Atwood Magazine Atwood
Magazine issue six contrast 1
Atwood MagAzine contrast Editor-in-Chief & Founder Liza Pittard Creaive Director Maddy Mallory Music Editor Nitesh Gupta Features Editor Annie Stokes Literary Editor Jeannine Erasmus Writers Cristina Good Jenna Rainey Kris James Illustrations Erin Borzak
Photographers Katia Bdr Shelby Fenlon Elizabeth Foster Eva H채uslmeier Evie Lane Sophie Loloi Dennis Auburn Cameron Lee Phan Camille Richez Natasha Wong
Cover by Sophie Lololi Atwood Magazine
Contents Art Tania & Roman Team Thursday Mark Peckmezian Kristina Lerner Fanette Guilloud Elaine Duiegnan Sara Skinner Music Jaymes Young Geographer Femme Apache Relay Lady Lazarus Drop Electric Yuna
Editorial Katia Bdr Shelby Fenlon Elizabeth Foster Eva Häuslmeier Evie Lane Sophie Loloi Dennis Auburn CameronLee Phan Camille Richez Natasha Wong Literary “Being One When Everyone is Two” Jeannine Erasmus “Homecoming” J. Scott Brownlee
Age: 18 Location: Chicago. Illinois On the experience of modeling the cover: I really enjoyed the shoot, I think we had a great team, and it was lots of fun. It was much different from lots of things I have done before. The photos had more of an artsy look rather than the normal high-fashion type of work that I do. I’m very glad that my photo made the cover, I hope I can work with this team again~ :) Website: joanna-bajena.tumblr.com/ facebook.com/JoannaBajenaModel What you are inspired by: During the shoot, what inspired me was the flow of Krystell Barraza’s designs. I really loved the way the dress and the skirts I shot in flew in the wind. It really inspired my movement and posing.
Age: 20 Location: Chicago, Illinois On the experience of shooting the cover: This was my first shoot since moving to Chicago from Houston. Although it was a very cold day, I really enjoyed the team that I had the pleasure of working with and also getting the chance to explore Chicago’s concrete landscape. The cover was a very exciting location and shot for me to capture. I had recently seen the film Battleship Potemkin and the steps in the cover photo really caught my attention and reminded me of the “Odessa steps scene” from the film- which inspired the concept of the shoot. Website: Sophieloloi.tumblr.com What you are inspired by: The Bauhaus Movement, Russian Constructivism and Minimalism
Age: 21 Location: Houston, TX On the editorial shoot: Sara Skinner is one of my best friends so working with her is just another play day. It’s a pleasure having someone who wants to create something new with me and having the thrill of making something up. Website: www.dennisauburn.com Inspired by: Inspired by youth, going to the unknown, and the peers I surround myself with. I’ve been listening to King Krule heavily this past month so this editorial was easily influenced by his creativity. 5
Letter From the Editor This issue’s theme of “contrast” came about when our Creative Director Maddy and I were brainstorming over email last August. We began contemplating what the essential elements of art and creation were. After bouncing ideas back and forth, we arrived at “contrast”. Contrast is seen in the core of aesthetics: the playing with light and dark, the pairing of differing patterns, the positioning of light and dark. Contrast can also be seen lying deeper, in the juxtaposing of opposing ideas, the unification of opposites. This theme gave us freedom to explore many different realms of the artistic process and allowed us to really dig deeper into the foundation of creation itself. “Contrast” is our largest issue yet. Atwood has grown tremendously over the past few months and I’m so excited for what else is in store. We’ve had new additions to our team, as well as the relaunch of the Atwood Blog. I hope you enjoying exploring this new issue and are inspired to notice the subtle contrasts in the art that you may interact with every day. XO, Liza Pittard
Editor-in-Chief & Founder
Photography: Camille Richez Model : Daniela @ Mademoiselle Stylist : Amany Behounna MUAH + Nails : Audrey Nicolay
Yuna Interview by Nitesh Gupta
From singing along to tunes on the TV as a child to becoming the most popular artist from her country, Malaysian singer and songwriter Yuna has come a long way. Her style varies from the mellow, touching song, “Deeper Conversation,” earlier in her career, to the unique indie-pop and R&B fusion of her latest album “Nocturnal.” In the past few years, she’s worked with one of her favorite producers, Pharrell Williams of N.E.R.D., expressed herself outside of music through her clothing company IAMJETFUEL and moved to L.A. to work as a full-time musician. Through all the changes in her music style and in her life, though, two things have remained consistent: her honest lyrics and her soft yet wholesome voice. Recently, I had the chance to interview Yuna about music, her latest album, and her life. Nitesh: Without using genre names, how would you describe your music? Yuna: My music would be... cinnamon ice cream with melted chocolate syrup on top. Sweet and a little bit of spiciness to it? Nitesh: How do you feel about your new album? Yuna: Relieved. Excited. Happy. It almost feels like I was in 7 where I had to build a volcano for my science class and did everything so perfectly and when its time to present it everyone in class just went ‘Oooh!’ It feels great knowing that something you worked really hard for is finally out there, and everyone can finally enjoy it.
Nitesh: Why’d you chose the name, “Nocturnal?” Yuna: It was a name I’ve alway been fond of. A lot of my songs, the lyrics were written at night. A friend mentioned ‘nocturnal’ and I thought it was kinda cool and there’s probably a lot of people out there who are nocturnal - the kind that just stays up all night thinking about a lot of things that they don’t normally get the time to think about when they’re up during the day. Like their true feelings about certain things.
Nitesh: What is your favorite thing about the late hours of the night? Yuna: How it’s quiet. I live in the busiest part of the city so its nice when it’s quiet. Nitesh: In your track “Lullabies,” which I love, by the way, you sing about your first love. Can you tell us the story behind the song? Yuna: I wanted to write about memories. We all have memories that we love, like beautiful memories we had as a child or as a teenager and and we can never have it back but at least they live on as memories. Nitesh: Do you have a favorite track on your new album? If so, what is it and why? Yuna: I love Mountains. I always wanted to make a song like that, and for this album every songwriting was kinda like a mission - trying to develop a song like that and when Mountains came along I was like “Yea I finally did it!” Nitesh: Your new album seems to be a blend of many different genres and styles. Can you describe your songwriting process? Yuna: I write my lyrics first, sometimes just as poetries, then I get into the studio with my producers, and we would kinda just mess around with the music and when it’s time for me to write melodies and lyrics I kinda already have things in my head or my book to write about.
Nitesh: Our theme for this issue is contrast. What struck you as markedly different about America when you moved here from Malaysia? Yuna: People out here are so competitive! It’s probably because of there’s a lot of great talents our here, especially in the city.
Nitesh: Does your past experience at law school contribute to your life as a musician today? Yuna: A little bit. In the music industry you kinda deal with a lot of contracts, basically, you have to know your rights and look after yourself.
Nitesh: Who are your biggest influences and role models? Yuna: My parents. They are the strongest people I know. Musically, I guess, Norah Jones. I love how she’s so successful and she’s so low key, you never see someone like that on tabloids, you know? Probably because she is so legit.
Nitesh: If you can collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be? Yuna: Michael Jackson.
Nitesh: At the end of the day, what is your goal when you write music? Yuna: I just want to make people feel good. I want them to feel happy when they listen to my music.
Nitesh: What do most people not know about you? Yuna: I can never watch horror movies. I don’t deal well with those kinda stuff ! I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all!
Photography: Dennis Auburn Model : Sara Skinner
Tania & Roman
AKA Synchrodogs Interview by Jenna Rainey Photos by Tania Shoheglova and Roman Noven
Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven are a photographic duo with an abundance of talent, having worked with magazines such as Dazed & Confused, Esquire and Harperâ€™s Bazaar. Exploring many areas, they primarily tend to focus around how humans are absorbed by the natural environment surrounding them.The pair have found themselves in some tricky situations as they continue to explore their artform, but they appear to be making all the right moves as their career continues to branch out and expand. Also working with the likes of high-street brand Urban Outfitters and lately having completed a shoot with entrepreneur Mark Zuckerburg, they are literally going global as they exhibit their work across the continents.
Jenna: Can you share a bit about yourselves/your background and how you came to work with one another?
