CHASSEUR JAN|FEB 13
UTOPIA THE CREATIVE ISSUE
CHASSEUR STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS Founder / Editor in Chief / Creative Director Yannis Tzannis Fashion Editors Lauren Nicole Carfagno, Gabriel Gomez, N.Catherine Ford, Tamara Arden, Ian Michael Turner Art Editor Lauren Ann Wolfe Music Editor Marco Pantella Contributors Ada Alti, Vicky Florou, Nicole Micha, Leszek, Monica Jaya Smith Photographers Joey Leo, Danielle Klopper, Kent Andreasen, Vic Lentaigne, Caroline Mackintosh CONTACT Website : www.chasseurmagazine.com General enquiries : email@example.com Facebook : www.facebook.com/ChasseurMagazine Twitter : www.twitter.com/ChasseurMag Tumblr : www.chasseurmagazine.tumblr.com Pinterest : www.pinterest.com/chasseurmag ADVERTISE WITH US Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for a mediakit. WANT TO GET INVOLVED? CHASSEUR is always on the lookout for new contributors. Writers, photographers, illustrators and designers please check the ‘submissions’ section of our website. COVER Model : Kostas Karantonis @ VN MODELS Athens Photography : Joey Leo Styling : Yannis Kyriazos & The Race Behind The Hill Make up : Joanna Estella PLD Hair : Yannis Kyriazos Copyright is reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited. CHASSEUR magazine uses all materials with permission from owners. © 2012 | CHASSEUR MAGAZINE
contents INTERVIEWS 10 CRAZY WHITE BITCHES 12 SMITH/GREY 28 JULIA SARDA 36 ASAF HANUKA 42 ERIK BERGRIN 60 JOEL ROBISON 68 DEMETRIOS DRYSTELLAS 88 GEMINI 92 RACHEL FREIRE 98 DAVID LONGSHAW 104 MEKELE 108 ECKART HAHN 116 JORDAN WESTER 1 FEATURES 6 MUSIC REVIEWS 8 WE HEART 124 CLAUDIO PARANTELA 126 POP ART 140 STREET STORIES EDITORIALS 18 HALLUCINATION 2.0 48 TUER LA LUMIERE 76 END 128 BLACKBIRD
editor’s letter TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHY : YANNIS TZANNIS Happy 2013 and welcome to the third edition of CHASSEUR. The creative issue pays homage to all the exceptionally visionary minds who find solace in art, be it painting, illustration, photography, fashion or performance and use it as a platform to interpret their own unique vision as well as take on everyday existence. From the whimsical fashion stories of British designer David Longshaw to the colorful ‘reality’ of Israeli illustrator Asaf Hanuka and the out-worldly photo manipulations of Canadian photographer Joel Robison, the new issue is filled with tales of great talent and inspiration, similar to what one would expect from a modern day “Utopia”. Other talented individuals include German painter Eckart Hahn, New York artist and costume designer Erik Bergrin, young music artists Gemini and Mekele, edgy British designer Rachel Freire, illustrators Julia Sarda and Jordan Wester, Greek photographer Demetrios Drystellas , Isa and Fani of Crazy White Bitches and jewelry designer duo Smith/Grey. Utopia also features the work of photographers Joey Leo, Danielle Klopper, Vic Lentaigne and Kent Andreasen who shot exclusive editorials inspired by the issue’s theme in Athens, Cape Town and London. Hope you will enjoy Utopia as much we do. Till next time!
music TEXT : MARCO PANTELLA
Everything Everything “Arc” When British band Everything Everything released their debut album back in 2010, frontman Jonathan Higgs described their sound as pop primarily but a little bit more interesting, unpredictable and sort of surprising. Those very elements were what earned them, a place in the 2010 BBC Sound list as well as a nomination for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2011 for their debut album “Man Alive”. The second studio album entitled “Arc” takes on that element of surprise preparing fans for an idea of pop that is nothing like they have imagined up till now. Getting to the core of this work is like removing layers of complexity and facing the fear of technophobia which is the central theme of their songwriting. If “Man Alive” was a wonderful attempt to impress us with overwhelming multivariegated rhythms, then “Arc” follows on that path with singles “Cough Cough” and “Kemosabe” but soon enough turns into a more accessible and ethereal album thanks to the transcendental “Undrowned” and “The House is Dust”. In this work of transition the album title sounds like a premonition becoming real. They take their musical baggage on board of this metaphorical arc, just before the flood and in these moments of reflection tracks like “Duet”, “Choice Mountain”, and “Armourland” showcase a different side of the band that echoes of Radiohead and Sigur, thus falling into a new art rock category that only adds up to their unique indie pop sound. www.everything-everything.co.uk
REVIEWS TEXT : MARCO PANTELLA
Minuit “Last Night You Saw This Band” New Zealand has been one of the first countries to witness the dawn of the much anticipated apocalyptic day that December 21st 2012 was supposed to be. The world did not end but electronic band Minuit thought of it as a great day to release their latest work “Last Night You Saw this Band”. Formed in Nelson NZ, the band whose name stands for midnight in French, consists of lead singer Ruth Carr and machine players Paul Dodge and Ryan Beehre. The music of Minuit explores a more stripped-down sound with lots of percussive songs that take you right to a journey between redemption and the upcoming apocalypse. The opening title track holds a very warm welcome to all listeners with the music reminiscing a mariachi-style house party. Rhythmic island beats and soft vocals provide an uplifting experience within the very first minutes. Leading single “Book of the Dead” is next and despite all the spooky lyrics, it feels more like a M.I.A joins a tribe dancing around a big fire sort of song. The temperature rises up with upbeat track “Islands” while the mood shifts again with the downtempo “What We Know”. Ruth’s voice seems to work better on more sinister and aggressive performances like “The Love That Won’t Shut Up” and the beautiful “Ghost” where a haunting and almost frightening ritual takes place right under the starts. To many it will remind of the album’s cover where you can almost imagine Minuit mixing sinister with salvation, melting each track into a precise body of work. Along with the mandatory lo-ends, gypsy brass, swampy slide guitar, and even some kids from an orphanage in Haiti comes the end to this odyssey on the edge of the world – and it couldn’t have been any more perfect with Ruth singing “Sit Down Beside Me”, a hymn of wonder and appreciation for the bright new dawn that has finally arrived and that we should never take for granted. www.minuit.bandcamp.com
Black Balloon looked towards John Dalton, the father of atomic theory for their source of brilliant inspiration. According to Dalton, atoms themselves do not change, and according to Black Balloon, their collection will remain just as timeless. The masterfully crafted pants, coats, sweaters, and jackets can be seen right under here. www.blackballoon.be
W E H E A R T
Buttonsdowns, jackets, shorts, and pants only begin to top the list of the many pieces included within the spring summer 13 collection of Wood Wood. Showcasing an interesting contrast between feminine and masculine pieces for women the new collection serves as a beautiful cocktail of fashion. www.woodwood.dk
T R A E H
It’s a perfect combination of feminine, edgy, and dare I say glamorous. Cameo also brings us versatility with each design along with beautiful styles of fit. Refreshing dresses, shorts, pants, skirts, even tanks, any lovely lady would appreciate a wardrobe filled with pieces from this collection. Get your hands on the full selection below. www.cameothelabel.com.au
XT L GOMEZ
Sanktoleono looks to the images of religious symbols, art, music, and pop culture for the creation of their collections. Everything the label creates has an almost mythical undertone to it which makes the pieces all the more alluring. It can be called jewelry, but we prefer the term ‘works of art’. www.sanktoleono.com
CRAZY WHITE BITCHES TEXT : TAMARA ARDEN
PHOTOGRAPHY : CAROLINE MACKINTOSH
