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FARID. Sprin g 2018



Thank-you so much for taking your time to read our zine! This is the beginning of something special, and we are so excited to finally put FARID out into the world. FARID has a special place in my heart because I have always loved the Devil Wears Prada and I have always wanted to be Miranda Priestly - just want to be a total boss ass bitch. FARID allows me to be that. Not only is it a great place for all of us to showcase our work but it gives me a platform to express myself and I think everyone involved feels the same. I get to create this beautiful publication with amazing creatives dotted all over the world and you get to witness it with us. FARID will forever keep growing and every issue is unique and filled with the spirit of the creators. We hope you enjoy FARID!

HESHAM ABDELHAMID Editor-in-Chief As someone who is obsessed with trying to create new content on a daily basis, FARID has given me a chance to not only showcase my current work, but collaborate with many new creatives who are very talented. This gives me a profound opportunity to meet new creatives and show off their abilities, not only in terms of photography and illustrations, but the joy of being an online publication is we can use moving images as part of our vision. This opens the potential for more collaborations and to add video journalism to our articles. This means exciting things are to come from my department, whether it’s music videos, documentaries or simply event coverage. We may be starting small but with collaborators from all over the world, be sure to expect content that is unique and tailored from issue to issue.

LEWIS THOMPSON Production Editor

In this issue... HOLOSEXUAL - 4 Inspired by the club kids of London we present to you, our first editorial. THE EMANCIPATION OF DRAG - 16 We explore the ever growing cultural phenomenon: Rupaul’s Drag Race. COMING OUT ABOUT COMING OUT 20 EMILY McDOWELL speaks about her experience. REX ORANGE COUNTY ALBUM + GIG REVIEW - 24 FARID reviews music’s latest rising star. STAN CULTURE - 30 Can being a fan lead to disaster? GREETINGS FROM BULGARIA - 34 We give you a glimpse into the beauty of Bulgaria. THE OBSERVATION PROJECT BY OLIVIA SOLODKO - 46 Capturing life as it happens. Q&A WITH AN ARTIST: JULIAN GOWER - 58 In a series of virtual Q&As – we speak to creatives who define their own meaning of Contemporary Art. XTRA.art: BRINGING ART AND BUSINESS TOGETHER - 64 XTRA.art’s co founder Yinan Zhao spillls the tea on how the company started. VINTAGE VACATION: LONDON FASHION WEEK TRENDS - 68 An exclusive look from London Fashion week. AND MUCH MORE... JOIN THE TEAM - 75 Showcase your work on FARID

Special thanks... Benoit Ganesan University of Gloucestershire’s Student Union UoG Journalism ISSUU.COM ROCKtheCOTSWOLDS XTRA.art Tusko Productions Aimee Corten Joe Thompson Holly Harden-Sweetnam Rhiannon Healey Hannah Donovan Courtney Conquers Meg Sneade Tom Hadfield Imogen Sumner Julian Gower Yinan Zhao Ria Walia Maneet Gulati Olivia Solodko Julian Gower Gloria Ogunyinka Emily Sprout Janita Sumeiko Emily McDowell



SEXUAL Curated by Hesham Abdelhamid Photos by Lewis Thompson Model Holly Harden-Sweetnam






Curation: @heshabdelhamid Photography: @grumpylewis



Presenting you with the first of our many photo stories, the shoot was curated by Hesham Abdelhamid and shot by Lewis Thompson.

The editorial was Inspired by the art of paper makeup as pioneered by the incomparable club kid Ryan Burke. We want to pay homage to club kid culture and we pretty much implemented their mantra of, ‘YOU CAN ALWAYS BE FABULOUS EVEN WHEN YOU ARE BROKE.’ We had no money to create an elaborate editorial, but with just £15 and a couple of clicks on Amazon, we had a whole concept executed in no time at all. It’s incredible what you can achieve with glitter, paper and holographic plastic! WHO/WHAT IS A CLUB KID? A group of art lovers who strived in creating a hedonistic community for the gay, transgender and disenfranchised to be authentically celebrated. They may not have been household names, but in the 80’s Leigh Bowery, Ernie Glam and Susanne Bartsch fuelled a pioneering party scene. Extravagant parties mixed with British eccentricity and downtown New York chic, which brought out the best club freaks, united by a love of sex, drugs and drag However, there was more to clubbing than dressing up and popping pills for this youth underground scene; it was a genuine community, coming together to express their artistic flair in a way that was purposefully alienated from the mainstream. Now in 2018, with the rise of Lady Gaga and Club Kid RuPaul’s transition onto mainstream media, the fashion, art and music world is revisiting the highs of the Club Kids Scene. A new generation continues to seize the night with creative force, dressed to the nines with their crown make-up and platform shoes. This unique community seems to be making a come back, as the scene lives on.