Tania/Roman: We are two photographers from Ukraine - Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven, who met each other on the Internet in 2008.
Jenna: How would you sum yourselves up as artists? Tania/Roman: Nudity, self-excruciation, surreal foreplay, human nature, primitivism, symbolism, eccentricity, animalism and intuition are amongst the themes communicated by our artworks.
Jenna: A lot of your work seems to focus primarily around people, can you explain the reason behind this? Tania/Roman: Our works are mostly about human absorbed harmoniously by natural environment around.
Jenna: Where or whom do you draw inspiration from? Tania/Roman: Lately we realized that there are many ideas that come to our heads the moment we go to bed and almost fall asleep. That must be the mix of our everyday observations that inspire us, people and their weird lifestyles, locations that look surreal.
Jenna: Having accomplished some prolific collections of work, are there any shoots which you are particularly proud of ? Tania/Roman: Cant say we are proud of ourselves somehow, though of course there are projects that took more efforts to be completed. Working on Animalism, Naturalism (half of which meant shooting naked body in Muslim country) we had to fight all our fears: run from policemen across the mountains, hide from the guard standing along the perimeter of place we wanted to shoot, climb on extremely high vertical rocks using Romanâ€™s shoulders as ladder. It makes the project valuable for us.
Jenna: What is the dynamic like working as a duo? Are there any notable advantages? Tania/Roman: Of course! 4 hands, 2 brains.
Jenna: Aside from photography, what do Tania and Roman like do in their spare time? Tania/Roman: Roman likes longboarding, Tania is collecting vintage or weird jewelry, sometimes is making her own.
Jenna: If you had the choice of shooting anyone or anything, anywhere tomorrow, what would be your ideal set-up? And why? Tania/Roman: We wonâ€™t tell it, we will shoot it.
Jenna: What is it you wish to convey through your pictures? Aesthetically, Emotionally, Physically.. Tania/Roman: We want the viewer to feel some powerful emotional rise, raw and sincere nature.
Jenna: You appear to have come in leaps and bounds since your introduction to the art. What have been the highlights and the downfalls, if any, on your journey to where you are now. Tania/Roman:There was no quick jump in our career, leastwise 3 years of hard working seemed pretty long for us. We were pretty productive since we realized we wanted to make art so it was logically to get some attention from magazines and gallery spaces.
Jenna:What are your ambitions/goals for the future? Tania/Roman:There are many worldâ€™s leading galleries, museums, magazines, auctions, brands we would like to collaborate with. Hopefully we are still on the bottom of our career.
L’histoire d’une poupée
Photography Katia Bdr Model & Stylist: Lisa Villaret Clothing: Guerrisol 50
Lady Lazarus Interview by Nitesh Gupta Photos by Logan White
Lady Lazarus, stage name of artist Melissa Anne Sweat, although not well-known yet, has recently attracted the attention of many lovers of beautiful music. Never trained in piano, or any instrument, at the age of twenty-five, she bought a keyboard off Craigslist and began her process of self-discovery through music. She has never had a music lesson in her life, so she never needed to learn to break the rules. She relies on only her intuition, finding and discovering new parts of herself. Her music feels surreal, dreamy, almost wandering, yet somehow grounded and strong at the same time. In her songs, we hear not just a finished, cohesive product but the entire process of her journey through music. We hear a slight waver in her voice, vacillating time signatures, a slight feeling of uncertainty just before some notes, all of which contribute to the beauty of her music.
Atwood Magazine Nitesh: Tell me about yourself. Melissa: I grew up in quaint and quiet San Jose, Calif., the only girl, eldest of four siblings, and went to Catholic school most of my life, but moved away from religion in my teens—or was never really into it, actually—as I had previously joined the church of making art and simply being human long, long ago. I paint, take photos, write poetry, short stories, and am working on some book and screenplay ideas in addition to music. I’ve traveled quite a bit in the U.S. (to over 30 states, I believe), and a little outside the country (Canada, Ireland, and the UK). I love the U.S., but would like to see more of the world... I’m thinking of doing a big trip to Europe next year. I think I’m quite a transient person; it’s definitely hard for me to stay in one place. I’ve moved nearly every two years since turning 18, and am 30 now.
Nitesh: Without using genre names, how would you describe your music? Melissa: Spirited, Raw, Beautiful, Genuine, Dreamy, Powerful, Soul-Music
Nitesh: You get your stage name from a poem by Sylvia Plath. What does the poem mean to you, and how does it relate to your music? Melissa: Even though the poem is about suicide, I cling more to the idea of the main character in that poem as a rising phoenix, reborn back into life. I’ve had some very hard times and similarly feel like I’ve come back to life. Music has helped immensely. 63
Nitesh: What other poems have inspired you? Melissa: In A Dark Time by Theodore Roethke (this might be one of my favorite poems ever), The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop, Anecdote of the Jar by Wallace Stevens, The Blessing by James Wright, the sonnet, “Mindful of you the sodden earth in spring,” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Morning, Thinking of Empire by Raymond Carver Nitesh: When did you start making music? Melissa: Age 25 Nitesh: You’ve mentioned that your music has brought out parts of you that you never knew existed. What specifically has your music helped you realize about yourself ? Melissa: I never thought I could make music or perform it. It’s also helped me understand and heal from past wounds. I truly believe in the healing power of music. Music is magic. A real emotional and psychological salve. It works miracles.
Nitesh: What song carries the most meaning for you, and what is it about? Melissa: I’m really fond of “Wonder, Inc.” off the new album All My Love In Half Light as it describes quite obliquely the story of my life over the past few years. “Eventide,” too, is also quite a bold assertion for me: that I’m perfectly happy being alone and not in need of a lover... that I have everything I need. I like knowing I can be that self-contained as a person and artist. It’s necessary.
Nitesh: I find your song “Never Ever Anna” really beautiful. Can you tell me the story behind it? Melissa: It’s about feeling isolated and that there is no one cheering you on, believing in you, loving and understanding you, then breaking through that and realizing you had to power to go beyond what you thought you were capable of all along. I have a friend Anna, a good friend of mine, and Ann is my middle name and my mother’s, and it’s also the name of my grandmother who died in a plane crash when my father was six years old. Calling out to “Anna” is calling out to that little voice or person who actually
Nitesh: What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever witnessed? Melissa: There is a valley in Yellowstone National Park that in the summer is the greenest green I have ever seen, and resting above is the bluest sky I have ever seen, and if you’re lucky, on the day you visit, there will be a few white and perfect clouds there hovering just above the horizon, and all you see in the green rolling hills and the blue endless sky will be reflected in a crystalline lake below. It will feel like the meeting of heaven and earth, almost too beautiful to see. The eye can’t process it. You just need to sit there and feel it.
odessa Photography: Sophie Loloi Model: Joanna Bajena Stylist/Designer: Krystell Barraza MUA: Megan Oâ€™Kuesa
Kristina Lerner By Kris James Photos by Kristina Lerner Moscow native Kristina Lerner grew up surrounded by art. Her father was a musician, and her mother was a model. Her childhood was littered with saxophones, theaters, shows, paintbrushes, and dance performances. It wasn’t until her husband introduced her to photography that she found her voice. “I can talk through photography and tell what I can’t normally tell,” Lerner explained. Her interest in photography started with her husband. “I started taking photographs thanks to my husband…who explained to me what the photography is and how to approach it,” stated Lerner. “At that time he was in a band, playing guitar, and I enjoyed making pictures of how their gigs and shows, and especially when I could visualize the mood of their music through the pictures.” Lerner spent a year behind the lens at her husband’s gigs, exploring the range of her photography skills. Lerner pulls from her personal life to create her photography. “I can’t make pictures of something I’m detached from,” explained Lerner. She has felt the pull to explore her world with photography since her first lens shuttered at her husband’s gig. “I tell my life and my emotions through photography. This is my way of sharing it,” stated Lerner. Her story is told with pictures. Her life experiences unfold in still frames and dark rooms. She has had the privilege of teaching photography to students, gaining a second place title at the international Vilnus Photo Circle, and garnishing various invitations to exhibitions and conferences. Her five year career began unfiltered. “I was trying to chase everything,” said Lerner. She eventually honed her artistic eye on the abstract world of black and white photography. Her projects and portfolios speak as a black and white silent film on glossy prints.