The Crazy White Bitches have party standards on par with Robert Downey Jr’s prerehab behaviour and Kate Moss’s cocaine chic nuance. Their shindigs/clothes sales are a free-for-all status for whoever wants to get lost with them up-close or online. Your blog is mostly about being sarcastic, foul, witty, exploring creative avenues, fashion and various obsessions. What was the idea behind it? We didn’t want to get addicted to Farmville, so we started a blog as a way to procrastinate in a useful way. It started at the same time as our infamous sales/parties, and started to interlink. We eventually learnt how to check out stats and realised that we had a strangely huge following on our hands. The blog is an explosion of our internet obsessions, our lives in Cape Town and the work we put out. You guys seem to have a large amount of support in your hometown. Who is your current pop culture obsession In Cape Town that needs more exposure? Jana Babez. She was recently snapped topless with Lady Gaga, and the photo made its way onto the Daily Mail and The Sun. She’s an aspiring real-life Barbie Doll, and there’s talks of a reality show coming soon. What do CWB bring that differs to every other second-hand stall? We only sell clothes we would wear ourselves, and we’re usually pretty drunk at our sales/in our lives. We’re selling a lifestyle rather than just some dead people’s clothes. These days, fashion is germinating through the web. What has the response been like on your online store? It’s been amazing! We’ve had such a great response, our first celebrity shopper was Devonte Hynes (of Blood Orange), and this sale lead to him and Fani falling in love. CWB has been around for over a year now, rapidly evolving through experimenting with the new and the unexpected. Should we expect an original line, anytime soon? We are moving away from second-hand and currently working on a Crazy White Bitches’ label, production company and talk show. www.cwbonlinestore.com
SMITH/GREY TEXT : N. CATHERINE FORD
Bringing together an ivy league flavour with the classic touch of antique knick knacks under the modernity of London the creative duo behind Smith/Grey have been creating innovative jewellery that targets all hip facets of fashion. Birgit Marie Schmidt and Sofus Graae took the time to talk to Chasseur revealing us who wants to “get rid of the horses” along with other interesting facts. Everyone has a back-story. What did you see in each other that sparked such a partnership? Sofus & Birgit: We met some years ago and from very early on there was an interesting creative chemistry between us. Back then it was very natural for us to ‘pitch’ ideas or thoughts that we had come up with or discovered, to each other. This collective curiosity for more was a big factor in us wanting to work together which led to establishing SMITH/GREY. You are both from different cultural backgrounds. In what way, in your opinion, this translates into your jewellery? Sofus: It is becoming more and more difficult to pinpoint exactly where each person’s cultural background kicks in but we do see when it happens. Birgit is from Vienna, Austria so she used to read Freud’s dream analysis and lots of Kafka which definitely influences her way of visualising her thoughts. I for myself am from Copenhagen, Denmark where the design culture is very apparent and clean, and society is very influenced by that. What are your favourite materials to work with? Is there one you haven’t tried out yet but want to? Birgit: At the moment we work with various metals used in jewellery making including bronze, silver and gold. We really like metal for its weight and feel, and for the fact there is something inherently precious about it. Up until now the concept has always been the starting point of a collection. We believe the idea behind a piece should drive the decision of choosing the right material and for the past collections this has always been metal. Saying that, we do have some materials in mind for future collections, such as precious stones and leather, which we would like to use one day to visualise our ideas.
Your collections usually come with a few short lines taken from a poem. Are these your inspiration points or parts of a greater story? Sofus & Birgit : All the poems or short lines that accompany our collections are written by us as part of the collection’s greater story. Our ideas often derive from or are being informed by written content, which later down the line gives context to a piece which often cannot be communicated in any other way. It is important to us to expand on the narrative and to add an additional layer to a collection. You have chosen the horse as the inspiration for your debut women’s collection, ‘I Can’t Seem To Get Rid Of The Horses’. What does it symbolize and why would one want to get rid of them? Birgit: The pieces are a physical manifestations of surreal equestrian creatures, reminiscing early childhood fantasies made up playing underneath my grandmother’s kitchen table. The collection was formed by allowing myself to reconnect with my inner child, but through the eyes of an adult. I realised that I couldn’t stop making these small horses, that there was a repetition, a pattern. I used the idea of repetition in the pieces themselves to express the reoccurrence of the “obsession”. That’s why the horses merge from one into the other repeatedly. Why I wanted to get rid of them? Probably to move on to a new obsession. Ivy Noir, your men’s collection, was designed for those who do not always dress exactly by the book. Who are these men exactly and what do they represent? Sofus: I created the Ivy Noir collection for myself to begin with. I was and still am very fascinated with the rigorous dressing ethics of some Ivy style followers. However I never felt I could or should be a part of it - which is why we dreamt up the idea of an ‘Off Campus League’. The collection is made for individuals who like to grab elements from more traditional styles but feel the need to infuse a more rugged and ‘untidy’ feel to it. The pieces are very much for men who can and will take charge of how they visually express themselves. Your signet rings have a very distinctive scrapped up look that actually gives the idea of someone just getting off a fight. What was the idea behind the concept? Sofus: The Ivy Noir collection which the signet ring belongs to, was created under the latin motto “Socii Extra Muros” which translates to ‘Society outside the walls’ or in our meaning the ‘Off-Campus League’. All the jewellery pieces are based on classic style elements and we have added the scrapped up look to signal that the wearer is capable of taking matter into their own hands, figuratively speaking.
Is there a fine line between fashion and art when it comes to jewellery? Sofus & Birgit : We believe that jewellery is part of something greater than just simply fashion. Jewellery is used by many people to visualize parts of their faceted personality and expressing such things can be an artform in itself. What is next for SMITH/GREY? Sofus & Birgit : We are currently working on two additional collections for men and women which is very exciting. We are planning to have them ready in time for spring 2013 - so stay tuned! www.smithgrey.co.uk
HALLUCINATION 2.0 PHOTOGRAPHY & POST PRODUCTION JOEY LEO | ART DIRECTION YANNIS KYRIAZOS STYLING YANNIS KYRIAZOS & THE RACE BEHIND THE HILL | MAKE UP JOANNA ESTELLA PLD HAIR YANNIS KYRIAZOS | MODEL KOSTAS KARANTONIS @VN MODELS ATHENS
SHORTS JACKET SHOES
DIMITRIS PETROU AKIRA MUSHI LANVIN
SHORTS & SHIRT HAND ACCESSORY
SOTIRIS GEORGIOU MARIA PIANA
THE RACE BEHIND THE HILL
PANTS & SHOULDER SCARF AKIRA MUSHI TSHIRT HYSTERIA ASTERIA
ANORAK SOTIRIS GEORGIOU SNEAKERS LANVIN
SOTIRIS GEORGIOU DIGITARIA
THE RACE BEHIND THE HILL
TSHIRT CONQUISTADOR BY TASSOS SOFRONIOU SHORTS EVANGELOS KAVATHAS SCARF THE RACE BEHIND THE HILL SNEAKERS FRED PERRY
JULIA SARDA TEXT : leszek
Julia Sarda lives and works in Spain, where she has been creating unique characters inspired by fairytales and cultural diversity. After gaining some experience as an illustrator for Disney, Julia went on to illustrate several children books while working on new and exciting projects, including a video game. Do you come from an artistic background? My father is a painter and I’ve always loved drawing and painting, so making it a way of living, seemed like the most natural thing to do. Your work features a certain old-school Disney magic. Do you find story telling equally as important or you design with no particular themes? I find storytelling very important, but sometimes I just feel the need to design random illustrations without any thinking at all. Seeing that children stories are very dear to you, did you actually have any favourite ‘heroes/characters’ while growing up? My favorite character was Ronja, a character from an Astrid Lindgren book. Ronja was the daughter of the leader of some thieves and lived in a castle somewhere in the middle of the forest. I also loved Disney’s Robin Hood (which was confusing as I used to find a fox really handsome) and Son Goku, who I find to be the most important of them all. Growing up with his cartoons taught me many important lessons such as keep fighting with a pure spirit. Your often expose different cultures through your art. What has sparked this particular interest? I made a big trip to China, Tibet and then India, and everything just felt so different and new to me. All this ancient culture, chaos, noise and strange calligraphies were a riot of external imputs that opened a huge spectrum of aesthetics and compositions. I felt like I had discovered a secret, it was almost vertiginous to be sitting in the dark of the temples only lightened by the smelly yak butter candles, felling so small in front of the millenary tradition. I haven’t been able to show all this so intensely in my illustrations, just yet.