Curation: @heshabdelhamid Photography: @grumpylewis




Curation: @heshabdelhamid Photography: @grumpylewis



Curation: @heshabdelhamid Photography: @grumpylewis


Curation: @heshabdelhamid Photography: @grumpylewis


16 words by Rhiannon Healey




here’s no doubt that the concept of drag has existed since the creation of theatre in ancient civilisation, making it one of the world’s oldest sensations. Shakespeare, the man we notably owe thanks to for the development of the English language, was the one responsible for defining the term ‘drag’ to describe the event of cross-dressing. Men dressing up as women was often used in entertainment for comedic effect, something that would eventually bring about the emergence of drag queen culture. RuPaul’s Drag Race has pushed for the normalisation of drag in mainstream culture since its premiere in 2009. The show, since the beginning, has set apart from the scrum of reality-shows by setting itself the larger-than-life mission of holding up a mirror to confront the masks that almost all of us wear in society. Thanks to its newfound platform, drag queen culture has been able to flaunt a new and more exposed status in society. Drag queens are no longer hidden away in underground clubs or in gay bars, they are riding on a wave of increasing popularity, RuPaul’s Drag Race has given us a place to see queens in the comfort of our own homes on a weekly basis. Not only has the show given fans an enhanced opportunity to witness drag in its full frivolity, but there’s also an educational aspect to the show that’s impossible to miss. Each of the hundreds of unique queens that come and go on the show through the years are helping to establish a new generation of diverse drag styles, aesthetics, and personas. Additionally, it’s important to note that over the years, it’s become clear that RuPaul’s Drag Race is not just limited to being known as a reality competition. It is a wild, dramatic universe of its own that, all too often, speaks of the human experience, and with this comes the interwoven issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community on an enormous scale. Understandably, the emphasis of the show is placed on the sharp instincts and well-honed wit that drag queens develop as means to firstly protect themselves, and then to succeed as performers. It might come as a shock that even in the mod-

ern age of acceptance of LGBTQ+ communities, almost all of the drag queen contestants that we see strutting on stages and runways in their sparkling sequins and lively lip gloss have had to overcome some form of adversity and prejudice from all walks of life. Frankly, it shouldn’t matter to anyone else, be it family members or absolute strangers whether a person chooses to become a drag queen. It’s literally a human exploring their identity and expressing themselves in a non-conventional way. Sure, the queens are divas, but they don’t take themselves too seriously, and though drag is definitely quirky and crazy, it has undeniably earned its place in mainstream culture for showcasing charisma, uniqueness, nerve and raw talent. But has the rising popularity of drag culture gone too far too quickly? Due to the ever-increasing involvement of corporate companies taking an interest and looking into promoting drag on their networks, a whole host of problems is associated with immersing


- Rupaul

drag culture into mainstream media and society. Realistically, corporations are beginning to exploit the free-spirit nature of drag queens for capital gain, and because of this, the whole purpose that drag serves is slowly being quashed.


Even so, not every viewer thinks Drag Race’s portrayal of the drag culture is the most durable form of education. Some people have fervently argued that the show glosses over the class and race problems that are clearly still an issue faced within American society, but nonetheless, others enjoy the show’s protrayal of drag queens. Vanity Fair writer Richard Lawson has described the show as: “a niche hit, but it’s still a hit, which is great.” He also argues that RuPaul’s Drag Race is:“admirably unafraid of tackling various issues of race and gender within the queer community that largely go otherwise un-investigated.” The future of drag culture is largely unclear, but it is certain that it will continue to face liberation by becoming more widely accepted as it is presented through mainstream networks, portraying queens in traditional ways. One thing for sure is that the scene set by Drag Race is an upholder of experimentation and pushing the boundaries. Let’s also not forget the fact that the ever-expanding styles of drag that have come forth have allowed for new kinds of queens to develop, making space for even more experimental drag to explode into society. Based on this alone, drag faces exciting progression as it’s only going to get weirder and ever more extensive, which we are 100% here for!