Lerner gravitated toward abstract photography in black and white. She wanted her photos to act like a drawing and tell a story. She chose black and white because color felt too “realistic.” She felt a pull to have her pictures feel like graphics. In her piece “Golem,” she invokes black and white photos to tell the story of an author and its creation becoming opposing forces. This mimics her own experience with her artwork: “I think that art is an attempt to find a compromise between what you are and what you do. It’s similar to searching for something in a dark room. You know that it’s somewhere there, but it always slips away. And this always keeps me unsure if I’m searching for the correct ‘something.’ And later, when the work is done, it starts to live on its own, without author. So it becomes your twin, your mirror, and you either see yourself there or not.” Artwork becomes its own entity. After its creation, the author will step away, and, according to Lerner, it will either mimic what the author has intended and stand on its own, or it won’t. Lerner depends on music for her photography. “Music has been with me since my childhood, thanks to my father,” began Lerner. “And (my) photography has started from taking pictures of musicians, again while listening to their music. And I’m always listening to some music, when I’m taking pictures in studio or on the street. And sometimes silence can be music.” Music leads Lerner to create a world with photos. In this world, she brings out textures to bring a character to life and to visualize a meaning. Her emotion-filled photography brings life to the prints. She invokes every method available to ensure that the piece that she works on expresses its true meaning. “If I make a picture of something sharp, I will try to express it with every way I have- composition, lighting, texture, etc.” Lerner allows the theme of the series to dictate her expression. Kristina Lerner’s photography embarks upon its own journey. Her photos have a story to tell. She embraces black and white photography as her medium to portray her story. She wants her work to stand alone, apart from its author. Keeping her camera in hand, Lerner walks through life hoping to tell more stories. “Sometimes you find scenarios around, when you don’t expect them at all. This way it’s just a matter of having a camera with me.” Kristina Lerner is a storyteller with her camera acting as her pen. She uses her photography to express her emotions, to tell her life story. Her photography is her way of sharing her life story.
slicky rick PhotographY: Evie McShane Model: Lauren Switzer (Wilhelmina) Hair & Makeup: Ty Marie Combe Wardrobe Stylist: Jenna Brucks & Aimee Bradley (BruXley Style) Wardrobe Assistant: Lexi Marquez
interview by Cristina Good
Taking the time away from writing and his busy DC life, Ramtin Arablouei, percussionist for Drop Electric, treated us with an interview. If you didn’t catch it by the name, this band is heavily electronic, yet has organically developed vocals and lyrics to more than compliment the instrumental. By mixing cinematography with their music during concerts, Drop Electric has many a time evoked tear-worthy emotions. Each member of the band, coming from all walks of life, largely contributed to their newest album: Waking Up to the Fire which dropped on October 22nd of this year. Cristina: Where are you as we speak? Ramtin: Based in the metropolitan area of Washington DC, our studio is in Bethesda Maryland. Five minutes from the city. A few of us live together and everyone else lives about 10 minutes away. Three of us live in the house, which actually holds the studio. We live with our work and don’t have to pay for studio time.” Cristina: Who does most of the technical work? Ramtin: I do. I am the sort of producer, I write a lot of the songs, I’m also a sound engineer, I’ve worked as one for many years.
Cristina: How did the band come together? Ramtin: Typical band, Neel sings and I went to undergrad together, we met the other folks in the music scene on Craigslist. We’ve been in this band and in this formation since about 2010. The newest member (Navid) was actually a fan of the band and is [in] another really rad DC band, Technicians. We just got to know him really well and it seemed to work out.
Cristina: When Kristina joined the band, is that when the vocals were added? Ramtin: Yea we didn’t always have vocals; we were an instrumental band for a number of years. We weren’t against having a vocalist, it was just that none of us could sing. When Kristina joined, she actually joined to be a guitarist and a keyboard player, none of us knew she could sing. She shyly played one of her own tracks for me one day while driving in the car and my first reaction was “Holy Shit, you can sing!” It essentially evolved that way. It was a very pleasant accident. Kristina does all of the lyric writing, a couple songs I helped her write in the past. But for this album, she did it entirely herself. We finish the music together and she writes the lyrics and in a couple of weeks, we have the whole song. That’s our process now.
Cristina: How is your newest album different from your previous songs? Ramtin:The only one we released before this one was called Finding Color in the Ashes. Those past songs are much less electronic, and more of a full band typical set up in comparison to this album which is much more electronic. It is much more experimental. When I looked into the “vault” of my past songs, it was obvious that we had enough for a whole album’s worth of material. It all came together really quick, putting it together in only 5 months which is really fast for us. This album is also a lot more vocal heavy and electronic. All of us have songs on our laptops that we write ourselves, that basically are like demos. So we just shared them and we all got really excited about the it. That was the inspiration for this album: just sitting around listening to tracks that each of us have written and playing around with them. A lot of them came written, versus sitting around collaborating the way we’ve written in the past. The songs on my laptop were finished songs and I would give them to Kristina who would write lyrics/ add vocals to them, add a little guitar here and there and then we would sit together and mix them adding a bunch of bells and whistles finishing them together. Usually it is totally collaborative, but in this case we just used each others demos. Cristina: Which song holds the most meaning for you? Ramtin: The Empire Trashed which is on the sampler EP had the most impact on us as far as our career....
...It’s the song that NPR featured. But the most special song for us is Santo Domingo which is also off the sampler. It was a song that we all worked on very collaboratively; its one of our babies. We all claim ownership of that song, its also had a huge impact on us. One guy on YouTube actually made a video doing p90x to that song which was weird, because it was this dude wearing a speedo working out in his room, just strange. Lucille which is off this current album is also super special because Neel had the song playing when he proposed to his girlfriend, he really loves the lyrics that Kristina wrote. Cristina: I’ve read that your work is largely inspired by cinema. What was the last movie you all have seen and what is your review of it? Ramtin: I actually saw, I watched this Korean movie called “Old Boy” for the first time. I had never seen it, its sort of a classic. I watched it yesterday, and began actually writing today thinking about that movie. It’s like a super creepy movie about this guy who gets locked in a room for 15 years and he doesn’t know why. Then randomly after 15 years, he is released without any idea why he was kidnapped or released. He goes back to society and tries to figure everything out. It won a Stockholm International Film festival award like 12 years ago. Spike Lee is actually doing a remake of the movie with Josh Brolin in lead, set to be released near Christmas. It was a really creepy movie; I wonder what it will bring about to the writing.
Cristina: When you’re creating a song, do the images that you want to display dance around your head simultaneously? Explain that process. Ramtin: Right after I see a movie or something else that inspires me, I’ll go back and write. But in some cases it’s the opposite, the song will come out of nowhere and then we all think about what images would go well with this song, but overall it definitely is a process that happens simultaneously. It is a very organic back and forth process.
Cristina: What would you say the most unique reaction someone has had to your music? Ramtin: The thing that has always stuck out to me is we’ve had a couple people cry at our shows which is always really weird, not that I criticize that or anything because I’ve been to shows where I’ve gotten choked up because its been so [impactful]. It’s always really moving. It’s an honor when anyone is that touched by our music. People have walked out of our shows, or look like they’re about to fall asleep, so that’s always really memorable. I can see how people can be affected both ways because there are times when it’s really loud at our shows but then also really quiet.
Cristina: How has each of you all’s past impacted the future direction of the band? Ramtin: We all for the most part are from immigrant families. Either we weren’t born here or our parents weren’t born here. Kristina is third and fourth generation Mexican and Russian. So we all have that in our background. Shota is Japanese, I was born in Iran and Neal’s parents were born in India. And Navid: one of his parents was born in Iran while the other was born in Puerto Rico. It impacts the way we approach working: all of us saw our parents work really hard, since we all come from working class families in the DC area and saw our parents grind and work, I think that work ethic has translated. We do definitely work hard and we’re not afraid or ashamed to say that we do work hard. We play a lot of shows with bands from all around the country and we are very unique one in the sense that we have a girl in our band, who’s not a token, but a key part of the band. We also look different than a lot of the other bands that we play with. We’ve never run into “in your face” racism but it affects how we engage with people or how people look at us; we’re way different. I think some people are sometimes surprised. Our backgrounds is something that unites us.
being one when everyone is two people are always looking for other people to make them whole. nobody can be happy alone. being happy means being two. a table for two by the window, two bicycles, two plates and two knifes and forks, your side of the bed, my side of the bed. i am alone and i am not happy. but i have once been alone and happy. two is a made up idea. two makes one feel like he should be sad when maybe he is just fine being one. i want to go back to when i was one and i was happy. two is complicated and nobody talks about when two is unhappy. one is simple and one is sometimes happy without needing to make two happy.