You have been working on an idea about an iphone/ipad game, designing various characters. What was the idea behind this project and how do you see it evolving? I made these character designs for Jesse Lampert, a game developer based in NY. The idea was to make an application for iphone/ipad, a fantasy game with an outstanding point of view and an atmosphere of mystery that would be fascinating but also somewhat scary. He just gave me some general guidelines and suggested I have my own way with it. I found the whole process to be real fun because of all the different characters. I recently had the chance to see how the characters are being modeled in 3d, which was amazing! I really look forward to the final product and canâ€™t wait to play with the final product, even though Iâ€™m not a gamer at all.
You already have some publications under your belt. How did you land such an opportunity? How hard did you have it, in the beginning? I only had a blogspot and I would submit my art to various social networks just so I could gain as much popularity as I could. As soon as I finished school, I sent a book to some editors and then offers came rushing in. I started working in a studio that produced the editorial works for Disney. Despite all my years of learning, I wasn’t fast enough and it was very hard for me to keep up with the work’s high level. That was the hardest part. Producing children’s illustrations became much more easier and relaxing after leaving the studio. The options for an illustrator seem numerous, for example one can work on fashion illustration, communication graphics, product design, posters, books, animation. Have you tried experimenting with any other themes? So far I have only done book illustration and concept art for videogames. I’ve got some other projects on mind but these are just thoughts for now. Could you give us a little taste of what to expect from you in the near future? I would be very happy to be able to start some project with my illustrator and designer friends David Rosel and Josep Dols. It’s very cool to do illustration, but I have to find a balance and also illustrate my own ideas, try new styles, explore new fields and keep learning. www.juliasarda.blogspot.com
ASAF HANUKA TEXT : YANNIS TZANNIS
Asaf Hanuka needs no big introductions. A world-renowned illustrator, gold metal recipient from the Society of Illustrators, and winner of an Award of Excellence from the Communication Arts Annual, Hanuka has managed to inspire a whole new generation of illustrators with his unique take on everyday existence. Having worked with some of the world’s leading organizations such as Nike, Canal +, New York Times, Forbes, etc., he now lives in Tel Aviv with his family where he splits his time between teaching at the Shankar College of Engineering and Design and working on his next graphic novel.
Ever since 2010, you have been working on The Realist, an award winning weekly comic where you document your life. What triggered your desire to illustrate your daily adventures? Actually it was a commission by a newspaper based in Tel Aviv, where I live. It’s a business paper called ‘Calcalist’ and the comic is published in the last page of the weekend edition. Since the paper deals with financial issues they asked me if I would be interested in doing a strip about my efforts to finance an apartment in Tel Aviv. That’s how it started, but after a few months it drifted toward more personal issues. How far can one push their creative boundaries, when they serve as the main figures of their own comics? Using real life material and characters is just a way for me to ‘cheat’ since I’m not really a writer and it would be nearly impossible for me to invent a story line. So I present real life events and try to tell them in an interesting way. I believe that there is a lot of freedom from that starting point, in my case at least, because in the end I’m using the outside to draw the inside.
Your art is a wonderful mix of visually enticing images and strong political statements. Do you find comics to be a great medium of expressing such ideas? The advantage of doing comics is that often you can say things that will not pass in other forms of expression, because people still believe that if it’s drawn it must be a joke, or for kids. And especially in Israel, where politics is in the centre of every day life, comics are a fresh way to tackle these issues. Bipolar has been one of your earliest collaborative projects with your twin brother and world-renowned illustrator Tomer Hanuka. In what ways, have you seen yourself evolving since then? Tomer’s work in Bipolar, published as a collection in ‘Placebo Man’ (Alternative Comics), served as a main inspiration for the Realist comics. Tomer took childhood memories and turned them into story lines. It was like a door opened then, and years later I opened it again. Back in the Bipolar days I worked with writer Etgar Keret and I would adapt his stories. Over time I felt like I had stuff to say in my own voice but I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off, for a while. I’m still not sure, but doing it on a weekly basis helps me focus on improving.
What is the usual working process behind any new project? It starts with me really stressing out on a Saturday night since I know I have to send the comic to the newspaper by Tuesday. On Sunday I start by writing a few sentences about the passing week, trying to fish an idea. If I’m lucky I get a sketch of the page by Monday and then ink and colour on Tuesday. Has there ever been a particular piece which you had a really hard time working on? Every piece is really hard, each has a breaking point somewhere where I feel it is useless and I should just burn everything and then kill myself but then I look at the clock , think of the deadline that is coming and that I must send them something. I just have to live with it. You are teaching illustration and comics at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. What, in your opinion, has the new generation of illustrators, to offer? Life, energy, a fresh point of view, originality, new trends, all the stuff we had when we started out. For many people comics serve as an escapade from the daily routine. Being constantly surrendered by art, where do you find solace? I really like walking. What’s next for Asaf Hanuka? A 150 pages, full colour, graphic novel done in collaboration with my brother Tomer and writer Boaz Lavie. It’s called ‘The Divine’. www.asafhanuka.com
ERIK BERGRIN TEXT : ADA ALTI
It still remains unclear whether the road to art is through psychology or if art is indeed a way to endoscope our very existence. That is if ‘we’ really exists; a possibility that Erik Bergrin, artist and costume designer with a degree in psychology is willing to argue. Chasseur got the opportunity to sit down with the artist and discuss about his art sensibilities and avant-garde projects while learning more about the human nature. You are very loyal to your work’s themes; did you always know what you wanted to focus on? No, not really. It always evolves depending on what’s going on with me. Also, as I grow there are always new things I am learning and mostly make these things, because it’s really fun and I want to share these ideas I am learning. Sort of like, “See people, you don’t have to eat poison anymore, look at what you are putting yourself through”. Is the environment around you sufficiently inspirational? I am content in where I live, but really love to travel. I would love to have a studio in the faerie glens in the Isle of Skye in Scotland. That would be better, but this basement in Brooklyn will do. Share a few words on your latest project, Cloak of Empty Experience. The idea behind the cloak starts when you first look at it. It has hundreds of slides on it, all lit up. The wearer puts on the mask with the opera glasses attached, steps inside the robe, puts their hands in the armholes, and sticks their head in the giant satellite dish. It has a feeling of bondage because of the restraint. There is a mini satellite dish that is on the ceiling a ways away. With the opera glasses you can see far into the other satellite and there is a single slide in there that is empty. Since the robe has these hundreds of pictures on it of traveling and art, there are expectations to see something grand through the satellite. That causes everything to make sense, but there is a disappointment when its realized its empty and you aren’t actually experiencing anything.