Photography: Tawni Bannister


Art by Hannah Donovan


Sasha Velour Cosplay by Courtney Conquers




words by Emily McDowell



gay persons’ life is split into two sections; in and out. Coming out of the closet is one of the primary narratives we get in LGBT+ stories, and it’s became woven into the fabric of understanding the life of someone who is same -sex attracted. It assumes a smooth transition from one state into the other, like water freezing into ice. Before I was closeted and now I am out. The shift is not as ground-breaking as some heterosexuals believe. Despite the Facebook status with hundreds of love reacts, you still have to get around to the conversation with each new friend you make, each new colleague and each friend you’re reconnecting with after a long time. Coming out is a process you have to maintain throughout your life and it’s exhausting. I never sat my extended family down for the talk, I barely broached it with my immediate family. I found it an awkward thing to just drop on my friends, so I didn’t. I didn’t officially come out, but it wasn’t like I was pretending either. I don’t talk about boys and I use ‘she’ when talking about hypothetical partners. I am not in the closet. I was in the privileged position where my family and friends wouldn’t care about me being gay and I didn’t really want to make it into some ‘Coming Out Story’. That didn’t mean people automatically realised and I did have to have a few awkward conversations with old friends who were gobsmacked when it turned out the reason I went to the LGBT group at college was because I’m gay. I’ve been assured over and over again in a high voice that that’s, “FINE REALLY IT’S FINE THAT YOU’RE… LIKE THAT.” I even had LGBT friends who didn’t realise I was gay until we had a year of friendship and an attendance at London Pride under our belts. To be fair, I wouldn’t say I’m a successful lesbian, more theoretical with hopes of extending my field. As a gay person, you are expected to announce it to every person you ever meet otherwise you are hiding, and aren’t accepting your true self. It’s a lie by omission. “Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and

all.” - Harvey Milk However, time has passed considerably since this point in our history. Harvey Milk’s goal was to make straight people see that gay people are not so different; they are your daughter, your brother, your firefighter or doctor. Whereas now, it seems to have morphed into a desperation to catch them in a lie, to show actors have been hiding their authentic truth and they’re actually one of them just pretending to be one of us. You hardly have to google for long to find articles speculating on actors and other notable figures’ sexualities. As a culture we are obsessed with it. “The funny thing about the acting business is that there are more poofs in it than you can have hot dinners thrown at you. But no one is out. It’s not so bad here, but in Hollywood … Jesus Christ. Why don’t they just admit it? No one cares if they’re gay or not. I certainly don’t.” - Martin Freeman This highlights the expectation that rests on gay people’s shoulders. If people supposedly don’t care anymore, then why is it necessary? It isn’t about shame. I am proud of my somewhat unsuccessful attempts at being a practicing lesbian, but I very rarely open up about this in front of strangers or colleagues. My first job at 17 was one where my co-workers felt comfortable enough to discuss their homophobic and racist views in the breakroom. My staying quiet wasn’t shame, it wasn’t embarrassment, it was anger and fear and incredulity. Because you don’t know who holds these views, it can be the nice boy in your lecture who you borrowed a pencil from, or your boss who would insist that he isn’t homophobic at all, but when he thinks he’s out of earshot of you says how he wishes they wouldn’t always have to be so vocal about it. It can be the friend you’ve known for years who one day says to the group: “I LOVE gay men because I can go shopping with them, but lesbians are disgusting”. And yet it is our duty to come out unabashedly and eagerly to every single person we meet because otherwise we are being deceitful. Coming out is supposed to be a choice. And it is. But it is a choice you have to make over and over for the rest of your life. It isn’t simply progressing onto the next plane of existence. It can be a move of self-acceptance, a confession, a fun fact about yourself or even a bombshell. But it is my story to tell, and my bombshell to drop. I don’t owe you anything.”