PhotographY: Elizabeth Foster Model: Sierra Laney Hair/MUA: Rashida Bolden: @ Color My Face Hair/MUA Assistant: Gaytri Rab Stylist: Nyle Fisher
Sara Skinner Interview by Annie Stokes
Sara Skinner never meant to be a model. She merely wanted to make new friends, and had always had an interest in visual art, and those two things coalesced until she ended up in front of a camera. You probably recognize her: her editorial work has been featured in almost every issue of Atwood Magazine to date. And her happenstance arrival in the modeling world, coupled with her friendship-based philosophy about her career, make her a perfectly relatable mascot for any twenty-something who’s trying to create a place for themselves in this world.
Annie: Our readers probably recognize you from the many spreads we’ve been lucky enough to have you in. Tell us a little bit about yourself. I understand you’re going to school in Texas? Sara: Well I’m 20 years old and yeah, I was born and raised in Austin, Texas; however I recently moved to Houston for school. I study Interior Architecture at the University of Houston. I actually got involved with modeling because when I first moved to Houston I was having a really hard time meeting new people and making friends, my then sister-in-law, who’s a fitness model, suggested I try modeling because it really helped her meet new people when she first moved to Austin. It ended up working for me as well; I’ve met not only really nice photographers, but stylists, makeup artists, and other models too.
Annie: What type of modeling do you do? Sara: I tend to stick to editorial-type work; runway is a little too high energy for me. Recently I’ve also just been sticking to modeling with friends or people whom I think could become good friends.
Annie: Are you interested in other areas of the art world? Your portfolio has a lot of shoots that are very artistic and edgy —I imagine it’s difficult to be a model and not be interested in those aspects of the job. Sara: Even before I started modeling I was interested in “the art”, though I will say I never thought I’d get to be this involved with it. Throughout all of high school I did ceramics and a bit of sculpture, but I always just looked at it as a hobby. Then when it came time to apply for college I decided that I didn’t want to give up that hands-on activity, so I decided to major in Architecture. Since I started modeling I’ve also taken an interest in photography. Whenever possible I like to do collaborations with photographers where I do more than just model, but help in either the planning or processing of the photos. I once did a collaboration with Sophie Loloi where we used one of my architecture projects as props for a shoot. And recently I did a collaboration with my good friend Rebekah Campbell called Glitterghost; after we took the photos we printed them out and painted over them. That was a lot of fun. Aside from collaborations I also like to take photos myself, but just for fun, I have my own little thing where I take Instax of photographers in their beds.
Annie: Do you have a favorite shoot? Sara: Picking a favorite shoot is impossible, but shoots I do when traveling tend to hold the most meaning and memories for me. Like when I see photos from the editorial West Texas that you all ran in your last issue it always brings back really fond memories for me. It was more than just an editorial we shot, but rather a documentation of all the places we visited when we skipped school for a few days and took this spur of the moment trip to Marfa. whom I think could become good friends.
Annie: What sort of input do you have with your shoots? Sara: The amount of input I get to give depends on the shoot and who I’m working with. Like I said earlier, if I’m shooting with friends then I often get to give suggestions for the shoot. If the shoot is with someone I don’t know, or something I’ve been casted for though, then I just go with the flow of whatever the photographer or client wants.
Annie: What are your plans for the future? Sara: To have fun! I’ve already done more with modeling then I ever thought I’d be able to. I just want to keep meeting new people, and make things I can be proud of.
FEMME Interview by Nitesh Gupta Photos:High Rise PR
You may have already heard her ethereal voice on the Ultraísta track “Smalltalk”, or on the popular remix by Four Tet, but for the past year, Laura Bettinson has been working on her own solo project under the moniker, “FEMME.” The upper-case letters are intentional. FEMME’s music isn’t the kind that slowly builds up from one note at a time. Her songs hit us full-force. When we watch the music videos, within the first few seconds, we become sucked into her eccentric world. I find her songs, especially “Fever Boy,” extremely catchy, but not like the overly-repetitive songs we often hear on the radio. Bettinson, by making the music videos, writing the lyrics and producing the music , quite literally puts her whole personality into FEMME. And the result is not a shallow pop song but a dynamic, rich and substantive work of art. Nitesh: Tell me about yourself Laura: I am a music maker from London, female producer, I make all the music and produce myself. Kind of always have done music from an early age and then I started messing around with electronic music when I moved to London which was six years. And that’s where I started producing beats and recording and messing around in Logic and stuff. Femme has really only existed for year.
Nitesh: Without using genre names, how would you describe your music? Laura: I think it’s like The Ronettes, The Crystals, M.I.A, Santigold, and Blondie all getting drunk together walking into a hiphop dive bar and having a girls night out.
Nitesh: That’s perfect. How do people typically react to your music? Laura: They dance. It’s amazing. We played a few shows in the UK, just some warm-up gigs, and it was the first set I’ve ever played where people don’t know your tunes, don’t know who you are, but they just feel this compulsion to move. That’s always what I wanted to do. It’s funny and upbeat music. And I’m so happy that people enjoy moving to it. I’ve never listened to music to bring myself down and wallow in anything. I always have listened to the things that bring me up and I think that’s leaked into the music I make.
Nitesh: Previously you were working with Nigel Godrich on Ultraísta, where you released songs remixed by Four Tet and David Lynch. What made you decide to return to solo work? Laura: I just had some time to do it. It’s really important for me. I’ve never been in bands before I was in Ultraísta, because I do like making a lot of the creative decisions myself. And it’s really important for me to have another creative outlet running along Ultraísta. And there will be some more Ultraísta work next year.
Nitesh: You’ve mention that you combine masculine beats with feminine girl group melodies? In what way does gender influence music and vice versa? Laura: For me, as a female producer, I am met with surprise quite a lot when people realize that I make all the music and the beats myself. So I guess whether consciously or unconsciously I’m using them in a very pop way. I’m not making hip hip music, but it brings a lot of attitude to it. And you know—I don’t come from a hip hop background— but you hear rappers talking about pretty derogatory things towards women. I wanted to use the energy from those beats, because those beats have a lot of energy, and use those for feminine pop, for those girls groups who charm the idea of sisters standing up for themselves. That’s the whole motive behind this music. The video’s got my girlfriends in it. They all do different things. It’s just sisters getting together, doing it and getting shit done.
Nitesh: You seem to be a very much a DIY musician, your videos, the music, the production. How do you balance all your time? Laura: When I’m writing music, I’ve already got the video in my head a lot of the time or an idea for it. This just happened the other day. I came up with another tune and already I know what I want the video to be like. For me it was really important to get the visual side of things exactly the way I wanted it to be. Because when I hear a tune, I immediately go to Youtube and watch the music video or someone else’s video. So it was important for me to get the songs out with a visual. It’s not that I don’t want to collaborate with other filmmakers, I would love to work with some of them. But at this stage, it’s been important for me to have my personality in everything. I take responsibility for it all, the bits that people hate and the bits that people love.
Nitesh: : Do you have any particular people you’d love to collaborate with? Laura: Visually, yes, of course! I’d love to make something visually with Michel Gondry and Chris Cunningham!
Nitesh: Why those people in particular? Laura: They just make fucking great music videos. It’s really weird stuff. There’s a dark sense of humor behind it. Just clever videos. And that’s the stuff that I like most of the time. Some of the music I make is simplistic but I hope it’s a little more intelligent than some of the pop music that is mainstream.
Nitesh: What are three things most people would never expect about you? Laura: My mom and dad have an alpaca farm. I’m on expert on dog breeds.