You emphasize a lot on masks and headpieces. Having a degree in psychology, how would you explain the theory that people tend to be more ‘themselves’ when they are protected behind a façade of any sort? First off, I don’t believe that a person’s ‘self ’ exists, because I don’t believe there is an inherent self. We are made up of thousands of tiny particles that are constantly moving, shifting, changing, birthing, dying, etc. To say we exist as and have an inherent, ‘self ’ just seems foolish since everything is so impermanent. Nothing is stable and still enough to exist as a permanent self, so there really is no such thing as someone being ‘themselves’ when that doesn’t actually exist. What we create as a sense of ‘self ’, is made up and we feel we need to stick to that because it is comfortable. What I think you mean is not having our defense mechanisms up and wrapping ourselves in our comfort zone cocoon. When you are hiding behind something, you are less self-conscious from other people, and you might be able to lighten up a bit, however when you are hiding behind something you are also hiding there for a reason. If it does not involve other people, it involves yourself. Hiding in your cocoon involves some sort of self hatred. Flocking to your habitual patterns that are comfortable even if it might be the most painful thing you can do, is ultimately not good. Hiding behind a mask can be so painful for this reason. You bring theater and fashion together. Do you believe that fashion can reach a level of being considered as part of educational cultivation? I am not sure what will happen with the masses, however making clothing is a craft that you really need to concentrate in order to get right. There are tons of ideas and creativity that can go into design, thousands of rules to learn, bookloads of history, hundreds of techniques, etc. Like anything else, there is an endless amount to learn and explore that you can use to better yourself. Part of focusing on fashion and really letting it help yourself grow, would be to use it to strengthen and sharpen your mind. I think using it in this way, it can be just as valuable as learning any other subject. If it is used in a way to empower oneself, or to make money or become famous, this is aggressive and the wrong way to go about anything. What is your dream collaboration? My dream collaboration would be a big budget film, working with Eiko Ishioka, who died recently, so I guess that’s not happening. Also to work designing costumes for an off the wall show at the Metropolitan Opera. What has the past taught you that you want to carry on to your future? Oh dear, so much. But most, be present at every single moment with what you are doing. Concentration is so important. Consider the relationship with what you are doing at every second...and for the love of god avoid ayahuasca. www.erikbergrin.com
JOEL ROBISON TEXT : LAUREN ANN WOLFE
Whimsical visual abstractions bring to life Joel Robison’s work, a photographer who aspires to exhibit the joys of life through his conceptual self portrait photography and worldly manipulations. Read as Chasseur asks Joel about the source of his creative energy, the nature of his work and his place in the commercial industry. ision. When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist? I’ve always been interested in art, as a child I would spend hours drawing and colouring in books in my bedroom and throughout my schooling I always favourited the art classes I was in. Gradually I started to try different mediums and thankfully about four years ago I came across some amazing photographs and wanted to try my hand at photography. I’ve taught myself over the past few years and through this I’ve learned that creating is all I really want to do! One can sense through your blog posts and photographs that you are a deep thinker, an observer seeking for a deeper meaning. In what way has photography helped you in the process? I’m a rather introverted person, and I really do enjoy soaking in my surroundings and interpreting them through my art. The beautiful part of photography is that it allows you to pay close attention to the world around you. Through photography I’ve paid more attention to the seasons, to the sun setting and to the weather patterns. It’s given me the chance to observe so much of the world that I may not have taken the time think about. You creativity knows no boundaries when it comes to your work. What fuels your imagination? I try to keep my mind active by reading, listening to music and radio and by allowing my mind to wander. I feel that the more we stretch our minds and allow different ideas to form, the easier it is to create and come up with new ideas. I try not to shut anything out and I think by allowing my mind to daydream and think about everything in new ways it helps to fuel my creation. mind to daydream and think about everything in new ways it helps to fuel my creation.
Your photographs always seem to send a lucky token of hope. Where would you say your motivation to share hope stems from? I was bullied a lot during my teenage years and I found it really difficult to continue to see the world as a positive place. Thankfully though, through some amazing opportunities I was given a new light and a new vision on the world around me and ever since then, I’ve tried to incorporate a sense of hope and love and kindness into my work. I feel that art is a very powerful tool in supporting people and letting them know they are not alone and by including these messages I’m hoping that it helps someone that views them. Various websites and social media have provided the opportunity for exposure and wider recognition to many upcoming artists, these past few years. What, in your opinion, are the pros and cons of this new medium? There are many advantages to having such a widespread audience available to view art. For me personally, it has given me almost every opportunity I’ve had. To be able to share my work with thousands of people around the world, it has opened up many doors that probably wouldn’t exist without social media. It has connected me with fellow artists and friends and allowed me to have my work shown in many other countries. The down side to this forum is that there is a sense of anonymity to the internet, people feel that because they see it on a computer and they like it that they are entitled to use it as they wish. I have hundreds of images where people have taken my photos and edited them without permission or credit. This is the down side to sharing your work online, thankfully for me though the good outweighs the bad.
Are there any artists you look for inspiration when working on new projects? Was there a particular piece of work that inspired you to start creating? Iâ€™m always inspired by artists who continue to push themselves to try new things. Artists like Brooke Shaden, David Talley, and Sarah Ann Loreth are just a few of my inspirations who continue to push their creative boundaries and create art that speaks from their heart. What, in your opinion, are the elements that make a photograph stand out as an original piece of art? For me, story and strong character are what draw me into an image. When I look at a photo and I can create a story based around the image or the person in the photo, it makes me look at the image in a new light. It takes a lot of skill to be able to create art that conveys a strong story and I strive to do that in my own work.
Where do you see your work fitting within the current industry of commercial photography? I feel that the world of commercial photography is changing. Iâ€™ve been fortunate to be involved in a new campaign with Coca-Cola, creating images based around their positive branding themes and I feel that this is the direction that a lot of businesses are heading in. I think by using grassroots art and by soliciting work from artists that support the business it brings art and commerce full circle. Hints on what is to come? I have lots in mind for my next steps. I hope to start travelling and teaching workshops based around creating concepts and creating images. I also have a few collaborations with fellow artists in the works and I hope to publish my first photography book later this year. www.joelrobisonphoto.wordpress.com
DEMETRIOS DRYSTELLAS TEXT : VICKY FLOROU
In a time when reality is misrepresented by the illusion of an artificial perfection, Greek photographer Demetrios Drystellas is in search of the truth that lies in the raw beauty of all things. In this constant pursuit, the inner sentiments of the human nature are captured in the most honest and genuine manner. A restless spirit, he is currently working on a new project inspired by the nymphs of Greek mythology.
When was the first time you got your hands on a camera? Do you remember what your first photo was? It was a quite slow curve, there was always a compact camera at the house - did pretty much nothing with it. I bought my first camera in the summer of 2003 and it was digital; how I regret the money. Digital was at a premium then and I paid dearly. My first images were shot in the forest next to my house in Munich, Germany. Quite boring images I would add. I did not take photography seriously for a long time. It seems that especially in the field of photography, the notion of realism is being denounced. What place does realism have in your work? There are two contradicting trends as I see it. One one hand, realism is ever present as can be attested by the snapshot style that Terry Richardson and others rendered popular. Compare this style with the meticulously executed ethereal work of the previous decades. On the other hand, the advent of digital editing has blurred the line between real and fake. Models with bodies and faces edited to unnatural perfection, composite images, etc, in essence, pictures closer to graphic design than to photography. This is not something new, but today it is overdone; it is cheaper and easier to do this now than it was in the analogue era. My preference lies with real, raw, images, where the ambiance may still enchant the viewer.
In your opinion, what makes a great photograph? Whatever will make an image stand the test of time. This is the ultimate goal in my opinion, not the superficially impressive images that fade from memory soon enough. It has been said that when you photograph people in colour, you capture their clothes but when you photograph people in black and white, you capture their souls. Does that apply to you too? This notion has been popularised because the “masters” shot in monochrome and most of the masterpieces we have from them are in such form. Well, they did not have any other choice since colour films’ performance was quite problematic for a long time. Since, we are designed to see in colour, a black and white image appears to be inherently different due to the medium, maybe magic and otherworldly at times, yes. A picture however, whether in colour or monochrome, is equally beautiful to me. Given the right lighting, both are able to pierce deep into the subject’s soul. Technically though, they are two different beasts and behave very very differently.