23 “Coming out is supposed to be a choice. And it is. But it is a choice you have to make over and over for the rest of your life.” “








words by Meg Sneade & Tom Hadfield













a p

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words by Meg Sneade


ineteen-year-old Rex Orange County, or to his friends, Alex O’Connor, has proved that age is just a number in his second self-released album, Apricot Princess. This Surrey-born singer/songwriter has turned break-up albums on their head, producing an emotionally driven, yet joyous compilation, of the butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling when falling in love, something of which, Taylor Swift should take note. Following the same sound, which has appeared on previous work, such as Bcos U Will Never B Free, the album breaks away from musical conventions, becoming a genre-blend of twinkling jazz melodies, husky-toned rapped verses, and catchy indie-pop tunes. With hints of Mac DeMarco and Francis and the Lights, this chill album is creatively brilliant, but what do you expect from someone who has already worked alongside Tyler, The Creator, performed onstage with Skepta and was shortlisted for BBC’s sound of 2018? The idea of focusing on new beginnings of love instead of the melancholic end of relationships is refreshing to the industry. Throughout the album, Rex confesses his adoration to a new beau, ultimately his girlfriend Thea, of whom was the inspiration behind the lyrics. The lo-fi sound creates a rustic and raw approach to tackling puppy-dog love, giving the album delicate undertones of vulnerability, while remaining honest and down to earth. The opening song, Apricot Princess, immediately sets the tone for what is to follow in the rest of the album. Rex starts to confess his love over an ensemble of synths, percussion, and a sprinkling of piano, creating a slow orchestral tempo, which resembles many a James Bond song. Afterwards, the melody picks up with the addition of clapping and snapping turning into a jazz-centred tune that would fit right at home within the La La Land soundtrack. Television/So Far So Good is the highlight of the album, taking the listener on a two-part rollercoaster. Television’s backbone is a fast rhyth-

mic drum beat accompanied by percussion and electric guitar riffs; a charming contrast compared to the previous song. With cheeky lyrics and a catchy chorus, “But if you’re looking for something new / I know somebody that you could choose / What about me? / What about me?”, this song stands out amongst the other nine on the album. The real talent, however, is the melodic journey of the song that Rex navigates us through. Starting with pop-rock vibes then changing to rapped verses, that draw hints from Twenty One Pilots, then finishing with a sentimental ballad in So Far so Good. Rex is undoubtedly experimental. However, it would have been nice to of had Television as a stand-alone song, picking up the beat for the rest of the album. Smooth modern jazz song Sycamore Girl is the musical rendition of sending love letters to a secret admirer. This is short, compared to the other featured songs, but sweet track includes

“genre-blend of twinkling jazz melodies, huskytoned rapped verses, and catchy indie-pop tunes”


the angelic, soulful vocals of his girlfriend Thea, who I hope to hear more from in the future. The lyrics are a mirroring conversation between the two discussing their love, which is a new feeling for both of them, “By the way, I don’t know how to be in love / I’m not afraid, I’m a slave right away / And I’m here for good.” “And by the way, it’s a way that I haven’t felt before / I have to say, that I feel like I’ve never been so sure.” Their voices fit together like perfect jigsaw pieces to create a gentle and sincere performance that pulls at your heartstrings, perfect for easy-listening. Rex Orange County is a truly gifted singer/songwriter, quickly becoming one of this generations most creatively honest artists, however, the genre-blend style of Apricot Princess acts as both a help and hindrance. It certainly makes Rex stand out from the crowd with unique and quirky songs that have real talent behind them, but at times it can feel inconsistent; you’re not sure when one song starts, and the other ends. The album may require an open mind, but it is certainly well produced and has become a firm favourite. Recently having teamed up with Dutch musician, Benny Sings, on Loving Is Easy, it’s clear that Rex is working his way to the top, and Apricot Princess has unquestionably helped him to do so.



