Jacek Lidwin and to take a step into his imagination and his world of photographic art. You can find more on this incredible artist at http://www.jaceklidwin.com/index.htm
Wrong Side Of The Law
â€œOnce you have found that level of comfort within your creativity, it should be displayed for others to see and appreciate as the encouragement of those around you in motivating a more artistic world is one that is will mould the future in a progressive and inspirational wayâ€?
ell it seems we’re almost halfway through the year, and closing in on the big money summer blockbusters coming to theatres. But what about the images behind the films; We’ve seem some great ones, and believe me, we have seen some HEDIOUS ones. Here are our 10 favourite movie posters so far for 2010.
ATHLETE ATHLETE had a series of really great posters for this documentury, we had to chose one but they were all very moving...Defy-The-Odds
HAPPY TEARS Personally found it quite hilarious, HAPPY TEARS was the only poster that was “poster” art.
THE ART OF THE STEAL So... The Movie Poster, or the movie about stolen art, is a stolen Movie Poster. I give it an A+ (It’s a poster board with no poster in it)
WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE It’s never a fair fight when u have a photo of The Doors like this working with. I could make a top poster with just Jim Morrison’s fingernail.
I AM LOVE Focal Point ?
ALICE IN WONDERLAND Johnny Depp is quite creepy. Well done.
BLUE VALENTINE Everyone loves a little irony. This poster is overdosing on it.
FROM PARIS WITH LOVE
HAPPY, THANK YOU MORE PLEASE
THE LIVING WAKE
Very nice and clean poster. Splatters have become fairly overused recently, but they’ve managed to pull this one off
One of our favourites, Very creative poster, made me smile on the inside
We’re always big fans of hand drawn images over photoshop plugin images. Very rough, we love it.
SHAKESPEARE’S R&J PERFORMED THROUGH THE EYES OF A YOUTHFUL MIND
“When you walk out of the theatre and you are changed in some way, at that point it becomes more than a job” Without a doubt, when we think of the English language in the form of creative literature, we instantly recall the one single man that has perfected it in its most artistic method yet, that man is William Shakespeare and he is the most diverse play writer of all time. With a history of creating in the most poetic and intense form, it is no wonder that all these years later artists are still taking to the stage in interpretation of Shakespeare’s words through the art of performance. In an interesting adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Joe Calarco has seen his version of the play successfully performed to large audiences in over four hundred shows throughout New York. This May-July sees Shakespeare’s infamous R&J take to the stages throughout Australia in what has proven so far to be a knockout performance, starring four young NIDA and WAAPA graduates Julian Curtis, Ben Gerrard, Garth Holcombe, and Tom Stokes. In this version “four testosterone-pumped schoolboys decide to stage “Romeo and Juliet” in this sexy new interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic love story”. Directed by Craig Ilott, this show is touring 3 of Australia’s most creative states, bringing to life the force behind Shakespeare’s texts from a creative and interesting angle. Aesthetics Now had the opportunity to discuss the storyline behind Shakespeare’s R&J with the four graduates and we must say, were extremely intrigued by the maturity and appreciation the boys expressed when recollecting how this performance has played a major role for them as they develop each time they take to the stage. Having successfully glided through each level of the casting call these young drama graduates were chosen as the best artists to communicate the message of Shakespeare’s R&J, effectively fitting the roles of each of the four characters in the play. After numerous monologues and performing sessions to learn their roles, the boys proudly took up the position of representing Australia’s youth, their drama talents excelling as they began touring the country on a Shakespearian journey. Whilst speaking to the boys they take us through the plot of the play, allowing us to get a greater insight into the setting of this show. Set in a strict Catholic Boarding School,
four young boys find a copy of a banned script, Romeo and Julie. Between the four of them they take on the role of each character within the script, re-enacting the play and developing an understanding of its context. As they perform the script they explore the concept of forbidden love, learning innocence and growing up. With the opportunity given to them to project such a well known play to thousands of individuals, the boys speak confidently of having to learn the responsibilities that they have had to understand in order to take on such a big role. They enjoy the challenge of interpreting the text and extending their workload in order to perfect their individual roles, and feeling great enthusiasm from what the play represents. Julian tells us that the play “shows the power of the imagination and how to use it to escape whatever hardships are coming your way”. He goes on to excitedly delve into the importance of symbolism within the play, explaining that in one scene a piece of fabric is used to become anything that your imagination desires. With these four young men are all within their 20’s, their outlook on Shakespeare and the power he holds through the texts he had written so long ago is one that expresses a deep respect for an artist and the creative tool he executes. Talking about their experiences not only within this play, but also in performing in other films, plays and Shakespearian interpretations, each of the boys shed some light on the expectations they have when they take to the stage and the joy they feel as they progress throughout their performing careers. Julian, having performed on television as well as in plays tells us that whenever work has a “social concept, that’s when it’s the most appealing. When you walk out of the theatre and you are changed in some way, at that point it becomes more than a job”. Just hearing him talk you can feel the passion he has for this art and the happiness it brings him knowing that he has the ability to touch someone as they watch him on stage, and that with every performance of Shakespeare’s R&J, individuals leave the theatre with a level of encouragement that
â€œshows the power of the imagination and how to use it to escape whatever hardships are coming your wayâ€?