Looking throughout the centuries, the history of nude has always been such a controversial subject. Loved and praised by artists and artisans such as sculptors and painters and at the same time so misunderstood and even condemned by the public. What is your approach to nudity? We are born naked. Clothing is artificial, a vital invention to protect against the elements. Nothing more, yet nothing less. The monotheistic religions shrouded the body, branded it impure. To me the human body is a temple of life and should be regarded as such. Granted, a body may inspire lust in someone; it may also be revered and admired due to its beauty. It all depends on the context and the nature of the viewer. Compare the morals of tribes who spend most of their lives nude, some adornments aside, to those of our Christian, Islamic, or whatever else, dogmas. I am quite sure that all who have tried nudism at a point at a secluded beach, by a lake or in a forest, have enjoyed and that they are hesitant to practice it due to societal taboos. You have been working on a project inspired by Greek mythology and in particular by nymphs for quite some time now. What was the idea behind this project? I love mythology and how nature is an integral part of it, usually as personified flora and fauna. How can one not be amazed by the story of Daphne who was turned into the laurel tree, Dionysusâ€™ wounded dancer Kissos transformed into ivy, spiraling dancing up the trees and onwards to the sky, or Kyparissos, the boy that killed Artemisâ€™ sacred deer and who asked of Apollo to be turned into a tree to symbolize his sorrow, the cypress? Nymphs, even though so pure, inspired almost always the lust in males, gods and mortals alike, so its tricky trying to depict that, therefore the whole project is progressing quite slowly. What should we expect next? More videos. While you might think photography can be technically challenging at times, lighting setups etc, when you start delving into film-making, only then do you realise that you have not seen nothing yet. The cinema is truth at 24 frames per second. www.drystellas.com
GEMINI TEXT : YANNIS TZANNIS
Thomas Slinger, or otherwise known as Gemini, is a British producer, singer, songwriter and DJ who has taken the world by storm with his roaring dubsteb sound and energetic melodies. Despite the age of 22, Thomas has already managed to establish his own label, Inspected Record, while he was offered the opportunity to remix the sounds of internationally acclaimed artists such as Lana Del Rey, Drake, Kelis, and Emeli Sande. Just a couple of months after his latest album release, we caught up with Gemini to find out more about his exciting life as a young recording artist. You released you first EP Blue almost two years ago, whilst still being a university student. How did this journey begin for you? I’ve always loved music and making it. Being given a small Casio keyboard when I was little started it, then with my first laptop computer. The Blue EP really came about from just about mastering all of the sounds I wanted to make, alongside some strong messages. I guess that is how the journey began! Your sound features a mix of electronic music with very subtle piano lines. What influences your music? I’m obsessed with soundtracks. What they add to movies and video is amazing. The way those composers take moving image to life. I aim to do that with all of my songs – making a soundtrack for people’s lives. Starting out so young you must have had lots of enthusiasm Have you come across anything that changed your original perception of the music industry, yet? As with anything business of life related to that matter there are always ups and downs – that’s why we’re all here isn’t it? Nothing has changed my perception. I keep focused on the music and let other people do the rest – that’s what I enjoy! You are the owner of your own independent label, Inspected Record. What drove your need to take music in your own hands, so soon? As soon as I met up with Ryan, co-owner of Inspected with me, it became obvious that this was the quickest and easiest and above all most fun and exciting way of getting my music out there.
Mercury, is the title of your latest EP, released just a couple of months back. What are you hoping that your listeners will get off this new release? It’s got a bit of everything there – some dance floor bangers and some softer ones. I like to think it’s pretty signature Gemini with some hints at what might be to come? Hope that makes sense! Lana Del Rey and Emeli Sande are just some of the artists you have remixed. Both artists have a very distinctive orchestral sound. Did you find this to be a challenge? How well, in your opinion, electronic music blends with more classical sounds? I loved it!!! I guess what I try to do the most is fuse both classical and electronic sounds together – most of the time it turns out okay! (I stress most of the time). Dubstep has been around for quite some time but it has only been recently that it striked a chord with the mass audience. Why, of all times, now? Good question!!! I should first say that genres are slippery fish and go stale quickly so I am not necessarily a huge fan of that banner, but to answer the question I think some fantastic producers came through championing the sound at just the right time taking the cultural influences, samples and sounds of the underground dubstep scene and met them with massive crossover melodies and brilliant chord progressions. What’s your next step? 2013? Album and a live show. www.thisisgemini.com
RACHEL FREIRE TEXT : MONICA JAYA SMITH
Rachel Freire is a dark character whose work and edgy aesthetic definitely do not go unnoticed. With a wardrobe full of black she believes that shape and imagery are strong enough forms to not warrant colour; why add something that is not necessary? Intrigued by many things, all of her pieces have a story â€“ preferring to proclaim herself as an artist as opposed to a fashion designer, and each story is individual but also perceptible to the viewer.
Are you trying to convey a message or meaning through your use of monochrome and gothic aesthetics? The colour scheme I tend towards, comes from the idea that the shapes and imagery are complex enough. I like that the colour tends towards neutral, be it shades of grey, skin tones or inky blacks. The underlying dark narrative occurs because there is an overwhelming presence of uplifting, bright imagery in our culture already. The darker side can be far more provocative and poses questions people often shy away from asking. Day to day I wear black, so in my first two collections I didnâ€™t allow myself to use black, you know, as a balance. You work is sculptural in essence, and figurative in nature, is there meaning behind these elements of your work? All the pieces have a story. Whether it is intentional or not, my work evolves from whatever currently intrigues me. Sometimes this is more straightforward while others, more abstract. Given the way fashion is usually presented and digested I tend to leave these stories open for interpretation. Similarly to art and music, I prefer people to draw their own conclusions. I think good art gives the viewer a chance to decide for themselves.
How did you transform yourself from a performance and design student to a designer? Can you describe the transition phase from realisation to succession? I started as an artist and studied theatre to gently transfer to design. I studied theatre to better understand the relationship between the viewer and the performer in a dynamic context. I often found myself in galleries wondering if I saw what the artist wanted to portray. I don’t want to read a complex statement to really appreciate a piece of work, but prefer a story which allows the viewer to follow a path and uncover it for themselves. Are conceptual aspects integral to your work? If so, why and how? Absolutely. For me, all the concepts, objects and experiences which can inspire design are integral to the design itself. Sometimes a collection can grow from a tangent inspired by a particular piece of tactile material. Making the decision to change direction and follow that inspiration can be the difference between success or failure. You have to trust your instincts and those instincts can’t be second guessed. That is what makes me a conceptual and bespoke label rather than a traditional one. Do you explore any inner demons throughout your work? Don’t we all? For example, I am not an overly feminine person, yet my work definitely has strong feminine elements. As I have been making collections my own image has softened. Maybe this has helped me find my more girly side. What is your first creative memory? Drawing Thundercats characters while watching TV! Then I graduated to She-Ra and Jem! Nippleocalypse was a controversial project within which you received a lot of negative press - what was your reaction to such commentary? It was interesting to be on the receiving end of such wide mainstream press. It really makes you understand the harsh reality of how little you can do to stop the snowball once it begins to roll. How stories proliferate in the press relies heavily on garnering as much interest as possible, no matter what the truth may be. With hindsight I would have been very strict in editing information. Seeing your words edited to the nuances of another’s opinion can be incredibly stressful! The whole project exploded so unexpectedly, but I would do it all over again but this time with a clearer voice and a watertight pr strategy. I stand by everything I did, though most people didn’t even hear the real story. That’s all you can really do.