r c t b

e o h r

x o r a n u n t y @ e k l a , i s t o l



words by Tom Hadfield



n a converted boat in the River Avon, a couple of hundred music fans wait eagerly for a glimpse of the man everyone is here to see. A sign at the entrance states clearly, “Rex Orange County- 20:45pm”. With no support act, apart from a hidden DJ, who plays an eclectic mix of music from Busta Rhymes to Otis Redding, some people grow agitated as it’s almost 9pm and no one has appeared on stage. The hall is so small that a door backstage is visible to around half of the waiting crowd, and every time it opens necks strain to see who is coming out. But the headliner is nowhere to be seen. Finally, a band takes the stage to a chorus of cheers, leaving an empty microphone and piano to be filled by the main man, who follows a few seconds later. “We’re gonna have some fun tonight” he announces. And he certainly fulfilled this promise. Starting with some more upbeat songs from his latest album, Apricot Princess, the 19-year- old switches from soulful crooning to cheeky rap effortlessly, and is matched word-for-word by the audi-

ence. He’s joined on stage by his girlfriend Thea for the dreamy duet ‘Sycamore Girl’, before rising from his keyboard, donning his guitar and giving his band a break for a few songs. This is arguably the moment Rex comes into his own on the night, as he proclaims, “it’s time to slow it down”. He responds to shouts from audience members with a dry humour that we maybe don’t see in his music: “He’s banned from this country for some reason”, is his answer when asked: “Where’s Tyler (The Creator)?”. He pauses to let the crowd fill in the line: “Cos that’s just fucking weird”, on the happy-golucky Corduroy Dreams, as he delves into his 2016 debut album “Bcos U Will Never Be Free”. After the band returns, they play a series of fan favourites, including the beautifully upbeat singles Loving Is Easy, Best Friend and Sunflower, which featured a mind-blowing saxophone solo from oneof the band members. It’s amazing to see just how popular the BBC Sound of 2018 runner up is this early in his career, and there’s no doubt the fortunate few who saw him in this intimate venue have witnessed a future star.

“The 19-yearold switches from soulful crooning to cheeky rap effortlessly”




words by Imogen Sumner










uper-fans have existed as long as big music and film stars have, queuing for days for a photo or book signing, or to see them perform at their latest gig. This was, for the most part, a perfectly healthy part of society, and was a pure innocent interest and general hobby for many youngsters. However, this has all escalated in recent years with the rise of stalker fans, now commonly referred to as ‘Stans’. ‘Stans’ get their name from a popular song by Eminem and Dido, in which a fan contacts Eminem by sending him multiple letters, and ends up committing suicide and killing his pregnant girlfriend due to a lack of replies from the star. The biggest blame factor for the rise of Stans is social media platforms, which allow fans to follow every step of their favourite artist or performer, and gives them a chance to create multiple anonymous profiles that allow them to delve deeper whilst attempting to contact their biggest icon. Some would argue that having a hobby and someone influential to look up to is no bad thing, and to some extent, this would be correct. A successful, talented artist or performer is certainly a goal and it is more than healthy for young people to aspire to be more like them. Even following their latest clothing, makeup or music trends is entirely normal; this is how new fashions begin, after all! Although a willingness and desire to contact an idol may seem entirely innocent, some youngsters have taken a darker side to it, using multiple accounts under a pseudonym and sending ‘hate’ to other social media users if they claim to dislike the star, or even if they claim to be a bigger fan than themselves. This can cause a whole world of issues, including bullying, teen depression and even, if escalated, suicides. So why does this continue to happen? A lack of education into quite how serious this can


get is certainly a factor. Students are taught in school that explicit images, sharing personal information and explicit bullying are all wrong, and although these do still happen, this has reduced. However, it’s rare that young people are ever taught about the unhealthy attitude of dedicating your life to watching and mimicking other people. Especially people who are unlikely to ever reach out to them. Stars themselves sometimes do not help Stan culture reduce or become more tame, with constant promises of ‘follow backs’ on social media, or even ‘meetups’ in shopping centres and towns. This causes havoc in the Stan community, as being left out of these things can cause a mass upset and feeling of being left out or ignored by someone who they idolise so massively. How do we decrease the risk of young children harming themselves and others over celebrities and popular personalities? An awareness needs to begin, showing the next generation that having idols is great and healthy if gone about in the right way, and highlight when the fun stops and it goes too far. If not only for themselves, but for others too. MEANING


informal noun 1. an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity. “he has millions of stans who are obsessed with him and call him a rap god”