Nitesh: What’s your favorite dog breed? Laura: I would either like a Russian Toy Terrier or a mixture between a Pikingese and the Griffon. It’s called a Griffonese.
my fair lady PhotoGraphy - Natasha Wong Model - Am Montoya Wardrobe - Am Montoya and Elizabeth Mahan
Fanette Guilloud Interview by Cristina Good
Currently residing in Paris, Fanette Guilloud balances the hustle and bustle of the Parisian streets by seeking haven in the serene environment of abandoned places. She contrasts the rustic feel of these deserted landscapes with her sharp colorful geometric paintings, adding life to the isolate. Not only able to transform landscapes, through her portrait series she has captured the fire and depth of the womanly spirit. Fannette plans to incorporate even more anamorphosis into her upcoming series. Cristina: How do you choose the geometric shape to paint onto the wall? Do you play around with the shape first? Or do you have an exact shape in mind? Fanette: There is a complex work (process) before any painting, (to understand) the shape and the location. When I find the place, I have to go there several times and then I try to adapt a shape with the layout, and the roomâ€™s/placeâ€™s space.
Cristina: What inspired you to combine abandoned landscapes with fresh geometric images? Fanette: I wanted to work on the abstract perception of the brain by adding my touch to these abandoned places, while keeping the spirit of the place.
Atwood Magazine Cristina: I read that you use a method of painting like that of Felice Varini. Do you actually use a brush to paint the landscapes or do you use the adhesive-like paint that Varini uses? Fanette: I use sprays to paint; and no overhead projector. It’s calculation and eyes only. Cristina: When you are working on a piece, what is the mood like around you? Do you like the quiet? Do you blast music? Describe your working environment. Fanette: For this particular project I often was in abandoned places, therefore I liked it to be quiet since it demands a lot of concentration and patience. I always try to respect these places as much as I can. I barely take any break while I am painting them. It’s a concentrated state that I really like. Cristna: What is the story behind your portrait series?
Cristina: You are currently living in Paris now, correct? How has the move to this big city affected your art? Fanette: Yes, I just moved from Toulouse to Paris since I finished my photography school last June. For now, it doesn’t affect my art that much since I am often planning my project outside of the town I live in. But it is a very powerful place in which to think about your art though.
Cristina: When and how did you have the idea for “Maison Binoclette”? Which takes priority: your art or Maison Binoclette? Fanette: I created Maison Binoclette 3 years ago, and as simple as it sounds I just thought my laptop’s Apple seemed a little lonely. It is a little side project, and of course my art is my priority, and most of all my work every day.
Fanette: For these portraits, they are mostly about girls about to be women. It’s a work on the aesthetic of their different personalities with a little “warlike” thing on their eyes.
Cristina: What do you believe, if anything, bridges the gap between your portrait series as “Géométrie de l’impossible? Fanette: These series are very different but I hope there’s something in the geometry, minimalism and search for an aesthetic sense that make them close and can express my point of view about different things through art.
Cristina: What should we expect next from you? Fanette: I just started selling my works on Artfloor.com, and I am currently starting to work on another series, portraits and land art/ installations in the spirit of the anamorphosis.
geographer Interview by Nitesh Gupta Photos by Victoria Smith
When I hear a band I like, I always look up where they are from. They almost always bring some aspect of their hometown into their music and it helps me understand the landscapes and culture of the place more to know the music of it. The band Geographer is no exception. And their name—chosen because of the emotional landscapes their songs map out—reveals this connection between landscapes and music. The synth-driven indie band was formed in the San Francisco Bay Area but none of the three members grew up there. After struggling through some deaths in his family, Mike Deni escaped from New Jersey to the Bay Area and began playing at open mics. There he met Nathan and Brian, two future band members who had also recently escaped the East Coast. Using a synthesizer he found on the street, Mike Deni started writing songs with Nathan and Brian, releasing Innocent Ghosts in 2008. Four years later, Geographer released their most recent album Myth, a concept album full of unique sounds and powerful lyrics. Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Mike Deni, the founder of the band, about the band’s music, his life, and his new hometown, San Francisco.
Nitesh: Without using genre names, how would you describe your music? Mike: We like to call it soulful music from outer space, because we like to concentrate on songs first and foremost, and then we like to fill them out and define them using sounds that are often times bizarre and exciting, difficult to pinpoint.
Nitesh: Describe your recording process. Mike: Most of the work that used to be done in a studio over the course of a year can now be done at home or at our practice studio. But it’s still part of the recording process. We make intricate demos of all of our songs, which are essentially finished products, just done imperfectly. Then we go into a studio for a few weeks or a month, and improve upon what we’ve got, find ways to make them even better. I like tracking my vocals while Brian plays the drums, if at all possible, while I play another instrument at the same time. That helps me get out of my head and into the song. But sometimes it’s nice to sing over a fully fleshed out song, so you can’t help but access the emotion. The first take usually has that magic, but it’s relatively rare that a full first take is used. We’re very meticulous. A lot of time spent dialing synth sounds, pairing different guitars with amps, seeing new things we can do with the cello, putting the drums in different room. It’s extremely exciting and equally exhausting. I get into a rhythm where whenever I’m outside of the studio I’m not happy. The few hours I have to myself at the end of every day are spent with things reeling around inside my head and they at least have a place to go when I’m at the studio. You just do it til it’s done. 148
Nitesh: You’ve mentioned that your band name has something to do with music mapping out various emotional state. What song, from your band or others, evokes the most powerful emotional map for you? Mike: That’s a great question. For me it’s a song we’ve never released, that I wrote a long time ago when I first moved to San Francisco. We’ve tried to put it on every record, but it never quite felt fully dressed. I think we have a version of it now though, that is the way it was meant to be. But that song is very much an expression of my emotional state for those early years in San Francisco.
Nitesh: You’ve mentioned that the notion of “myths” spanned your latest album. Our theme for this issue is contrast. What myth do you think is furthest from reality? Mike: I think the myth of happiness. Not that you can’t be happy. But we seem to have this idea that we should be happy all the time, that if we’re not, there’s something wrong with us. But no one’s running around with a smile on their face all the time, and if they are, you don’t really like them, do you? So why is everyone so obsessed with one emotion? “Happily ever after” is just the minutes before the couple has their first fight. It’s Shakespeare’s green world, where fairies and sprites make everything nice, but off in the distance, is the town, where reality looms. Nitesh: You went from leaving your family and playing a synthesizer you found on the street to being part of unique, creative, and successful band. How do your past experiences influence how you live today? Mike: I think running myself through the ringer of trying to figure everything out, and seeing the darkness that being dedicated to truth can lead you to, has made me decide to try to enjoy my life while I have it, whatever it is, wherever it goes. Easier said than done. But it works sometimes.
Nitesh: What do you have planned next for your music? Mike: I’d like to make an album whose songs are as strong as the sounds on it, stronger than the sounds, really, bigger than the sounds. Songs you could dress up many ways and they’d still be great. Nitesh: What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever witnessed? Mike: I’d like to think of a moment, and interaction between people, but my mind keeps going to places. I love beautiful places. Like the beach in San Francisco I like to go to, or the Eolian Islands in Italy, that I went to once. There are these tiny islands called Le Formiche, which means ants, and some of them are only about 100 feet long, and they’re in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the sea. It’s unbelievable. Antonioni filmed L’Aventura there. Nitesh: What are three things most people don’t know about you? Mike: The instrument I’m best at playing is the saxophone, I can kick your ass at racquetball, and whenever I dream I can fly, all I can do is float in a sitting position, and I just want to swoop and soar, but I just float to the top of a room and hover there.