You say you want to “intensify the masculine and the feminine”. Could you explain this further? Where does gender begin and where does it end for you? I am the least girly girl you will ever meet, yet my work has an incredibly feminine lilt. This was not intentional, and something which has fascinated me as I have seen my collections evolve. Often androgyny is a safe design path: things which acceptably suit both men and women. A lot more designers now are mixing it up and being provocative with ideas of gender. I think that’s much more forward thinking, satisfying and fun. What is it that you’re personally trying to express through your clothing in both your designs and every day dress? I like the idea that there are no lines between utilitarian, practicality, decadence and the outright ridiculous. Things which seem impractical and crazy as we experiment with them today, may well become the staples of normality as technology and attitudes evolve. Clothing often keeps a clean and straightforward narrative. It makes it more accessible to more people, and most designers want their work to reach the maximum audience. I like that the narrative in my work is a little more jumbled. I love to see how other people wear and interpret my clothing, it inspires me all over again. www.rachelfreire.com
DAVID LONGSHAW TEXT : IAN MICHAEL TURNER
David Longshaw is a cult London designer renowned for his quirky illustration work which he weaves into the story of every collection he designs. In fact for David every collection begins with a story from which he then draws his inspiration giving him a truly unique design reference point. He also creates a comic strip ‘Francesca & Arthur’ for Vogue Italia. Chasseur interviewed David for this issue about illustration as a storytelling tool in fashion. Hi David, Can you tell us about your current collection and what is in store for AW2013? The summer spring 2013 collection is based around the story of Eva and Doug who go on holiday. These are two characters I created specifically for the collection; Eva is a peculiar looking girl whose best friend is Doug, a blue ‘Teddy bear’. Doug is feeling down (hence he is blue) at heel so Eva takes him away to the English seaside to cheer him up. Their journey is shown in the collection through the graphic prints I designed and used and because Doug is cheered up most by the industrial landscape that he sees on their journey it is these that feature predominantly. It’s a very long thought and deep narrative that I then process into the prints and designs. Creating a story for this and every collection as a starting point, gives me a unique inspiration meaning that what I design is not something another designer could have done in the past or present. I want my customer to be able to relate to the clothes I design and I think the element of the narrative of the collection is providing endless opportunities for the wearer to enjoy and interact with my clothing. As for AW13, I don’t want to give too much away but I will give you one exclusive hint; my starting point is a black and white animation film that will feature brand new characters from me, currently in development!
How do you achieve balance between your unique creative vision and the commercial aspect of the business of fashion? I hate to say it but it really hasnâ€™t been as hard as people might imagine. I won the Elle Talent Launchpad which was a big boon for me. Also, I actually enjoy how the two aspects collide and making it work. Being trained at Central St. Martins and RCA in London Iâ€™m much more attuned to the creativeness that comes so naturally from London, that energy that is so specific to this city, whose industry is one which proactively nurtures and encourages one as a designer to be as creative as you like. I always focus on the vision of my collection over any commercial aspect but saying that, upon graduating I immediately went to work in Milan and there I also learned much more about fashions commercial side which the Italians of course are very focused on, so I have been fortunate to experience the best of both worlds you could say.
How important do you feel the aspects of fashion and fantasy, and how the two interact with one another are in fashion design? The two are forever intertwined! Even if say a designer’s collection is minimalist, it’s still a fantasy, one the designer has created for the wearer to step (or buy) into. We also convey a lot about ourselves through the way we dress so whether consciously or subconsciously we are trying to create a fantasy image. For me fashion is fantasy all the more because I am creating for each collection my own little made up characters that have their own stories. I create a mood and world for people to then choose from and make of what they want at their own will. With the addition of accessories and new character additions, each collection becomes like Pokémon cards for adults, something you can ‘collect’ and then with each season build upon that collection. Your illustrated characters and their stories, such as Maude, are an integral part of your collections and process and have become part of your brand. Tell us about these? Maude is an ever present character amongst the multitude, she is my mascot although I create a new character for each and every collection. I have also created ‘Francesca and Arthur’ for Vogue Italia. Maude (made from off cuts of cashmere from Richard James, given to me during my time there on work experience), was the beginning of it all though, the idea that each collection I design would be part of a story around an integral character of my own creation. She opened so many doors for me. When I first debuted Maude she was spotted by Jenny Dyson and Colin McDowell who used her in a tribute to Isabella Blow during the first London fashion Week after her passing. Maude has also featured on Vogue.com’s 12 Days of Christmas series for many years . She is a tongue in cheek way of commenting on the fashion industry, a light hearted look at the world we live and work in and a reminder that fashion should also be about fun and enjoyment! My illustrations and characters are all part of my love of storytelling, through these illustrations and stories I communicate and explain my collection by creating a world the buyer can enter. When going into fashion, in particular with such a specific design ethic, what challenges did you face? There are always challenges, especially when you start a label with no backer as I did. You have to think about every single step, luckily with my experience working in Italy I had an advantage but it is always a worry that the collection won’t sell and that I won’t be able to afford the next one! The greatest challenge for me is staying commercial enough; finding the right balance between my vision and the viability of the market. I will always want to do another collection so I’m acutely aware for every one that I’m working on that it has to work and be a success in terms of sales in order for ‘David Longshaw’ to stay in business. So yes, every collection is a challenge but as I said earlier; I love a challenge! www.davidlongshaw.co.uk
MEKELE TEXT : YANNIS TZANNIS
Mekele is a Canadian artist whose unique music style has no room for labels. Believing in love and healing through sound, Mekele has been producing and writing material for his debut album for more than two years. Just a few weeks after the official release of Nocturne, we decided to talk to Mekele and find out more about his journey as a contemporary artist. As an artist, if you could put your sound in a box and the label it, what would that be? I think labelling it would be the toughest task, since I draw inspiration from many types of music; from pop to classical and rap to experimental noise. I believe in timelessness and being all encompassing and not putting a label on anything if it doesn’t need one. It has only been a month that you released your first EP, Nocturne. Was it an easy process? I’ve been working on Nocturne for almost two years now. Producing and writing was a huge experience cause at some point you find yourself second guessing every move you make, but it taught me how to deal with being over-controlling and indecisive. When I finally decided to launch it, I felt a sense of closure; an incredible and highly addictive feeling that makes me want to release something new very soon. Your work is characterized by its distinctive use of soft operatic vocals. What are you trying to achieve through this technique? I’m interested in healing through sound. I always feel the need to compose something that is meant to soothe. I used to be in a choir and I remember how all the voices in harmony would vibrate the air and instantly give me shivers. I always try to capture and share that feeling. You recently lend your sound to the Spring 13 show of Rad Hourani. Is it within your intentions to continue having such collaborations? My very close friend and art director Melissa Matos introduced us a while back and since then it has always been a pleasure working with him as I truly admire what he stands for. I really like his genderless approach to fashion and I feel it works well with my sound. I’d love to collaborate with Domir Doma or Junya Watanabe or keep working with more up and coming designers such as Christian L’Enfant Roi.
Being that your EP’s lead single is chemistry, what in your opinion, are the right ‘ingredients’ to a successful release? I like to use all the things I’m attracted to. There are no right ingredients, I just take the sounds I enjoy hearing, I place them in order respecting the spectrum, give them love and assume eventually someone else will too. You have remixed and covered the sound of several contemporary artists such as Rihanna and Jennifer Paige. If you could join forces with any artist for a special EP, who would you choose and why? There are many I’d love to work with right now, but Kate Bush would be my first choice. From ‘The Kick Inside’ to ‘50 Words For Snow’ I’ve always been inclined to having her luscious theatrical sound on my playlist where ever I would go. Anything I do day to day can turn into a huge production in my head while listening to her. I also think we would become really great friends! My other choice would have been Aaliyah. The elements of light and darkness always seem to have a very important place in your music clips. Do you find them to be essential to the interpretation of your music? Contrast and juxtapositions are definitely elements that play a very strong role in my music and the way I compose. Whether it’s heavy beats and delicate lyrics or wailing over reverberated soft synths, there is always a need for balance. What should we expect from you in the near future? I want to keep discovering other artists with a similar aesthetic to mine, so collaborations are sure to come in result to that. I would like to explore minimalism and play with subtle intricate sounds while keeping things classic yet modern. Touring and drawing inspirations from different cities is the next step on my journey. www.mekele-nocturne.com
ECKART HAHN TEXT : ADA ALTI
Eckart Hahn is an artist, whose curiosity lead him to the road of great modern art. Combining opposite urges, his work serves as a medium for all the things we are unable to describe through the use of words. If art changes people then, Eckart Hahn is the man who can change our point of view on art. How would you describe yourself as an artist? I assume that my intuitive mind is my greatest treasure. It is joined by the interest in the world at many different levels, together with a playful and childlike attraction towards anything disturbing. Your work evokes multiple urges to your viewers such as touching, observing, riddlesolving and finding deeper meanings. Do any of them serve your original creative purposes? I think the purpose is to find an expression for all the things for which you canâ€™t find any words. I have a little daughter and whenever she gets a new tooth, there is something very special in it. There is a certain disconcertment or fear on one hand and pride and joy on the other. So one could say that my paintings or objects are like that dangling tooth; a junction of different and often opposite urges. Your technique is undoubtedly intricate and eye-catching. Was it easy achieving your signature 3D style? Itâ€™s not within my intentions to impress people with this technique. The way I paint belongs to the necessity that is required to express not only the idea (intellect) but also the sensuality, like e.g. the body language which allows direct but non-verbal levels of communication. Therefore, one needs a certain way of exact interpretation for all surfaces. The surfaces have a meaning beyond their pure materiality and coming back to your question, it requires severe discipline to achieve that.