Greetings from

BULGARIA Words by Hesham Abdelhamid


Поздрави от

БЪЛГАРИЯ Created by Lewis Thompson Benoit Ganesan



A videography & photography showcase


ulgaria is a popular destination for sea and ski holidays (or at least that’s what Google shows!), but the country has other charming places yet to be discovered. These are the numerous religious monuments, which look like beautiful renaissance paintings, villages and so much diverse eclectic culture. This is exactly what this vlog shows! Our very own Lewis Thompson & Benoit Ganesan went to Bulgaria with a mission of capturing their time there (and it’s safe to say We are very jealous – we are sure you will also be jealous) while working on a documentary called ‘Desert Rose’, which was produced and directed by Alexander Georgieff. The documentary focuses on the life of the Romani people in Bulgaria and their day-to-day life. We all know it’s pretentious when someone speaks about travelling and they say: “I wanna see the real place, not the touristy shit.” – right? Well, that is true to an extent! Filmed over their travels through 3 different cities in Bulgaria, you truly get to enjoy the Bulgarian experience through Lewis and Benoit’s lenses. CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW TO WATCH THE VIDEO!























OBSERVATION We tend to forget the essence of photography, with the rise of the selfie philosophy, we have become more obsessed with achieving perfection rather than just appreciating the moment. Photography is a way for us to capture these moments and to remember the beautiful things surrounding us. Olivia Solodko’s, ‘The Observation Project’, reminds us of that very essence. Olivia is able to identify the ‘perfect moments’ in a setting, which is normally considered ‘ugly’. All of her images are taken on her journeys and they all tell a different story. Unlike many photographers, she doesn’t seek an opportunity to capture something, she just stumbles upon it. She finds beauty in the unconventional and the unfamiliar, and she certainly has an eye for capturing life in its natural glory. FARID aims to present the work in its original voice, Olivia Solodko explains her work:










My photographs tend to focus on scenery that has presented itself in a, particularl humble way. Often times, the environment of everyday life speaks for itself. Photography becomes a way to capture it in a way that makes it appealing to those who normally wouldn’t take notice. I aim to capture the time between the ‘important’ moments, whether it be a visual coincidence, an interaction, or something picturesque, in a place no one would normally give any attention to. Alternatively, my subject matter also holds a sense of anonymity. This relates to the feeling of unfamiliarity we feel within our memories of public spaces we’ve seen in the past. They have no meaning to us at the time, but looking back, we see them as anchors of times that have past, giving them a weight that wouldn’t normally exist outside of the hazy memory context. Many of my own memories are beyond my understanding, but evoke a sentimental feeling even still. These seemingly trivial moments have given way to a world of parallels (both visual and theoretical). They present opportunities of “depth” that can be explored in either a creative or philosophical manner, depending on how they are interpreted by the viewer. In a fleeting street setting, photography becomes a reflection of one’s own thoughts, tastes and worries at that space in time. The beauty in every day has become a continuous exploration of mine, with and without the use of a camera. I’ve only recently developed an interest in photography, but I’ve always had a particular appreciation for unplanned beauty. I use the lens as a frame for these moments and hope to improve my scope of observation as I continue to shoot. My photos happen to coincide with my miscellaneous structure of living. I’ve always had a love affair with unfamiliar environments, having moved cities three times in the last year alone. Consistent changes have made me particularly aware and appreciative of my surroundings. The everyday scenery, no matter how seemingly mundane it may be, can be transformed when captured in a certain way or from a specific angle. I enjoy making use of the ephemeral moments in my day-to-day undertakings, capturing them in a way that allows others to appreciate them as well.











In a series of virtual Q&As – we speak to creatives who define their own meaning of Contemporary Art.

ontemporary art is, in most cases, defined as art that has been and continues to be created during our lifetime. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, if this was the case, how can we explain that no other artistic definition, no other artistic category or -isms is as confusing, and at the same time as straightforward as Contemporary Art? The term demands respect from the beginning and its first word, contemporary, it almost seems to suggest that you must know what it is without having to ask. God forbid you did, because maybe then you will not be considered as someone who’s in touch with what is going on. Well, FARID is not afraid to ask, what is Contemporary Art and how can we define it today? In a series of virtual Q&As, we speak to creatives who define their own meaning of Contemporary Art. We kick off with Julian Gower: a graphic designer and illustrator born and raised in the epicentre of artistic liberality, Brighton. A 20-year old who channels his day-to-day life into beautiful and thought-provoking illustrations. WHEN DID YOU START HAVING AN INTEREST IN GRAPHIC DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATIONS? I started having an interest pretty much as soon as I could grip a pen or pencil I guess My Dad Neil is a professional Illustrator, or as he refers to himself, ‘Graphic Artist’, so I’ve been bought up around it. I’ve always been influenced by his work, and growing up around it has definitely made me want to go into a similar profession.