Mark Peckmezian By Kris James
From the back of the class, Mark Peckmezian began secretly writing lyrical lines on the outskirts of his class notes. His curious mind leaked from his fingertips, spilling onto paper, then stretched canvas, and then on onto film strips. After experimenting with several art forms to try to release his artistic itch, Peckmezian found his finger on the shutter button of a Nikon. A longing to find an individual medium lead Peckmezian away from the film crew and towards a dark room where he could see his creativity spread across the films submerged in liquid. Peckmezian’s talent derives from his reaction to a stutter. “(The stutter is) central to who I am; why I have this itch to create art,” explained Peckmezian. Art is a reaction to his stutter that feels true. “I can’t overcome it, but I (can) accept it,” added Peckmezian. It lead Peckmezian to become better as a person. For Peckmezian, it’s about being your own person. It would be easy for some people to “let go of their identity to avoid criticism. (Some people are so) desperate for approval of peers as children,” Peckmezian added, “that they lose their integrity (where) character is built.” Peckmezian’s art focuses on the human form. The fascination with the human form spawned a collection of portraits. The collection began with a series of black and white photographs. The figurative imagery is “timeless. The photos appear to be from any era,” explained Peckmezian. His portraits focus solely on the subject. “I don’t want the photo to be noisy visually,” he said. “It’s as simple as they are the subject. Everything else is extraneous.”
Subject matter is “as important as anything else” to Peckmezian. He gathers subjects by following intuitions. He tries to take photos of people that he knows. However, when he stumbles across a person that he feels would make an intriguing subject for a portrait, he jumps on the opportunity to “adopt another body, another culture” for his photography. Peckmezian enforces his creative choices. One such example is a portrait of one of his friends. She wears a bra and socks, dancing upon a hardwood floor. The photo originates from a gifted bottle of vodka, which lead to an “interesting night.” This documentary style photograph is a growing form for Peckmezian. For the past two to three years, he has started experimenting with color photos in candid frames. He also utilizes his test prints. The test prints from experimenting usually end up piled in landfills for most photographers. For Peckmezian, these prints are more than a visual check for exposure. “They are interesting as finished prints.” Connotations dictate the control that Peckmezian utilizes in the dark room. “Torn edges can make (the photographs) more memento, more artifact. They are like a diary entry,” explained Peckmezian. “Some (photographs) I intend more casual, rough. Others I take seriously.” The idea behind the photograph portrays the needs for different treatments. Peckmezian has mastered his creative mind. He is able to see a person, and turn that person’s portrait into a piece of art. Peckmezian utilizes the itch to create pieces that pull the human form from body parts on film to a soul leaking out from a portrait. His portraits have much more to say then he can write on the side of his old class notes. This New York transplant has carved out his own niche in a city full of creative minds.
doa Photography: Cameron Lee Phan Model: Doa Boa (Wallflower Management)
Jaymes Young By Annie Stokes Photos by Tiger Tiger
Jaymes Young started writing songs at fourteen out of sheer boredom and the restless urge to create something. Almost a decade later, his transcendental sounds are attracting fans and propelling himtowards his debut album. With his “Dark Star” EP making waves online and a tour with London Grammar under his belt, Jaymes Young spoke with us about where he’s been and where he’s going next
Annie: Where are you from? Tell us about yourself. Jaymes: Well, I’m originally from Seattle. I’ve been in LA for just over a year. I actually lived cross the lake from downtown Seattle. It’s more of a laid back area. I picked up music when I was pretty young, about fourteen. Annie How did you get started in music? Jaymes: I picked up guitar out of pure boredom and the fact that I had a lot of inspiration and passion to do something and didn’t necessarily have an outlet for it. It was a classical nylon string guitar. I was into poetry before guitar so guitar and lyrics the biggest things for me and things that interested me the most. I would record songs through the little hole on the computer for several years. It was sort of a hobby but because of how much I did it and cared about it, I sort of always knew that I had to incorporate (music) with whatever career I was going to do. Annie: Tell us about the EP “Dark Star.” What was the inspiration behind it, and was the process in terms of making it? Jaymes: Some of the songs are really old (lyrically). “Wondering” is three years old and I just hadn’t finished recording it till (“Dark Star”). When I moved to Los Angeles, I didn’t have the intention of doing an artistic career or releasing songs under my name. But I was writing a lot and a batch of songs started to sound really . . . synonymous with each other and myself as an artist. And I kind of realized that these songs wouldn’t be good for anyone (else) to put out right now. I always wanted to be an artist, I just never knew when the right time was going to be.
Annie: Do you know what your next project will be? Jaymes: We have several demos recorded for a debut album and that’s kind the focus right now. It’s definitely going to happen. The material is pretty much all there. It’s just a matter of doing what we did for the Dark Star Mixtape but more appropriate. A little less anonymous; people will have more of a clue where it’s coming from and the songs will be more polished. (It will be) more produced, but the writing process and taking the time to appreciate the work and what we’ve put into the recording will be just as delicate. Annie: What is your proudest accomplishment as a musician? Jaymes: I still have so many goals left. If I had to pick one…I would say, kind of two things. The first being that there were times where even though music was all I wanted to do, I wanted to give up and I was tired of trying to make a living off of doing music and to find hope that it was something I’d be able to do for as long as possible. So, just kind of holding on is something I’m proud of. Over the last decade. And I’m really proud of the lyrics that I write and I think that I’m really true to myself as an artist. I don’t really like to try and write things that sound like other artists. Annie: How do you see yourself growing and changing as an artist? Jaymes: I like to evolve all the time. I don’t like to stay the same as an artist and it’s kind of scary because some artists change and people think that that’s why they failed. Important things carry through,
Annie: How did music evolve from a hobby that you took up as a kid into a career? How did the EP come into being if you didn’t necessarily intend for this to be your career at the moment? Jaymes: I’m in love with the writing process more than anything. It’s on par with performing live. And writing songs is more of a rewarding scenario. Took recording/ producing/writing (classes) and that was truly all that I had. I didn’t have any sort of team before this process, so the nuts and bolts have been getting this team together for this project. The product was well underway before we knew exactly what we wanted to do. Putting the “Dark Star” song out was kind of a tester to see what it would do. We wanted to see if people would react the same way that we did. Annie: What do you listen to? Jaymes: I listen to a lot of contradictory genres. Depends on what mood I’m in to be honest. I consider myself to be a pretty sporadic listener. The songs that inspire me are the ones that have fallen into my lap over the years.
T e a m Thursday Interview by Annie Stokes
Team Thursday, the collaborative art company comprised of Simone Trum and Loes van Esch, never lacks for inspiration. Although their projects vary wildly from design commissions from large companies to smaller, more indie undertakings, they always manage to produce breathtakingly unique art. Both women have been artists since childhood, and are perfect examples of the unexpected heights we can achieve when we pool our talents and insights with others.
Atwood Magazine Annie: Tell us about yourselves (Loes and Simone). Where did you grow up, go to school, and become interested in art? Simone: I grew up in Rosmalen, in the south of The Netherlands. From an early age, my parents took me to art exhibitions - one of my first art memories is the Kroller Muller museum, a museum in the middle of a nature area with a lot of Van Gogh paintings and a sculpture garden. I still like that place very much. The combination of art and nature is stunning. Lous: I also grew up in the south of NL, nearby Tilburg. Since I was young, I was interested in drawing and making up stories. When I was eight, I got a typewriter from my parents and started making little books with my own stories and drawings in it.
Annie: How did you two meet and create Team Thursday? S/L: We met at art school in Arnhem, we were actually in the same class for four years but at that time never thought of collaborating until later, during Werkplaats Typografie’s Summerschool in Urbino, Italy. We started to do projects together one day a week, and that worked out very well so we decided to just go for it, move to Rotterdam and start Team Thursday. Annie: Team Thursday is a collaborative studio. What’s it like to make art as a pair? S/L: It’s great. We make stuff together that we’d not make alone. It’s really like putting our strengths together and something comes out, we never know what in the beginning, but it surprises us most of the time. Ideally (if we have the time) we work together very intense: working on a file, changing files with each other, work on that again, and so on, so that in the end it’s hard to tell who did what part specifically. And that doesn’t matter also. It’s always team design.