The feeling of lingering between realism and surrealism is evident in your works. Would there be a winner, for you? Maybe it´s a neck and neck race. For quite some time, one could not refer to the word surrealism as it was constantly paraded and accompanied by clichés of mass-compatible poster crap. I am actually quite relaxed about it as the unreal is a connecting factor. Dream interpretation is not an issue for me. My art is based on intuition. Let’s talk about inspirations. What is on your list? Anything that is some kind of interface or a blank.Things that contain the two poles, black and white. We live in a paradox society and my way to deal with that is painting. It´s like keeping a diary. It doesn´t solve any problems but makes you feel much better. On ‘Contenance’ we see elegant hands coming out of a vase and ending up breaking it to pieces, a very intense interpretation of dual nature. Are all things coming down to that – destroying and being destroyed? Destruction belongs to both us and life. Sometimes, we don´t see that the destruction can also bear the germ of something new. I´m a doubtful optimist.
Humor runs through your work with ‘The last string’ and ‘The coffin decomposition’ being great examples. What do you want to pass on to your viewers? Is it food for thought or just the artist’s inside jokes? In “The last string” for example, there is a deep fascination with the illustration depicting the last scene from Wilhelm Busch’s ‘A Story of Seven Boyish pranks’ featuring two boys, Max and Moritz, who end up in corn which is to be pecked by geese. There is no blood, no cry, all is very clean. This picture really impressed me, still as a child. Today, I think this is a perfect picture for the inconceivability of life and death. I am very thankful for pictures like that. Almost 200 years ago, Kant said that humour is one of the most important ways to deal with fear. During your career, you had several sellout exhibitions. Do you agree or oppose the idea that commercial aspects can eventually damage an artist’s creativity? It´s the same for all of us. If one does a job only for reaching a certain status in the society, this will only mislead him or her. For an artist, it can be translated as follows: When the fact that a museum will show your paintings becomes more important than the work itself, something is wrong. The fact, that people love your work so much that they will spend money to buy it, should not distract you from doing your work. What are your hopes for the future? That my family and I will keep well and stay fit. www.eckarthahn.com
JORDAN WESTER TEXT : LAUREN NICOLE CARFAGNO
Giving a voice to all of us hardworking dreamers out there, as she would put it, the incredibly talented illustrator, Jordan Wester, takes us on a journey through her art into the lives of those socially deemed ‘average’ and all of their individuality and beauty that is way beyond what the eye can initially see. Revealing her inspirations and creative processes, Jordan ideally expresses that beauty is much more than just skin deep. Growing up, was art always a part of your life or something you developed a love for over time? It was always a part of my life. I remember being four and camping out in a giant box and drawings mermaids obsessively. I’ve always loved combining people and animals, even from an early age. I was also very shy and not very verbal until my teens so drawing was the only way I had to communicate. From an artistic point of view, how and when did you decide to focus in on the middle-class female and her day-to-day struggles and circumstances? I think it just stems from my friends and me. I see a lot of stories, both fiction and non-fiction which focus on the financial extremes at either end- which is certainly valid- but very little about the quiet hardworking dreamers in the middle and their secret lives as forces of nature. Was there a specific girl or group of girls that really inspired you to, in a way, give them a voice through your art? I think Miss Moneypenny from James Bond was probably the original catalyst. I always wanted her to have her own adventures! I’m inspired by women who are smart and funny, but not necessarily alpha females.
You designed a very special illustration (right), just for this issue. What was the inspiration behind it and in what way, it’s dedicated to Chasseur? Again returning to that feeling that humans are a part of nature and not separate. Even as a child I had zero problem with evolution. It seemed very natural to me because I felt like an animal, like a plant, vs. feeling opposed to nature. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, here, the soul is ready to take flight. But her eyes are closed so perhaps she doesn’t know us well enough to share her journey right now. The illustration for Chasseur was inspired by listening to Joan Baez’s, “Diamonds and Rust.” There is something so bittersweet, but still strong about her voice. Her unconventional beauty, physically, vocally, and spiritually is inspiring. What initially attracted me to Chasseur is that you define beauty as individuality, which is something I connected to immediately. Based on your interest of ‘overlooked beauty’ in your pieces, do you think in today’s world there is a struggle or need to be beautiful? How does your work reflect that? Oh yes. Almost everyone I meet uses really hateful language about the way they look and it drives me bananas. They are always comparing themselves to whatever the current fad is. Often, they intellectually understand the absurdity of this, but emotionally are unable to overcome it. Society feeds us a steady diet of discontent. I have utterly beautiful friends who constantly criticize their breast size, their waists or stomachs, their thighs- and also strange completely made up things like their toe length. Who cares about toe length?! From a sort of quietly defiant place, I wanted to say, “Well, I don’t want to draw what people are dictating to me must be attractive, I want to show what I think is beautiful.” And there’s certainly a lot of self validation in that, but also a push against the dominant beauty mold in a way that allows me to connect with other like-minded people.