IF YOU REMEMBER, WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION? I can’t remember my first exact illustration or drawing, but I do still have two (rather crude) drawings, one of Woody, and one of Buzz, knocking about at my Mum’s house somewhere. They must’ve been from pretty early on. I’ve realised now that I’m influenced a lot by what’s around me and what I do and clearly it was the same when I was a kid, considering I loved toy story and still do (who doesn’t?!). WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR PAST SELF WHEN IT COMES TO GRAPHIC DESIGN/LIFE? The advice that I’d give to the past me is a difficult one. I guess it would be to relax a bit more, and not make everything look so perfect. For a long period, I was obsessed with everything looking exactly how it was ‘supposed’ to look and be on point. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, really. However, now I’ve realised it doesn’t have to look spot on every time, and that’s relaxed my style a bit and taken it in a new direction. I think the way that I work is constantly changing, and I like that because I get a bit bored of working in the same way for long periods of time. So, my advice for that developing stage of my life would be, don’t make an image for the outcome, make it for the process… bit cheesy, I know.


HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGNS/ILLUSTRATIONS? I’m not really sure how I would describe my work, that’s a really difficult question to ask for me, especially as I feel my work is in quite a large transitional period. At the moment, I feel my work isn’t being quite what I want it to be. However, I guess the current themes through all of my work that has never changed, are always fairly bold, colourful, and almost always block colour. I don’t tend to work in tone that much, but I know it’s something that I will explore in the future.

tremely visual subjects, both with endless possibilities of what you can do; and there is always exciting new methods and pieces of work being developed. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT 5 YEARS?

In the next 5 years, well, I have two years left of my degree, so I’ll finish that. Hopefully, within that time my client base would have grown a bit more, and then when I graduate the plan is to go live somewhere far away for around a year or two, maybe work a bit and also try to make a WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM, living off illustration. I’m not too fussed about acWHEN IT COMES TO YOUR DESIGNS? tually having a steady income or progressing to the next part of my life until my late twenties, earInspiration comes from anything really. My Dad’s ly thirties. I’d rather go enjoy myself across the work has always inspired me, especially when I world whilst I still can, and if I can make money lived at home and saw what he was doing on a from illustration whilst I do that, then I’ll be more day-to-day basis. I also take it from everything than happy. around me. The two places I spend most time in are Bristol and around Brighton, so they’re both pretty visual places with lots of things to take in. Also, I find a real quick way of getting inspiration is from books or social media. I often find myself turning to either of these tools when I’m in a bit of a rut and need a quick inspiration boost as they’re both such readily available materials. DO YOU SEE GRAPHIC DESIGN AS AN ART FORM AND WHY? I’m currently studying illustration, but my work has always been very graphic so I would put my work somewhere between the two subjects of graphic design and illustration. I class both subjects as an art form, of course. I think someone would be slightly mad not too. They’re both ex-









XTRA.art words by YINAN ZHAO


inan Zhao is a 19-year-old,studying Mathematics at Durham University. Having experienced art courses in a school environment, he was frustrated by the limitations set out by strict guidelines and mark schemes. His creativity was repressed by grades, which lead to the initial idea of XTRA.art. Since a very young age, he has been working with local art businesses and at the age of 17, Yinan and his business partner hosted their first exhibition named ‘Juxtaposition’ in Hoxton, London. They were extremely grateful for the opportunities offered to them. Yinan and Ria wanted to help more young people strive for excellence freely, leading to the birth of XTRA.art. After becoming the youngest ever recipients of Arts Council England funding, In 2017 alone, XTRA.art was able to expose over 70 new, culturally diverse young artists to national audiences and introducing art to audiences of 18000+ people as

a result of a 214-day touring exhibition around Slough, Southwark, London, Henley-on-Thames and Oxford. In the past 2 years, He was able to share his passion for emerging artists by hosting events and conferences at high-level platforms such as the Tate Modern, University of Oxford and The British Museum.