Annie: What are your specific strengths as team members? S : If it wasn’t for Loes, I think projects wouldn’t be so well detailed and worked out. She’s very precise and concentrated, and I think she’s got a great intuitive feeling for form, composition, and type. She’s also good in seeing things in perspective, while I tend to go floating a bit. (I think) L: Simone is a good (conceptual) thinker and has a great sense of experiment in form and idea. She tends to have a good overview on a project (the ‘bigger story’) and always stays critical, which is very important. Annie: Tell us about the artistic process. You take on a lot of projects for other companies/groups, but how does the inspiration form? S/L: The inspiration can come from everything, that’s different each time. We mostly start sketching by hand. Not only scribbling ideas, but also experimenting with cutting and tearing paper, fabrics, making small compositions. This tactility is very important to have from the start. A lot of times this also shows in the end result of the project. Annie: Tell us about two drastically different projects you worked on. S/L: The Great Indoors Award was a crazy project for us at the time because it was so elaborate. The Great Indoors Award is an international award for interior designers, which takes place in Maastricht during a weekend in November, with a design route in the city, a dinner, awardshow and exhibition. We started out with an assignment for an invitation and program booklet and some online banners. We ended up designing almost one kilometer of wallpaper, which we tore up and installed in the interior. It was really nice to get the chance to think of every aspect of design, we even thought of a tune to be played at the award show. A different project is our poster Papercuts. Graphic Design Festival Breda asked us to design an A0-poster for their Poster Project throughout the city of Breda. We used paper, scissors and some glue, so the physical papercuts are silkscreend directly on the poster. We like this kind of ‘hands on’ technique. The quote ‘Count money till my fingers get the papercuts’ comes from a hiphop track by SL Jones and refers to the theme of the project: Greed is in, empathy is out. 174
Atwood Magazine Annie: What are you working on now? S/L: We’re currently finishing up KWARTET II - a card game, in English called ‘happy family’, of artworks that have a similarity. It’s a project of Marijke Appelman and Koen Taselaar, two artists from Rotterdam. They asked for a very present design, which is quite fun to work on. Annie: What is an accomplishment that you are particularly proud of, separately or together or both? S/L: This, here and now. Annie: If you could meet any one artist that you admire, who would it be? S: At this moment that would be Charles & Ray Eames. We went to their house in LA this summer, it was so great to be there and kind of ‘feel’ how they must have worked and thought about their work. The broad spectrum in which they worked, and how they combined their forces, for them design was really soaked up in their entire life. L: We went to visit Claes Oldenburg’s exhibition in the MoMa in new York last June, and were really impressed by The Store (sculptures of commercial products) and his ‘soft sculptures’ (blown up versions of every day objects). It’s heavy and light and humouristic at the same time. But especially his little Mouse Museum (a large collection of carefully arranged everyday items, mainly from the seventies) drew my attention. I love New York, and sometimes I wish I could have been there in those days and see the rough and crazy version of the city.
lost in reverie Photography: Eva Esia Design: Raphaela Knipf Model: Michaela Kireta MUA: Martina Bahle
Apache Relay Interview by Cristina Good Photos by Maddy Mallory
Taking the time to meet us before their concert, three of the members of Apache Relay (guitarist Mike Harris, violinist Kellen Wenrich, and lead singer/guitarist Michael Ford) enlightened us with the story of how a few guys casually playing together transformed into a successful band with a headlining tour. To put a title on Apache Relay’s sound would be impossible as it ranges from bluegrass to rock and roll to alternative. With a new album coming out, we can only expect that this band will defy any stereotypes on their sound.
Cristina: “How does your live show differ from your record?” Michael: “It’s hard for me to say because I have perspective on it. The live show has more energy than the record. I think it feels more lively and we’ve been touring on American Nomad for awhile now—two and a half to three years—so there’s nuances that have changed within the songs, like we kind of play to the dynamic of the songs. In that way, we’re not afraid to change things up here or there and let the live show be different than the record.”
Cristina: “Do you ever get tired of playing the same sets after two years?” Michael: “I don’t know; we’re definitely excited to put out a new record, but the songs still feel fun.”
Cristina: “Do you prefer playing the live version of it?” Michael: “Yeah, it’s exciting. It keeps the songs feeling alive and fresh.”
Cristina: “How has it been opening for bands versus having bands open for you?” Michael: “The sets have gotten longer. There’s more pressure on us to put on a better show, which is exciting because it makes us have to really step up and put on a headlining show. So, in that way, it’s a little more pressure, but it also makes us better. And, doing our own shows, people come knowing the record versus when we open for someone at a bigger venue, we’re having to fight to win people over the whole time, and so that creates a little difference in mentality in that way.”
Cristina: “When is your new record coming out?” Michael: “This coming spring. It’s already done and we recorded it in Los Angeles, starting in last October through May.”
Cristina: “Before you began your two, three year long tours, did you ever consider yourselves “American Nomads” or would you say you were more of home bodies?” Michael: “Yeah, definitely. I was a total homebody. It took me a long time to get use to touring. Touring is fun, but it’s super daunting. But, now I’m really used to it. Now, when we’re in Nashville for too long, we start losing our minds.”
Cristina: “Do you catch fans that come to your shows knowing your record beforehand or do they come to your show then buy the record afterward?” Michael “It depends.” Kellen: “It’s usually mix. Most of the time people bring a friend or two with them. It’s a little bit of both honestly.”
Cristina: “Besides music, what else do you guys like to do when you’re on tour?” Kellen: “We play lots of football, but we took precaution and got a foam ball because we don’t want to break a finger or something.”
Atwood Magazine Cristina: “How did you guys start the band? I know Michael was originally a soloist and then found Apache Relay, when did it click that it would be something bigger?” Michael: “Well, I was playing a solo show in Nashville and part of the show was supposed to be a full electric set and then the other half was going to be an acoustic set. I met Mike and I knew he had some friends that he played acoustic music with and I asked him to back me up for that show. It went really, really well, and I was excited by the way it sounded. And, that kind of just evolved into a full band setting.
Cristina: “Has it become much more collaborative over the years?” Michael: “Yeah, it has. The record that’s going to come out in the spring is definitely the most collaborative thing we’ve done with all of us working on songs together. It’s been a nice progression.” Cristina: “How would you describe the evolution from your first album to this upcoming one?” Michael: “Well, the first record was very Americana, almost bluegrass. Then, American Nomad was much more Rock N’ Roll. The upcoming record has much more of a retro pop feel, with early 60s pop vibes. We’ve almost gone back to being a little bit more acoustic while doing so.”