How does the process of creation begin for you? Usually listening to music- I grab a sketchbook and make some chicken scratches to capture the basic idea and note colors. Then I start refining the drawing until I have something smooth and fluid. What are your favourite materials to work with? Paper and a bunch of sharp pencils. I use Canson paper to do the final drawing, Artist’s Loft pencils which I’ve colored coded with red, yellow, and green erasersgreen for the hardest, lightest leads, yellow for the medium, and red for the darkest, softest leads. Then I color it in photoshop on my mac. In what ways will we see your work/material evolve? As far as digital painting goes, I’m moving closer to the Japanese woodblock aesthetic that I love and farther away from heavy airbrush and shading. I’m hoping after the new year to have some time to begin painting with acrylics on canvas. I used to paint on hot press watercolor paper with gouache in very eggshell smooth areas, like an animation cell bound by black ink outlines. But I became dissatisfied with that and it’s been quite a journey looking for a different way of painting. Last year I finally found it. So now I use technology to express the flat aspects I still love, which has freed me up to create something more painterly, less bound by outlines on canvas. It’s very exciting! www.nouvellegamine.com
CLAUDIO PAReNTELA TEXT : GABRIEL GOMEZ
Claudio Parentela shares what is in his abstract mind with many different creative filters. He is an illustrator, painter, photographer, cartoonist, journalist, and even creates art for tarot cards. This unique Italian artist incorporates all forms of work he takes part in which gives birth to images that seem otherworldly. They challenge the mind to look beyond a few splashes of color and invite one’s imagination to a place where it has never been before. Since 1995, Claudio has been spreading his thought provoking works with many different magazines, galleries, t-shirts, books, and zines. Good music and a couple of cigarettes are the first steps that Claudio takes to start up his creative process. And without much brainstorming he begins to put things together. There isn’t necessarily much thought behind his work, but more like a spiritual connection with the world. I would describe his style of art by trying to construct an entire puzzle by only using the pieces from completely different puzzles. Except the different puzzle pieces that Claudio uses seem to come together so well, it’s almost a form of alchemy. The creation of something that is so much more by fusing many different pieces of a smaller value. Inspiration for his work derives from his love of books, his sense of fashion and the work of other artists. Not to mention his “… love for this immense wonderful universe”. Many people seem to draw from all the negative energy that is seen in the world, but knowing that Claudio chooses to see the good and create something beautiful out of that is truly inspirational. Mixing complete opposites and introducing different forms of art into one project is something Claudio will continue to be sharing with the rest of the world and something that will always be appreciated. www.claudioparentela.net
pop art TEXT : IAN MICHAEL TURNER
Pop Art and fashion have always gone hand in hand, from the art forms role in fashion illustration to the work of New York icons Keith Haring and Patricia Field, the fashion photography of Antonio Lopez, to designers today such as Jeremy Scott with his colourful designs and prints that often borrow heavily from the cultural zeitgeist, like his recent Simpson’s knits, to every high street retailer that emblazons Roy Lichtenstein esque stylised slogans across their t-shirts, and countless others. THE WARHOLIAN HISTORY Pop Art is an art movement that emerged in the mid-1950s in Britain and later in the United States, which threw away with the traditions of fine art by including imagery from mass culture such as advertising, news, film and comics; the popular and mundane as opposed to the elitist values and culture in ‘fine art’. One of the greatest proponents of the genre is undoubtedly Andy Warhol, with his Marilyn Monroe canvases and Campbell’s Soup can, and it is he who most people will immediately reference when presented with the term Pop Art. Warhol is the genres ‘Pop Artist’ and it is with this man that Pop Art and fashion truly meet; indeed Warhol began his career in fashion illustration. The artist’s works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement and this was also applied to fashion and he was a prolific fashion illustrator, carrying out commissions for many of the big names of his time, including Vogue. Warhol’s artists salon ‘The Factory’, a hot bed of self-expression in both art and fashion; he and his circle, which included muse and ‘Factory Girl’ Edie Sedgwick, who with her modish smoky eyes, miniskirts, giant accessories, black-and-white motifs, remains a style icon to this day, became increasingly influential. The Warholian look, of both the man and his muses, has inspired generations of misfits and fashionista’s alike. POP FASHION In terms of fashion design, Warhol’s work is continually translated into the creations of designers today, a fitting homage to the legacy of a man who famously once said; “Fashion, wasn’t what you wore someplace anymore. It was the whole reason for going.” Designers have always looked to Warhol for inspiration, be it his shambolic sense of personal style to which the grunge movement harkens back, or his art itself. Gianni Versace in the Nineties featured Warhol’s Marilyn print on dresses and legendary punk designer Stephen Sprouse (who was a member of Warhol’s inner court) made regular use of Warhol’s iconic prints in his collections. As these two greats of fashion design and their ilk inspire the rising young designers of today, so does Andy Warhol’s influence live on.
CELEBRITY CULT STATUS It can even be said that the fashion industries obsession with celebrity; they sit front row at catwalk shows, front campaigns and even design collections themselves, stems in some part from Andy Warhol’s own celebrity obsession, something which permeated his work and his art. Marilyn Monroe, First Lady Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor, all were subject material for the artist, as were Elvis, Marlon Brando and even Chairman Mao! The ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’ is what Warhol was forever chasing, and in its turn, this is what the fashion industry is in the 21st century trying to sell with its creations. Fashion today is intrinsically inter-woven with popular culture and the zeitgeist and so it is just as driven by our obsession with celebrity. Whilst this may not be a social phenomenon Warhol created or invented, it is one that he certainly helped to fuel. At first through his art and later his magazine ‘Interview’, Warhol was at least partially responsible for elevating the cult of celebrity to being a driving force in our society.
BLACKBIRD PHOTOGRAPHY | VIC LENTAIGNE STYLING | NADINE ARTOIS HAIR | JAZZ TOPALUSIC MAKE UP | JENNY GREEN ASSISTANT STYLIST | AMIE MARIE EVANS MODEL | EMMANUEL CORRE @ Premier Model Management
FEATHER CROPPED JACKET | NIKITA
TROUSERS | PAUL & JOE JACKET | NATIONAL THEATRE COMPANY JUMPER | WON HUNDRED
CAPE | LEE LAPTHORNE JUMPER | WON HUNDRED SHOULDER HARNESS | NIKITA LEATHER SHORTS | DOMINGO RODRIGUEZ SOCKS | FALKE BOOTS | DR MARTEN - BEYOND RETRO
HAT | LOCK & CO SHIRT | PAUL AND JOE LEATHER JACKET | RXTR SHORTS | PAUL AND JOE LEATHER BELTS | VINTAGE
JACKET , SHIRT | PAUL AND JOE KNITTED TOP | DOMINGO RODRIGUEZ TROUSERS | UNCONDITIONAL GOGGLES | NATIONAL THEATRE COMPANY SOCKS | FALKE BOOTS | DR MARTEN - BEYOND RETRO
GOLD WREATH | CLARE WHITMAN BOILER SUIT | BEYOND RETRO SOCKS | FALKE BOOTS | DR MARTEN - BEYOND RETRO
TIE | BEYOND RETRO TOP | DOMINGO RODRIGUEZ LEATHER SHORTS | DOMINGO RODRIGUEZ BLAZER | UNCONDITIONAL SOCKS | FALKE SHOES | RED WING
street stories TEXT & Illustration : NICOLE MICHA
Street art, a form of vandalism or a platform for social and art revolution? Read as we explore the history behind this movement from its early days back in the ancient World, to its mainstream status in modern society. THE BEGINNING This form of art began in Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire mostly in the form of graffiti. You’ll be surprised to know that graffiti was in fact used as an advertisement for prostitution. Indeed, the symbols indicated that a brothel was close by. Fast forward a few centuries and two iconic tags “Kilroy was here” and “Foo was here” made their first appearance. The first in the US during World War II and the second in Australia during World War I, both depicting the same shy face with the signature long nose hiding behind a wall. Later, during the general strike of 1968 in Paris, anarchists, situationists and revolutionaries used slogans either in the form of graffiti or posters and stencils, to express their political beliefs. MODERN TRAVEL Street art is not just graffiti and tags on walls. The fact it is expressed in public does not make it any less art and in fact, it has went on to take many forms today, including sculptures, video projections, guerilla art, installations, murals and pretty much anything you can think of. This type of expression began its modern travel in some of the world’s greatest cultural centers such as New York and Tokyo and it quickly became a platform for many artists to spread their social revolution. Some examples include French artist JR who, las year, covered an empty building in Ernest Withers’s iconic civil-rights-era photo of the 1968 Memphis sanitations workers strike and Code Pink in 2008 who placed several pink war toys around Washington to protest against violence. Of course it’s not all about strong political statements. Street art also serves the need of self expression or more rarely self exposure – after all, it is impossible to clearly determine the reasons behind such an act.
A MAINSTREAM PHENOMENON Is there a fine line between art and vandalism? Everyone has their own opinion but one thing is for sure, street art is no longer considered the act of the less fortunate civilians or angst youth. In some cases street art has even been labeled as a luxury, for which many collectors would be willing to pay much money. Vaults are now filled with â€˜streetâ€™ artifacts which the bourgeois of the past would only consider trash. As expected, there have been many artists who decided to give up their ladders, flash lights and police buddies and now express themselves from the comfort of their house or studio. Trying to bring the outside inside, now the designs were made on real canvases placed on museum walls. As the new trend spreads, more and more public spaces such as restaurants, hotels, museums etc have been commissioning artists to create on their walls. The documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop : A Banksy Film, explains in a nutshell this art phenomenon of street art stardom and commercial success among other things. Whether it can now be found in your luxurious hotel lobby or around the walls of your neighborhood, it is still an act of creativity which will always be appreciated as such.
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