“the size of the emotions and the size of the problems that the characters are facing is something that really excites me, and it’s great to get in there and rip it apart and go through the whole gamete of emotions in one show” wasn’t visible before they entered the room. Garth, who is no stranger to Shakespearian texts jumps in to tell us how interpreting this amazing writer on stage has assisted to shape him in the performer he is today. He tells us he wanted to be an actor since he was young by “Shakespeare was the biggest and scariest thing to attempt” as he felt that his texts were beyond his capabilities. Each time he performs a Shakespearian text he delves into the role and tried to grasp the concept inside his head, becoming inspired that “each expression of the characters, along with the text, is unlike anything you ever get to work with”. With a seriousness in his voice he continues to tell us that “the size of the emotions and the size of the problems that the characters are facing is something that really excites me, and it’s great to get in there and rip it apart and go through the whole gamete of emotions in one show” slightly giggly as he tells us that physically and emotionally the show is an amazing workout. You can sense the pride as he explains the way it feels to interpret Shakespeare’s texts, how his words cannot be changed in any way, and how he hopes he will never crack the daunting feeling he gets each time he attempts to interpret Shakespeare as it allows him to continue learning and challenging himself on a creative level. In terms of developing further with Shakespeare, Ben begins to tell us how Shakespeare has inspired him in a way that created a changing point in his views of man. Whilst performing Hamlet, Ben was taken aback by phrases that indicated what it means to be a human being, excitedly explaining that he has “never come across a writer who’s understood the human condition as much as him, and expressed it as beautifully as him”, telling us that this view has drawn him directly to Shakespeare with an appreciation of very high standards. He tells us that Shakespeare “is a wonderful challenge for an actor because it’s the marriage of the intellect, cerebral poetry and the human emotional life”, and that the “epic nature of his plays allows you to explore a huge scope of your emotions, whilst the
technical aspect of performing Shakespeare engages you on a physical level”. Tom, who is very versed in the technical aspects of performing, having screened on short films as well as performing live in plays since his graduation, tells us that as an actor he has had to learn about the different modes of communication throughout performing, explain that you need to know what the different “technical, emotional and equitable challenges are when it comes to performing between different mediums”. He explains the importance of ensuring that you bring “not only an amount of yourself to a character, but also an amount of the outside world with you”, telling us that the response from the audience when you are on stage is immediate, and that you “trust the people that are working on it first and foremost” as they will let you know how you develop as an actor on stage or behind the screen in order to get the most appreciated response from the viewers. Throughout June and July, the boys will be performing at Sydney’s Seymour Centre as part of the centres Education Season. All four boys express great pride in having the opportunity to educate the youth on the literary art of Shakespeare. They tell us that “his plays were written to be performed” and that if it’s to be taught in school then it should be given a life off the page, agreeing that the concept of it being “performed by school boys makes it more accessible and also illuminates issues within the play that are more contemporary”. Representing the Australian youth in performing arts, all four boys think it’s incredibly important to inspire the youth to continue pursuing the arts. They believe through this interpretation of Shakespeare’s R&J that they can effect change by walking on stage to tell a story that takes the audience on a journey. They love witnessing a change in people after they have seen a side of Shakespeare which is not what they expected it to
“you’ve always got to strive to be better and better and continue raising the bar”. be, but rather an interactive story that empowers the audience, with them proudly leaving the theatre feeling like that too, have become involved in the script. Upon leaving the boys to continue discussions about their next performance, all four take a moment to reflect on the importance that art has in creating harmony and unity between minds, sharing with us a message of inspiration and furthering your development as an artist in a world where the opportunities are fulfilling when you and your potential is recognised by others. The boys tell us that it’s important to not get comfortable once you reach a certain level as “you’ve always got to strive to be better and better and continue raising the bar”. They detail their opinion on the importance of not doing things not just for yourself but also for the community, stating that you must encourage your art by engaging within others art forms; “if you are a writer, read. If you are an actor, go to the theatre and engage in the arts. Learn from other people”. They encourage continual discovery of what others are doing to obtain a constant source of excitement as you witness what other people are doing and creating. The last bit of advice they offer is “you need courage to let your own unique talents flourish because what makes an artist special is what makes them different, you need the courage to commit to that”. For more information about Shakespeare’s R&J, as well as show dates and screenings, visit www.seymourcentre.com