WHAT IS XTRA.ART? XTRA.art was formed by Yinan Zhao and Ria Walia in 2015, gaining rapid credibility within South East England and becoming the youngest recipients of Arts Council England funding. As an entirely youth-led group, we provide for emerging artists who are under-appreciated due to lack of support and opportunities available. We collaborate with businesses enhancing their corporate social responsibility and raise awareness of modern social issues through our services and activities. We are the only organisation in the UK providing a comprehensive solution, bridging the gap

between the corporate world and emerging artists. Since 2015, XTRA. art has an intensive portfolio of delivering projects at a national level at places such as the Tate Modern. Our portfolio includes a collective total project value of £72,000. XTRA.art past project partners include brands such as the British Museum and Tesco (Harris +Hoole). We were honoured to receive an award for our entrepreneurial skills from our local borough at the Youth Awards, in 2016 and then in 2017. Our artists have been featured in media such as Buzzfeed, Arts Council England, Slough Observer and BBC Radio 1 as well as being commended in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award; The Poetry Society’s biggest youth poetry competition, and winning the national SLAMbassadors spoken word competition.


Growth v Decay By Ria Walia

Juxtaposes the essence of growth and decay through a camera lense. This piece was exhibited at The Juxtaposition Exhibition in Hoxton (2015).




By Maneet gulati From 2017’s the Desire Touring Exhbition. It captures the desire for a profile to show one’s true colour. The piece was showcased in London, Henley-on-Thames, Slough, Oxford and Reading.


We get a first look at the upcoming trends as presented by WGSN at London Fashion Week - we have exclusive pictures to show you what to expect.


Photos by Lewis Thompson Gloria Ogunyinka














words by EMMA SPROUT


here’s no denying it, female empowerment and togetherness couldn’t be any more powerful than it is now. Whether it’s the UK, US, or Saudi Arabia, women are speaking up as comrades, friends and sisters. Hope is the word on the tip of every feminist’s tongue, no matter their age, gender or race. Feminism is no longer a statement, but a way of life. It’s running through the core of our society and is being embraced with open, extended arms for the first time, ever. And how better to commemorate International Women’s Day than to reflect upon the strong, soul shaking feminist moments of 2018 so far. Here’s to these brave, strong men and women transforming the future as we speak.



The very start of 2018 welcomed the ‘Time’s Up’ movement to our social media streams. It was the first essence of empowerment this year and was just the beginning. Famous faces we know and love stood up for women, not just in Hollywood, but all over the world. Adorning themselves with black in solidarity with one another, no longer just women adorning our screens, they transformed into outspoken feminist activists before our eyes.



Halsey’s beautiful, rhythmic speech was a tear jerker, to say the least. Her confidence and openness to sharing her story of sexual abuse, which is also the shocking reality for many women around the world, has provided strength to women of similar experiences. I feel every woman watching could relate to her story. Her bravery in retelling her survival story has given women hope. As her fight continues, we join her.


Emma Gonzalez has quickly become a household name, in not just the US, but around the world. The powerful, young woman’s speech in support of the outlaw of the sales of weapons in the US, after 17 students from her school were murdered at the hands of a student with a gun, was inspiring beyond words. She has left us all mesmerised by her sheer passion and determination for change.


The most recent moment on this list. I found myself during Frances’ speech of the female nominees t one. The opportunity was duce #inclusionrider, whic clause that contractually d sity on set. It made us all now just hearing about this powerful speech will be a




to date in 2018 so far f beaming with pride when she asked all to stand with her as s also used to introch is a reference to a demands 50% diverwonder, why are we s? We hope Frances’ actioned imminently.

100 years since the Suffragette movement, and finally, the reason we are all where we are today, living our own independent lives, free from dictation. This is because of our ancestor’s and path makers; The Suffragettes. These powerful women, 100 years ago, fought for freedom and the very voice we take for granted today. We could never thank them or appreciate them enough, may their legacy continue through us and onto future generations too.

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FARID THE ZINE | The First Issue | Spring 2018