Cristina: “What has impacted that progression or did it just evolve organically?” Kellen: “I don’t know if we were super conscious of it during the time, but at the Newport Folk Festival last year, we all had an insane time. We were so amazed by a lot of the acts. Having gone through that experience, I think we let that stuff kind of influence us.” Michael: “Having returned, we weren’t so afraid of acoustic guitar anymore. Like on American Nomad, I personally was like we need to rock. I was tired of being pegged as just a bluegrass Americana band. We weren’t afraid to use different instruments. We were excited to embrace the organic instruments.” Cristina: “How has your music responded by criticism or praise?” Michael: “I feel like every record, without thinking about it, we derail whatever people think about us. Our first record was stripped down. And, American Nomad we wanted to go 180 degrees. We’re not this; we’re not that. Then, people thought we were this is full on alternative rock band, and now the pendulum is swinging the other way. It feels weird when someone knows exactly what we’re doing as a band. I like to throw people curveballs and keep things fresh. “
Elaine DuigenaN Interview by Jenna Rainey
Elaine Duigenan is an artist who follows by the idea that we interpret things as we see them and not as they necessarily are. Some of her work has literally been out of this world. Jenna: Would you like to share a bit about your background? Elaine: I’ve been passionate about photography since the day my art teacher at school set up the tiniest darkroom in the world. In a cupboard space below stairs, I witnessed my first black and white print emerging from the developer as if by magic. It is an unforgettable experience and explains the fascination of photography – the alchemy of capturing a moment and pinning it down. I took photos through my childhood and then opted in properly during my degree course at Goldsmiths College in the early 80’s. At that time photography felt like the poor relation next to painting, printmaking and sculpture. I did all those things and retrospectively, that breadth of enquiry has informed my photographic work. After college I found my way into a job as a photojournalist specializing in overseas development work. I travelled a lot and worked mostly in the world’s poorest countries. I loved that work and occasionally still get sent ‘on assignment’. It wasn’t until the late nineties that I had a major shift ‘back’ to Art and actively sought to both make and show it. I had my daughter, which necessitated working a bit closer to home. It was a project made at The Royal College of Surgeons, London, that formed the catalyst for all my subsequent projects. I photographed 200 yr old animal specimens in b/w on a 5” x 4” camera. I found them fascinating and beautiful, full of portent as they were captured as though in life but held preserved in death The series was like a bridge between my old and new worlds as it both documented the specimens but with the intention of offering them to an Art audience. Jenna: How would you describe your artistry? Elaine: My artistry is a compulsion, a response to what I see and experience, an investigation, an experiment. I am interested in the statement by Morrie Camhiwho says – ‘we do not see things as they are, we see things as we are’. It is about us and the world. 192
193 “Unbearable Lightness of Being”
Jenna: Your exhibitions seem to vary in their physical presence, do you acquire different techniques to each? Elaine: I am currently interested in considering the exhibition space. I have presented work, well framed on walls in beautiful contexts. I will continue to do that, but I am also interested inwhat else. In the past few years I have been involved in projects which have allowed me to be more of an installation artist. I love going beyond limits and working with new materials and spaces. The consequence of such projects is broadening out my thinking. I have been investigating objects and nature, but there is a gradual transition to making now as well – I have much new work in progress and it is a mix that includes scientific investigation, collaboration and hands on making.. I am always interested in technology, materials, ways of doing things. I often look in unlikely places. At the very core of my work there is a desire to take something ordinary and transform it… Jenna: Who or what inspires you? Elaine: Many things inspire me – all the time, everywhere. I constantly photograph the street, objects, the light. I am interested in how we see, what we notice, what we choose. There are no limits –I feel open to things and not afraid. I love the fact that if ten people are in a room with a camera, they will all find an individual angle. At the core of photography or any part of Art is the question – what do you want to say? The message can be simple or complex, one layer or many, trite or with depth. Jenna: Aesthetically and emotionally, what do you wish to be derived from your images? Elaine: It gives me a lot of pleasure to find out that someone has enjoyed or been inspired by one of my images. I particularly love it when someone will interpret in a new or individual way. I like to think that the objects in my work are not immediately ‘recognisable’ and thus the viewer has to interpret. For example with the ‘Net’ and ‘Nylon’ series’ there was a kind of Rorschach test where the viewer saw what they ‘wanted’ to see. 194
Jenna: Do you have a piece that is particularly poignant for any reason? Elaine: Of course, that is easy to answer for many reasons. The piece which flew to The International Space Station. It is called Orbis Atlantis from the Micro Mundi series (pictured right). It embodies the notion of small things connecting with the largest or how a tiny subject can tell a big story. Ithelps explain the core of my work – ordinary and extraordinary inextricably linked –it’s a way of seeing. Jenna: Some of your work has literally been out of this world - how did that feel? Elaine: It is a great feeling, a wonderful connection. An astronaut has a unique perspective on the world – by orbiting the earth 16 times a day, they start to see something whole and precious – it affects one’s way of thinking. It leads to great conversations and connections. When the astronaut rephotographed my image in the window of the space station, the pattern of my ‘snail trail’ was mirrored by the pattern of the Amazon River below – it is a recorded moment that is out of the ordinary.. Jenna: Having completed various work in the Arts field, including workshops, art installations etc, how do the projects differ? Elaine: Every project is different as you are invariably working with a new set of people and different parameters. I like the people who are willing to take a risk and let you take time to experiment and develop ideas. This is sometimes a hard thing when there are budgets and deadlines. Many people misunderstand who and what an artist is – they want to prescribe something at the outset. A good ‘patron/client’ will allow for the ‘artistry’ to happen – I’m not sure that we can find until we’ve done a bit of seeking…
Postcard BW #8 Postcard BW #19 196
Jenna: You likely have many, but has there been a special highlight throughout your career? Elaine: There have been many highlights ranging in scale. For example the first time I sold some prints (to the aforementioned Jim Casper) and when my gallerists approached me (Debra and Darren KlompChing). It would be hard to top the experience of having an image flown to space, but I am always looking!
Jenna: Going with the theme of the issue, how do feel ‘contrast’ reflects within your art? Elaine: We often see things more clearly when they are in contrast to something else. One of the most effective devices in film is the juxtaposition of image and sound – eg an ugly scene with divine music. Our brains are challenged out of complacency. I suppose that my contrast is concerned with taking something ordinary and transforming it. This plays out in a number of series’ of work from the early ‘Bottle’ to ‘Net’. Thus the contrast is between the ordinary and extraordinary There is, of course, some very literal contrast in that my choice has been to make much work in black and white. I’ve chosen to strip the colour away, to get at the bare bones of the subject, allowing the tonal contrast to be unequivocal.
Jenna: Looking to future prospects, where do you see yourself taking your work next? Elaine: I have four or five pieces of work all seeking fruition. As mentioned there is an interest in materials and making, combined with final image making. I am also starting to explore film and finding an expansion of vision. I am embracing new technology (trying to keep up might be more apt) and enjoy being part of the conversations that are trying to figure out what the heck we do now that everyone is a photographer… I am not deterred by this but challenged to keep having a presence…
197 “Mollusca Insatiabilis”
Homecoming J. Scott Brownlee
Upon returning no one noticed they were back, both inside Buttery’s, buying tools they needed:
their hearts beat in synch as if from the same chest for a speechless instant.
a hammer forged in Taiwan or Taipei, a sheathed hacksaw on sale to cut chain off
Why were we even there? the untouched soldier asks the soldier next to him
a hitch or the latch on a gate that refuses to un-rust and grant passageway—nails
in the paint aisle. Should I buy primer or not? he responds abstractly. There is a moment
the color of shrapnel still caught in one’s lungs—and the other untouched, even, by a sandstorm
when, frozen, they remember Baghdad: paint chips covering them like confetti did
the whole time he toured. What can never be severed extends beyond them—
decades ago in Times Square, only with no nurse back from the Middle East—
a Kevlar rope invisible to civilians like me, though I feel its presence
no pretty girl to pick up shoulder-high and French kiss. What is the legacy of war, after it,
in their body carriage, which is stiff and relieved simultaneously—one man
except this?—two men standing in line minutes later to pay for whatever they’ve bought with no need
remembered for his valor and the other one forgotten not long after it, though
for talking—one of them touching the other briefly, walking out with the paint in his fist—
their hearts beat in synch as if from the same chest for a speechless instant.
denting slightly the can for a reason his fingers will never tell him.
Adrien in the Afternoon Photographer: Shelby Fenlon Model: Adrien with Spot 6/Peggi Lepage
Wardrobe Credits pages 8 and 11 dress: Elie kuame clutch : PP From Longwy earings: PP from Longwy rings: H&M pages 2, 14-15 Dress: Elie Kuame ring: PP From Longwy earing: PP From Longwy Bracelet: PP From Longwy page 10 dress: Karoline Lang necklace: PP From Longwy ring: PP from Longwy Bracelet: H&M hair clip: Mademoiselle Vegas pages 12-13 dress: Fatima Lopes stilettos: Minna Parikka hair clip : Mademoiselle Vegas page 16 dress: Fatima Lopes stilletos: Minna Parikka Bracelet: Imai page 17 top: Elie Kuame necklace: PP From Longwy earings : PP from Longwy
pages 86-87 Printed suit, H&M White blouse, Jarbo Loafers with glasses, B.P. Nordstrom pages 90-91 White suit, Express Black ruffled undershirt, H&M Blue hat, H&M Black and white booties, Selemio pages 85, 88-89, 92-93 Burgundy blazer, Vintage Chambray blouse, H&M Gray slacks, Ann Taylor Tie, Worthington Suspenders, Stylist own pages 104, 109, 110, 112-113, top: Elie Kuame necklace: PP From Longwy earings : PP from Longwy page 106 top: Elie Kuame necklace: PP From Longwy earings : PP from Longwy page 107 top: Elie Kuame necklace: PP From Longwy earings : PP from Longwy page 108 top: Elie Kuame necklace: PP From Longwy earings : PP from Longwy pages 111, 114-115 top: Elie Kuame necklace: PP From Longwy earings : PP from Longwy
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Published on Dec 21, 2013
atwood magazine is an arts/fashion/music/literary/interview publication that seeks out new talent and fresh voices, giving its readers a uni...